A highlight from The path towards reduced waste in Australia
Yes all some from the lego film. Wherever up-to-date musically outweigh and our bins are still in so full. Seems no matter what we do. Those mountains of rubbish keep growing but now the kademi of technology and engineering have produced a plan for last to stop the catastrophe. I'm the academy's ceo kylie walker kind of walker. It's thirty years since in. Kenan the late. In kenan and kim mckay. Who's now director of the study museum. They both started cleanup austrailia and a bit sad in some ways that now we need to keep cleaning up and face an even bigger everest of rubbish. So why did the academy decided to take on this enormous task. It is thirty years. And i guess one of the key missions of the kademi is to use technology and engineering to help australia become more sustainable and engaged to build a more sustainable world. So i think it's entirely aligned with that mission to talk about how we not only reduce waste but removed the concept of rubbish all together from the economy and see that as a design flaw rather than a natural end point and i think that the work that has been done three clean up australia and all of the consumer education campaigns since that was initiated it was absolutely groundbreaking stuff when it was created. All of that work has done an enormous amount of good. But it's also happened. While the capitalist society has continued to churn and the approach to creating and using and throwing my new products slowed down sped up and it sped up with the advent of renovation shows and it spread up with the advent of better and faster and extraordinarily speedily evolving technology. And it's sped up with. I guess the rising middle class over the decades as well and that desire to own a lot of the latest things so there are a lot of forces acting against the idea of reducing waste. Just talking personally about the way we're inundated two of my bet. Noirs one of them is when i receive books. There's usually a gigantic box and you open the box and inside is a tiny book about five tons of polystyrene balls which you've got to do something with and then i'm looking after the back garden and some chairs which arrived metal chairs and they were wrapped in so much plastic. It took us two hours to extract. Them what are your bet was. We do produce an awful lot of packaging don't we. I'm really a quite allergic to the idea that we go in trading l. phone every year or not. It drives me a little bit nuts that we don't bother repairing them anymore. You take your phone into the shop to get repaired and more likely than not the person at the shops going to tell you. Well you could get repaired for about the same amount of money you could get a new one and it just goes into being and it's incredibly tempting to do that isn't it because the technology does evolve at such a rapid rice that the phone that you might purchase today is extraordinarily better than the phone that you probably purchase two years ago. So that's the one that drives me a little bit mad. Well in fact. I don't purchase them have mobile phone. And that's one of the reasons i do. Not but the good news. Is that one of your fellows. And that's venus. A hydraulic from the university of new south. Wales pioneered a way to extract metals and minerals. Maybe waste and only two weeks ago. She launched a new system whereby you can extract aluminium from all those funny little pods with what you might coffee and various other things. I understand that she worked with you on the project. Yes she was one of expert consultants that leads these projects. So that was terrific. And i think fame has been inspired by the trash picking culture in the subcontinent. Which is it's not just a way of life. It's actually incredibly important. Because of the date policy in india there are many many people whose livelihoods depend on taking whatever they can to from those gigantic piles of rubbish. But what i love about. What she's done is that she's created a micro manufacturing facility. So it's not just something that has to be done at an enormous scale. It's something that can be replicated. Wherever you like it could be replicated by local councils so any jurisdiction could replicate that system and have the capacity to extract the precious metals mined materials out of eight waist and then repurpose them using three d printing technology. And i think one of the really exciting things about this report. Is that all of the technology to achieve zero waste. Already exists only just going to get better at the time so we set up the infrastructure and the regulatory structures now to enable circular economy to start to thrive only going to improve and as implied make industries. I was also inspired by tom. Mash ma from the university of sydney who has developed ways in which you can extract plastic and treaty in such a way that it can be used for instance in making roads. That's with soft plastic goes but also the haunt plastic to make new kind of instruments and there again that has been set up now if you think of the number of new industries new jobs that could be available. Just terribly exciting isn't it. I think so too. And i think one of the things that i love about this report is that it saying yes. It's terrific should be able to turn old plastic waste into roads and that's important and we should continue to do that rather than chuck it in the ground but we can also by continuing to invest in evolving. Those technologies we can make value added products. We can actually make something. That's worth more ash of the thing that we're recycling the piece that we might have previously thrown away and then the other thing that this report does is that it points to recycling as kind of the second last option rather than the first first-option and it points to throwing stuff into landfill absolutely last option. Only when all other things have failed. And i love the idea. That is a design flaw. I love the idea that we have the capacity. Now we have the technology skills now. She designed from the very start products that are intended to be used for very long time and repaid. I slay secondly if. They're not able to be repaired or used for very long time to be. Purposefully disassembled dismantled and then reassembled as other stuff so. I think of them almost like lego products. That a bit like lego where you can take the bricks apart and turn them into something else entirely without a huge amount of processing in between so you're reducing the energy that it requires to repurpose products as well because of course that's another unfortunate byproduct of current recycling technology as it is being used in the field that it requires a lot of energy to make a go of it. This clearly better ways to do it. Well of course the academy has done a report. You're not the kind of organization that goes off and does the clean up itself. So what happens next. You show the report and hope to inspire also different people or what. I think we're already doing that. Because the level of consultation that was done to create these pace of work was absolutely extensive. Involved industry it involved local state and federal governments it involved consumers and manufacturers as well as obviously the technological and scientific experts who were our advisory committee and some of their networks so the process of building the report.