Circular Economy, New South Wales, News

How the circular economy is planting roots in the Hunter

The Hunter Joint Organisation (HJO) backed by funding from the NSW state government, is transitioning the Hunter Central Coast region to a circular economy. The HJO is a collaborative body bringing together the ten councils in the region to provide a united and local voice for its communities.

To support the region toward a circular economy approach in line with NSW and Commonwealth Government directions, the HJO has recently completed two foundational projects –Hunter Central Coast Ecosystem project and the Hunter Central Coast Material Flow Analysis.

Ecosystem report

The Hunter Central Coast Ecosystem report has provided a status report on the region’s circular economy ‘eco-system’ regarding waste streams and resource recovery.

The report indicates what is already happening in the region and what steps are required to further the region’s circular economy. It also details several case studies of businesses and local governments which are already demonstrating circular economy principles in action.

HJO chair and Cessnock City Council mayor Bob Pynsent said “We want everyone across government, business, community and tertiary education sectors to engage with the eco-system. By collaborating we can help develop the region’s economy and drive environmental improvement at the same time.”

Pynsent added that the Hunter is already home to innovative business and government initiatives that are leading examples of circular economy principles in action.

“The HJO is committed to creating a network of stakeholders across government, industry, research organisations and communities to find innovative solutions to reuse waste materials and enhance sustainability,” he added

Hunter Central Coast Material Flow Analysis Project

The material flow analysis developed by the HJO and NSW Government’s Sustainability Advantage Program, mapped the quantity of 21 different waste materials across each local government area in the Hunter and Central Coast.

This data will now provide a baseline of waste material flows across the region, that can be used by government and business to identify opportunities for collaboration and investment.

“Having this data available is the first step in understanding where waste materials are located in the Hunter and Central Coast. It is also a great example of what collaboration can achieve for our region,” NSW Department of Planning, Industry and Environment Sustainability Advantage, senior team leader Rob Thomson said.

“We support the Hunter Central Coast region moving to a circular economy as it will provide long-term economic, social and environmental benefits. The transition will enhance the environment, increase the robustness of the economy by creating new markets and jobs, increase accessibility to goods, maximise the value of resources, reduce waste and improve how we use resources,” Thomson added.

The HJO said in a statement that these projects represented the beginning of a new period to position the Hunter Central Coast as national leaders in the circular economy field. The next stage of the project will see the findings presented in an online resource, the new hunter circular website designed to be the centrepiece of engagement to support the circular economy in the Hunter and Central Coast region.