WMRR welcomes announcement of Circular Economy Ministerial Advisory Group

25 November 2022

The Waste Management & Resource Recovery Association of Australia (WMRR) welcomes today’s announcement by the Hon Tanya Plibersek MP, Minister for the Environment and Water, of the formation of a Circular Economy Ministerial Advisory Group, with its inaugural chair – Professor John Thwaites AM.

“The recognition and action that this Federal Environment Minister has brought so quickly to understand both the complexity of material management in Australia and the need to focus on design, is hugely welcome and appreciated”, said Gayle Sloan, CEO, Waste Management & Resource Recovery Association of Australia.  

The Minister was correct when she stated today ‘that more than seventy percent of a product’s environmental impact is locked in at the design stage, before a customer ever looks at it.  Which means we need to get things right at the start, when we’re designing products, to make sure they’re built to be reused and recycled, not thrown out.’  This is going to take a real shift in the way we think about goods and the economy, however it is a brilliant opportunity to create green jobs and green investment.

“The formation of such a group at the Ministerial level, will really help drive the importance of what we do as the waste and resource recovery sector, and support the conversation that we want and need to have with the community about how and what we purchase and consume, and the importance of design for re-use, repair, recover”, said Ms Sloan.

The committee will look at important aspects of creating a national common market and circular economy in Australia, including:

  • Regulatory, commercial, and other barriers to a more circular economy
  • Best practice initiatives that show promise for adoption and expansion in Australia
  • Circular economy research, development and innovation needs, and 
  • Effective measurement and communication about progress towards Australia’s circular economy

“Unfortunately Australia remains one of the highest generators of waste globally, and with the current consumption and design approaches we are only managing to recycle about 60% of what is placed on market.  With greater emphasis on design, material selection, utilising secondary raw materials, and avoidance, we really can shift the dial, reducing emissions, reducing reliance on virgin and reducing energy demands,” said Ms Sloan.

“Our sector plays a vital role in recovery, and we look forward to working closely with all across the supply chain and the community, to create a genuine circular economy in Australia.”  

Well done Minister on taking this step, and showing this leadership, we look forward to working with you.

Media enquiries
Gayle Sloan
[email protected] / mobile: 0429 076 713