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The Australian Academy of Technology and Engineering’s (ATSE) Towards a Waste Free Future report highlights the huge potential for technology to positively disrupt the waste and resource recovery sector in Australia, and support the transition toward a circular economy. 

According to National Waste Policy resources, Australians create around 67 million tonnes of waste each year, which equates to 2.7 tonnes per person. This is why ATSE believes it is critical for Australia to transition to a more circular economy model.

The ATSE report states that, although technology is not the sole pathway to a circular economy, it is essential to support and guide the necessary systemic change.

“Technology and innovation will support the design of products that are more durable, reusable, repairable, and able to be remanufactured or disassembled once they reach the end of their first life,” the report states.

“Advances in technology will enable materials to be identified, tracked, sorted and processed. Technology will underpin the entire circular economy system, creating feedback loops and generating data to support policy and investment decisions.”

ATSE’s research and consultations for this report revealed that lack of economic feasibility is a critical barrier to the technology transformation of Australia’s waste and resource recovery sector. 

“Getting the policy and regulatory settings right is also a key barrier,” the report continues. 

“Incentives to drive investment in infrastructure are largely dependent on the economic, policy and regulatory settings, and ATSE’s analysis confirms that these are not optimally effective.” 

ATSE also found that Australia’s skills and social readiness for technology-based solutions in the waste and resource recovery sector are high, indicating an opportunity for the country to move ahead quickly if the economic and policy settings are correct.

For more on ATSE’s analysis on the matter, download the report from the organisation’s website.

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