Advocating Reuse Policy for Circularity and Capacity Building
Championing the Circular Economy for a Sustainable Environment and an Equitable Society

Strategic Plan FY 2024

Impact Measurement

Strategic Action Items

All of our activities are led by data. We measure the social, environmental and economic benefits of the charitable second-hand economy and our members’ contributions to it in order to build a clear business case for ongoing governmental and community support.

  • Advocate to all other state governments to fund the National Reuse Measurement Guidelines across the streams/pilots relevant to each jurisdiction.
  • Expand the Charitable Retail Benchmarking Tool to more members, improve data quality and consistency and expand metrics as required to elevate and deliver retail best practice.


Strategic Action Items

We encourage all levels of government to promote reuse, fund recycling innovation and reduce charitable costs in order to improve circular economy outcomes for our members which, ultimately, increases their social and environmental impact.

Reuse Policy Development (see Appendix)

  • Deliver the Reuse Policy Strategy across all jurisdictions to influence all levels of government to formally integrate and fund reuse within their policy frameworks.
  • Strengthen the Clothing Reuse Export Accreditation Scheme with a 3-year plan to heighten standards to uphold trust and transparency with stakeholders including governments.
  • NSW – Partner with NSW EPA to integrate the strategic learnings from the Reuse & Repair workshop to develop a cost-benefit analysis of interventions for policy consideration.
  • Queensland – Partner with DES to develop a pilot to measure textiles and e-waste reuse.
  • Western Australia – Respond to DWER’s Directions Paper and advocate for the including of Reuse in WA’s revised Waste Strategy.
  • South Australia – Partner with GISA and leverage SA’s leadership position on higher order interventions to develop a roadmap for formal reuse policy development.
  • Tasmania – Partner with the Waste Strategy Board to collaborate on reuse opportunities.
  • Victoria – Continue advocating to all levels of Victorian State Government in order to try and bring reuse onto their radar and into focus for Victoria.
  • Federal – Continue advocating and representing reuse within DCCEEW’s Resource Recovery Reference Group, with a view to influencing the National Waste Policy Action Plan.
  • Federal – Develop an Annual Federal Budget Submission to anchor our policy asks.

State Government Waste Levy Protection

  • Ensure 100% protection for members against all state waste levies, whether through exemption models, rebate schemes or hybrid systems.
  • Victoria – Work with the ministerial and departmental teams to deliver the Victorian Government’s new policy intent for ongoing 100% protection for reuse charities.
  • New South Wales – Partner with EPA to rectify the gap in the Weight Based Billing system on transfer stations for members to access 100% of the NSW Community Service Exemption.
  • South Australia – Increase Government support from 50% to a 100% rebate scheme in 2024.
  • Tasmania – Secure ongoing extensions to the 100% protection to the existing 100% rebate.
  • Queensland – Secure ongoing extensions to the existing 100% exemption/rebate program.
  • Western Australia – Secure ongoing annual extensions to existing 100% rebate program.

Capacity Building

Strategic Action Items

We help our members do what they do, better, by providing resources, tools and advice on becoming more innovative and progressive reusers, recyclers and retailers. This, in turn, empowers them to become key drivers and accelerators of the circular economy.

Membership Development

  • Achieve a 90% retention rate for members into FY 2024.
  • Acquire 6 new local members and one new State member.
  • Acquire 6 new corporate partners.
  • Acquire 6 new conference exhibitors.

Board Matters

  • Develop a formal Board Risk Appetite on strategic and operational risks, including a media appetite statement.
  • Develop a formal Board Skills Matrix to document existing skillsets and identify any gaps in identifying and recruiting future board directors.
  • Continue advocating for a board and governance role on the Product Stewardship Organisation for Seamless, the National Clothing Product Stewardship Scheme.

Capacity Building and Member Services

  • Launch a virtual Business Services Directory to link members and relevant business suppliers.
  • Launch a members-only website hub for easy access to resources and new member services.
  • Launch a series of bi-monthly Lunch n Learns for members, with educational content from corporate partners.
  • Launch one face-to-face member event in each state to enhance networking opportunities.
  • Develop a quarterly Executive CEO Roundtable on key topics, such as charity-commercial partnerships, council relationships, government advocacy and brand partnerships.
  • Embed Hubspot as a new CRM to track member engagement and new business prospecting.
  • Develop stickier relationships at more levels with each member organisation, from the CEO to the front-line and operational teams.
  • Update the website offering to focus more on new memberships and partnerships.
  • Expand the National Conference to attract more exhibitors and book bigger venues to encourage delegate growth.
  • Share Charity Shop? learnings with members and facilitate discussions on potential collective charity shop opportunities.


