Australian first City Scan identifies circular economy opportunities for the Hunter

The Hunter and Central Coast regions are well placed to capitalise on their place as Australia’s most dynamic regional economy by going circular

Circular economy

The circular economy is globally recognised as a positive approach to tackle urgent climate issues and biodiversity loss. Representing a shift away from a traditional linear model of take, make, use and waste, the circular model sees materials kept in use for as long as possible at their highest and best use.

The potential of the Hunter and Central Coast region’s circular economy has now been assessed through a City Scan, designed to help identify business opportunities and any issues or gaps that need to be addressed through further data exploration and stakeholder collaboration.

The City Scan tool enables a collaborative approach to identifying priorities and opportunities by looking at the materials that are flowing into and out of our region, such as fly ash, food waste, water, energy, and construction waste.

It then combines elements of material flow analysis and economic analysis to identify the opportunities to create jobs and revenue by thinking of these materials differently – not as waste but as resources to be cycled again and again.

This City Scan is the first of its kind in Australia. The approach was developed in the Netherlands and used in cities such as Amsterdam and Prague.

Demonstrating great regional collaboration, Lake Macquarie City Council coordinated the group of partner organisations, including the City of Newcastle, Central Coast Council, the Hunter Joint Organisation, Go Circular. They engaged the University of Newcastle to employ the City Scan tool. This effort sets a standard for a collective impact, aligning the efforts of businesses, nonprofits, governments and the university sector to pursue shared goals.

The report from the City Scan tool outlines areas of the local economy that should be a focus for circular economy engagement. This included mining and utilities, manufacturing, trade and transport, accommodation and food service, agriculture, and construction sectors.

The data exploration through the City Scan tool identified five key outcomes to progress the regional transition towards a more circular economy. This included:

  • engaging more with industry around opportunities,
  • improving data collection and interpretation,
  • better understanding the risks,
  • working collaboratively to improve our supply chains, and,
  • developing education on the circular economy.

The Hunter Central Coast region is increasingly seen as a proactive region and leader in driving the evolution toward a more circular economy.

This presents an opportunity for the Hunter and Central Coast to attract investment, industries, and jobs helping to diversify the region while moving us toward net-zero targets.

To read more about the Circle City Scan Tool, go here

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