A match-making service of another variety has been instituted in Victoria, one that couples waste generators with remanufacturers, purchasers or recyclers capable of putting the waste to good purpose.
Developed by the CSIRO by way of a pilot program, the ASPIRE (Advisory System for Processing, Innovation & Resource Exchange) online marketplace is now open for business—and bound to go national as more councils and businesses get on board with the concept.
Newly appointed chief executive officer Cameron McKenzie says that the project was launched in Kingston, Victoria, where a citizen was matching waste generators with waste repurposers on an informal basis. The council joined forces with others to engage the CSIRO in the development of a more formalised, organised matchmaking network.
The resulting intelligent online platform has undergone several years of business development before McKenzie was named CEO seven months ago to introduce the business to a more expansive audience.
McKenzie says that, owing to the fact that the cost of sending resources to waste and landfills has tripled in the past few years, waste disposal has become a big problem for SMEs and manufacturing companies in certain regions.
He says that, while tier one and two waste-intensive construction industry businesses are successfully processing waste in a sustainable manner, smaller businesses may not be finding the time to manage their waste in an optimum manner. The online platform, he said, is a helpful tool that can boost their awareness of efficient and manageable business practices.
A total of 300 businesses are accessing ASPIRE through the pilot program, which has saved $207,000 in waste disposal and material expenses.
One project success story paired up a business overwhelmed with Styrofoam and cardboard waste generated from importing electric equipment with a business that mixes Styrofoam with concrete to create a light, thermally efficient construction material.
Another match has saved a social enterprise employing disadvantaged Australians enough money to pay wages for one and a half employees.
The tool will also ensure compliance with upcoming circular economy policies, expected for imminent release in NSW and Victoria. Queensland presented a plan on waste management and the circular economy this month.
Data will be taken from the platform to demonstrate the fact that businesses are active members working toward a common goal of resource recovery.
The startup business depends on council subscriptions. Once a council subscribes, businesses in their service location can use this service free of charge. Businesses located outside participating jurisdictions can join as well, but for a fee.
This model will help develop the tool, as businesses facing significant waste expenses will encourage their local councils to adopt it for financial benefits. Among those expressing interest, said McKenzie, are councils representing Sydney, south-east Queensland and Adelaide.