As part of the ARC grant project Measuring the Benefits of Reuse in a Circular Economy, Monash University has co-designed a draft set of National Reuse Measurement Guidelines to enable a standardised approach to collecting, interpreting and reporting on reuse impact data.
- This is relevant for all Australian governments as it allows reuse to be integrated into their Circular Economy policies as a highest and best use intervention on the Waste Hierarchy.
- The framework enables reuse organisations to measure and report on their own impact.
- Contingent on government support, Charitable Recycling Australia will then be able to measure all reuse data across charities and social enterprises in a first ever National Measurement of Reuse contribution to Australia’s economy, environment and society.
In the Monash University approach, reuse will be measured at the point of sale, which captures information about the quantity of items resold, the category of items, and their cost – and allows for the interpretation of data into average weights per category, average material composition and product life cycle assessments that are readily available.
Using this data and other reporting as outlined in the framework, it is now possible to demonstrate the social, environmental and economic impacts of reuse, including:
- Avoided virgin material consumption and greenhouse gas emissions savings
- Employment and volunteer opportunities – in a high job creation sector including scaling jobs for people facing barriers
- Skills development and work-readiness support – to capture the additional supports the charitable sector provides over and above typical training, to integrate people facing barriers
- Education and community engagement – to capture reuse workshops, events and training
- Total value of reused goods sold in the charitable and community reuse sector each year
- Total value of goods provided for welfare and in-kind to other organisations
Some of the key policy opportunities for Australian governments to support reuse include:
- The integration of reuse into government policies with reuse targets and funding, as a highest and best use intervention at the top of the Waste Hierarchy
- A national standard approach to measuring reuse, with appropriate resourcing and support for Charitable Recycling Australia to collect, interpret and report reuse data.
- Specific grant funding for reuse, the preparation for reuse (diversion) and repair
- Incentives to support collections, sorting and repair of reusable items, including dedicated funding streams targeting specific items and materials.
- Establishing linkages between Circular Economy objectives and social impact goals at a national and state policy level, to incentivise and support triple bottom-line impacts including the creation of targeted employment and training opportunities.
- Supporting reuse activities through partnerships with consumers, businesses and government
- Tax architecture to encourage brands to donate unused pre-consumer items to charity
Charitable Recycling Australia is calling on all Australian governments to incorporate the waste hierarchy and circular economy into their policies, by integrating reuse and repair with measurable targets – and to measure all reuse data across charities and social enterprises in a first ever National Measurement of Reuse contribution to Australia’s economy, environment.