Strategic Action Items

We educate and inspire Australians to choose reuse as a simple, cost effective way by which they can purchase quality items while also reducing their environmental footprint and enabling social good in their community.

  • Repeat the successful National Volunteering Drive to support members encourage new
    volunteers and develop contemporary volunteer practices.
  • Negotiate a partnership agreement with Charity Retail Consultancy (via CRA UK) to bring new eLearning and training courses to our members in Australia on a pay-for-service basis.
  • Expand our social media conversations on Instagram, Facebook and LinkedIn to include all key topics and messaging in support of the sector, and our advocacy objectives.


Reuse Policy Strategy Explained

Charitable Recycling Australia’s key policy objective is to get Reuse integrated into Australian government policies, to embody the Waste Hierarchy into full practice, and to fast-track the transition to a Circular Economy.

Reuse sits at the top of the Waste Hierarchy as a highest and best use intervention and yet it is unsupported by Australian government waste policies. An independent gap analysis of Australian government policies through the lens of the Waste Hierarchy and Circular Economy principles demonstrates the current limited focus on the bottom of the hierarchy like Recycle and Recover.

More importantly, it also identifies opportunities for Reuse to accelerate existing government targets and their ambitions for circular economy transitions.

Paying lip service to the Waste Hierarchy undermines its efficacy. We all know the Waste Hierarchy establishes agreed priorities based on sustainability to reduce and manage waste, and that waste cannot be solved with end-of-life technologies alone. But the hierarchy is useless if it’s not used. Australia needs to stop resisting an integrated approach and start embedding highest and best use interventions like reuse and repair into policy.

It could be argued that reuse was too difficult to measure to be translated into policy targets for the past 140 years where the charitable sector has been operating to circular economy principles since the first charity shop was launched in Australia in the 1880s – sparking reuse to extend the life of everyday household products in what then may have been the first product stewardship scheme.

Today, following ground-breaking research from Monash University, we can effectively measure reuse and articulate its triple bottom line benefits, through the National Reuse Measurement Guidelines, which provide a comprehensive methodology to measure reuse (through POS) and quantify its environmental, economic and social benefits.

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

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.

Charitable Recycling Australia also developed a bespoke upgrade of the Waste Hierarchy, re-naming it the Resource & Waste Hierarchy to prioritise the resource use phases of highest and best use, over the waste phases.

With these new resources, Australia is now in a position to start walking the talk on the Waste Hierarchy and step up as a global leader in the Circular Economy.

Charitable Recycling Australia’s strategy to influence policy change, is to articulate an irrefutable, data and evidence business case on why reuse is critical to governments and the circular economy.

To do that with integrity, we also need to articulate a case for Highest & Best Use in principle so that all of the higher order interventions are prioritised in order.

In line with this, Charitable Recycling Australia is also partnering with a cross-sector group of highest and best use organisations to advocate collectively for all higher order interventions including First Use, Reuse and Repair.

  • First Use – Mitigate over consumption. Design for quality, durability and longevity. A first life for excess unsold goods.
  • Reuse – Extend the usable life of products for as long as possible, through reuse in their original form.
  • Repair – Promote repair, refurbish and repurpose items in preparation for reuse.
    The partnership advocates collectively on a policy codesign approach on shared interventions to accelerate higher order interventions, and frame conversations as mutual opportunities with Australian governments in a shared approach to accelerating circularity together.

The strategy in practice is to meet with each of the Australian governments, identify their key needs and Circular Economy ambitions, and to develop a shared vision of how to collectively create a Circular Economy by 2030. It also necessitates a solution-based approach with cross-sector recommendations on what the required interventions may be, as well as their impact – and then move to economic modelling and/or a cost-benefit analysis to inform the next steps.

What has proved helpful in the meetings to date with Australian governments are:

  • Option to pilot fund the National Reuse Measurement Guidelines either fully or on priority streams; textiles and e-waste have been suggested by one government as a key focus. This data will inform government targets and enable evidence-based policy development.
  • Option to workshop insights and recommendations from cross-sector higher order operators, and then stress-test these ideas with a government funded cost-benefit analysis.
  • Option to develop specific proposals on how reuse can be accelerated to reduce items going to landfill in the short-terms, and to identify strategic Circular Economy.
  • Option to link higher order interventions directly to Australian government targets in order to fast-track progress towards achieving them, and towards Circular Economy by 2030.
  • Option to discuss the 10 specific policy considerations recommended by the Codesign Partnership to strengthen Circular Economy Impact by 2030.
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