As I get ready for the World’s Biggest Garage Sale (WBGS) pitch at RCL Startup Invest today, I’m reminded of the importance and urgency of addressing our growing waste problem. I’m reminded of this for 2 very important reasons.
The first is because this Friday 7 Dec is the Meeting of Environment Ministers (MEM). What’s that I hear you asking — well it’s when the federal and state environment ministers meet to ‘discuss strategic issues and agree cross-government actions to improve Australia’s environment’.
In light of this meeting, the Waste Management Association of Australia has written to the Federal Environment Minister Melissa Price with 5 key policy suggestions, the first of which is “A national proximity principle, with the goal to manage our waste as close as possible to where it is generated”. This lines up perfectly with the goals of the WBGS, with our community events promoting the circulation of goods within the local economy to keep them at their highest value for as long as possible.
The Queensland Government is making great strides to address our waste issues via their Resource Recovery Industry Development program — let’s hope the federal government and other states can push this forward further and find overall alignment for Australia.
The second (and this is not news to anyone, but stay with me) was Sir David Attenborough at the United Nations-sponsored climate talks in Katowice, Poland this week who said quite emphatically that “Right now, we are facing a man-made disaster of global scale. Our greatest threat in thousands of years. Climate change.”
Well that’s climate change you say — I thought we were talking about waste? And I would argue that the 2 are not mutually exclusive. As Arno Berns has highlighted in his CEPS Policy Brief Time to connect the dots: What is the link between climate change policy and the circular economy?, “the production of raw materials, accounts for roughly 19% of global GHG emissions and the waste sector for another 3%”. He goes on to discuss that while low-carbon and renewable energy sources are important for reducing global warming, “improved resource efficiency, greater recycling and re-use, as well as an absolute reduction of raw material use must become key elements of climate policy in the context of a circular economy”.
This is not the time for us to be Ostriches and bury our heads in the sand. We can no longer sit back and continue to watch the waste keep coming and the problem continue to grow. The WBGS is on a mission to create and realise socially and environmentally positive community solutions for our ever-increasing waste streams. We’ve just launched our online store as another platform for circulating used/unwanted goods. We want to continue exploring our relationship with materials and products, debunk thinking around used goods, provide solutions to bring the circular economy to life and help society become a lot wiser with the resources the earth provides. Remember — No Planet B.