Photo L-R: David Kuhn, SSROC; Liesbeth De Shamphalaere, KOMOSIE Federation (Belgium); James O’Loghlin, MC / ABC; and Matthew Luxon, Envision New Zealand

The Zero Waste Network Sydney was launched on 22 November to a room full of passionate ‘wasties’ – professionals who work in the waste and resource recovery sector. The well-attended event was emceed by James O’Loghlin, ABC television and radio presenter, and held at the Blacksmith’s Workshop in Australia Technology Park.

SSROC (with support from NSW EPA) established a Funding Agreement for the Community Recycling Network Australia (CRNA) to develop a business plan, financial forecasting and start-up operations in greater Sydney, stretching to council areas from the Hunter Region to the Illawarra, and west to the Blue Mountains. The Sydney-based CRN re-established the brand as Zero Waste Network (ZWN) Sydney.

The Zero Waste Network Sydney will support and grow reuse, repair and recycling social enterprises across greater Sydney. In 2016 the ZWN Sydney community reuse and recycling businesses diverted the equivalent of 2,500 garbage truckloads of reusable and recyclable items away from landfill. In 2020 the ZWN Sydney is aiming to grow that to 8,350 garbage truckloads or 100,000 tonnes of waste diversion.

One ZWN Sydney social enterprise that will benefit is Marrickville-based Reverse Garbage whose website says they divert around 35,000 cubic metres or 100 football fields of commercial, industrial and household items each year. Reverse Garbage supports creative artists and teachers with materials and resources along with providing educational workshops and tours. The SSROC Community Educators have run workshops and taken participants on tours at the site.

The ZWN Sydney aims to support local repair and reuse businesses to become successful by reducing barriers to growth, and to provide skills training and mentoring for the sector. The goal is to enable better opportunities for waste avoidance, innovations in resource recovery, and data collection so that community reuse and recycling enterprises can continue to carry out opportunities in waste services across greater Sydney.

SSROC General Manager Namoi Dougall welcomes the launch of the Zero Waste Network Sydney.

“The social enterprise and not-for-profit community reuse and recycling sector do important work in our communities turning unwanted items into valuable goods, and providing training and education.” said Ms Dougall.

Community reuse and recycling enterprises are social and not-for-profit companies working to retain the value of unwanted materials, save scarce materials, and provide alternatives to landfill.

The ZWN Sydney launch is the culmination of 12 months of planning and stakeholder engagement. Matthew Allen, Convenor of the Zero Waste Network, Sydney was thrilled to be at the launch, stating:

“The solutions to Waste Management problems are out there already, the question is how can we work together to scale up those amazing solutions. Now is the time when we are going to see that happening and the way that we do it is by collaboration, we can’t do it alone. We need strong collaborations between the social enterprise sector, local governments and forward-thinking businesses and that that is what the Zero Waste Network Sydney is here to do.” 

To find out more please visit the ZWN Sydney website

This project is a NSW EPA Waste Less Recycle More initiative, funded by the waste levy.