By Kim Camrass, National CitySwitch Manager
Last week, we hosted an inspiring cross-sectoral event that brought together CitySwitch signatories and building owners with businesses creating new markets for what others call rubbish.
We heard about an office de-fit program that gives new life to furniture and office equipment, once destined for the dump, to Papua New Guinea’s most disadvantaged schools and hospitals.
We learnt about a zero-waste coffee company applying circular economy thinking to fertilise community gardens with waste coffee grounds.
We were inspired by Mates on the Move, a social enterprise that offers more than a removal and recycling service. By employing people leaving prison it also creates a lasting social impact.
Each of these projects, uncovered as part of our Beyond the Bin season program, encourages people to look at the materials leaving our orbit not as waste but as resources.
These projects also underscore the deeply interconnected social, environmental and economic value that we unlock when we rethink our approach to waste.
I’m passionate about the CitySwitch community and how collective action creates positive change.
The change we need will to tackle our trickiest problems – climate change and waste among them – will be led and delivered by people. We don’t need new technology to reimagine our resources. We already know how to turn soft plastics into road surfaces, bottle tops into eyewear, old suits into fresh opportunities. The solutions are out there –our challenge is to connect with them.
CitySwitch has developed a host of handy resources to help office tenants to think Beyond the Bin. In the coming weeks we will be sharing more inspiring solutions that expand recycling options beyond the obvious. Think coffee pods and batteries, e-waste and organics, soft plastics and furniture.
Change can seem slow at first, so start with one project or one material. Take the time to trial, test and tweak. Gain actionable insights, build replicable systems and, most importantly, create buy-in so you have the people power behind you as you scale your efforts.
We start an unstoppable ripple effect when we connect the right people together. This is why we are delighted that Esther Bailey will continue to drive change in her new role as NABERS’ national head of market development after nine years as the City of Sydney’s sustainability engagement manager.
My message is simple: you are not alone. Work with your building manager, reach out to your CitySwitch program manager, and share your challenges and learnings – because collaboration can and does drive collective impact.