Measuring Reuse (and Repair) – Charitable Recycling Australia
Driving change together with our 2023 Sustainability Partnerships Program. We are announcing our collaboration with six dynamic organizations in the launch of our 2023 Sustainability Partnerships Program. Together we’re set to drive transformative change across various sectors including reuse and repair.
Since 2019, the EPA has been joining forces with Sustainability Partners to tackle climate change and bolster regulatory strategies. Building on this foundation, our NSW Environment Protection Authority (EPA) Sustainability Partners will foster positive change, induce sustainable practices, and elevate our capability to tackle intricate environmental challenges. Together we’re stepping into a greener future. The $1 million 2023 Sustainability Partnerships initiative aligns with the recently released Climate Change Policy and the EPA Action Plan.
These partnerships are a testament to our commitment to cultivating collaborative relationships, driving industry best practices, and enhancing our capacity to effectively regulate emission reductions. We are excited to join hands with six remarkable organizations as our 2023 Sustainability Partners, including Charitable Recycling Australia.
The Partnership Program with Charitable Recycling Australia is to comprehensively ‘Measure Reuse (and Repair) Data, Organisations and Impacts for NSW Using the Monash University Reuse Measurement Guidelines’.
This links to the EPA objectives of improved data capability around waste and emissions, and the increased capacity to measure and support higher-order (reuse and repair) initiatives.
Message from Charitable Recycling Australia
Charitable Recycling Australia would like to thank the EPA for their leadership, vision and support of higher order interventions, and this innovative Partnership Program in particular.
The data in reuse (and repair) to be captured through this program will help inform government policy development, as it will quantify the quantum of reuse in NSW, as well as its environmental, economic and social impacts.
The benefit for government is simple. We all know the Waste Hierarchy establishes preferred priorities based on efficacy. So the more higher order interventions are actioned, the more effective the outcomes. The better the outcomes, the faster Australian governments reach their targets – whether it is zero waste, CO2 emissions, resource management or any circularity target. The faster we reach our targets, the closer we get to a Circular Economy. And if we do that … we will create a sustainable and prosperous future for Australia. And it starts with working higher up the Waste Hierarchy.
Concurrently, the EPA has also co-hosted a Reuse and Repair Workshop with Charitable Recycling Australia, and our higher order co-design partners of Salvos, Vinnies, Reverse Garbage, King Cotton, Good 360, Thread Together, SSROC, UTS Sustainable Futures and the Bower.
The workshop discussed challenges and opportunities, and co-design initiatives that could encourage more first use, reuse and repair – across clothing/textiles, electronic products and other household products. More work is being done to consider the initiatives in an economic analysis, to assess their potential benefits and costs.
These two ground-breaking initiatives from the EPA will foster positive change, induce sustainable practices, and elevate our capability to tackle intricate environmental challenges – and help inform future policy options
Reuse (& Repair) Program Scope and Reuse Measurement Guidelines
In collaboration with Charitable Recycling Australia, Monash University has developed an Australian first initiative with a robust methodology that establishes a standardised approach to the measurement of reuse data, and its commensurate environmental, economic and social impacts.
This program delivers funding to populate Monash University’s National Reuse Measurement Guidelines to capture reuse data in full scope across NSW from charitable and commercial reuse enterprises, as well as a subset of data covering the repair, share and online operators.
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.
22 product categories used by the Australian Bureau of Statistics will be researched for reuse impact, including Clothing, Footwear, Textiles, Furniture, Homewares, Electronics, Building Materials and Hardware.
By gathering this data for the first time, it will now be 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 sector provides over and above typical training, to integrate people facing barriers
- Education and community engagement – to capture reuse and repair workshops, events and training
- Total value of reused goods sold in the sector each year
- Total value of goods provided for welfare and in-kind to other organisations
The activities required will be to engage every reuse organisation in NSW, set them up to measure the data in a consistent methodology as outlined in the guidelines, and then capture the data with a robust, consistent methodology, and then quantify the environmental, economic and social impact using the Monash University’s Reuse Measurement Guidelines as a framework.
Research Project Partner – Rawtec
Charitable Recycling Australia has engaged Rawtec; as an independent, leading Australian specialist in the circular economy, sustainable resource and waste management; to develop a robust and efficient methodology and project plan to capture the data on reuse and repair in alignment with the Monash University Reuse Measurement Guidelines and link the data seamlessly to other datasets within NSW.
The project will be delivered by 30 June 2023, with the following stages planned commencing August 2023:
- Project Planning
- Questionnaire Development
- Data Collection
- Data Cleansing & Analysis
- Reports & Presentations
Benefits for Reuse (and Repair) Organisations
The benefits for reuse and repair organisations are also simple. The better data we can capture will inform not only government policy making (and potential future funding), but also enable individual organisations to report on their own impact, with their own stakeholders, customers, donors, and funders.
The project seeks to gather data from all reuse organisations in NSW, which will only be used in aggregate for the program datasets. Charitable Recycling Australia will also provide Onsite Capacity Building services to support organisations capture their data, where needed.
Charitable Recycling Australia has developed a database of all organisations to be researched in NSW for this project, and will be communicating and engaging with this group shortly.
All organisations operating in reuse, repair and the share economy are encouraged to contact us for more information on the program and/or to be added to the database for inclusion.