Closing the loop
This research agenda aims to contribute to defining the evidence base for environmentally friendly, scalable waste management practices.
Partnering with industry partners such as Rocky Point and City of Gold Coast, Associate Professor Cheryl Desha enables this research team with projects led by lean and green expert Dr Savindi Caldera.
At scale food composting – Rocky Point
In 2018 this research included a project to document the 100 tonne of food waste collected from key Commonwealth Games venues during the games. This academic-industry collaboration created precedent to inspire future efforts to reduce waste and achieve waste targets by 2020 (Australian Waste Strategy) and to align with the 12th United Nations Sustainable Development Goal (Responsible Consumption and Production).
FOGO – addressing the supply chain
With the increasing volumes in domestic, commercial and industrial waste and diminishing availability in landfills, it is critical to have targeted strategies to effectively manage each waste stream in Australia. Among these diverse waste streams, the ‘average’ household garbage bin in South East Queensland consists of more than 50 per cent ‘food organics and garden organics’ (FOGO), highlighting the significant opportunity for transforming food and garden waste into a valuable commercially viable composting product.
This research evaluated strategies and technologies to close the loop. We engaged with key stakeholders to investigate short- and long-term methods towards recycling and reusing food and garden waste, a valuable resource wasted to landfill. Our findings provide evidence for key stakeholders such as local councils, food suppliers/vendors, Queensland Farmers Federation, Departments of Environment and Science and the local community, to promote the value of creating high-quality food-and garden organic waste streams for collection and processing. We highlight the current divergence of attention between technology and processes, and opportunities arising through this appreciation, that can guide academics, industry practitioners and government decision makers to collaborate and achieve sustainable resource management outcomes aligned to United Nations Sustainable Development goals.
Marketplace for construction and demolition waste
As a part of the SBEnrc research project 1.65, in 2019 a feasibility study was conducted to consider the potential for a marketplace that connects organisations and industries across jurisdictions for trading waste. Based on these findings, the authors presented an emergent framework of enablers and barriers that would guide practitioners, government policymakers in creating waste trading platforms. Our findings are useful for industry practitioners, government policymakers addressing circular economy opportunities at a firm level, and governance leaders in bridging the gap between ideas and action for scaling up construction and demolition waste management practices.