Northern Tasmanian entrepreneurs are encouraged to put their thinking caps on backwards and think about waste in a new way.
The Northern Tasmanian Development Corporation launched its circular economy business grants on Thursday to encourage businesses to come forward with their waste busting ideas.
Northern Tasmanian Waste Management Group chairman and George Town general manager Shane Power said the grants aligned with the group’s goals.
“We want to help people think about waste differently,” he said.
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Mr Power said waste could be an economic resource, and the circular economy helped to shift thinking and attitudes.
Grants of up to $30,000 will be available for businesses with circular economy initiatives that show a benefit to the region.
“We are confident the grants will attract entrepreneurs seeking funds to make value from materials that may have otherwise ended up in landfill, or stockpiles, therefore maximising their life span,” he said.
City of Launceston innovation manager James McKee said attitudes towards the circular economy were changing in Tasmania, but the COVID-19 pandemic was the perfect time to reset our thinking.
He said it provided an opportunity to think about waste as of economic value to local government and regions, and provided a new income stream as the state moved out of the health pandemic.
“Part of the opportunity we have comes from the COVID recovery, to help add economic value for regions, it’s not only about minimising waste, and have a real opportunity to think about waste,” he said.
The City of Launceston embraces the circular economy with some of the initiatives at the Waste Transfer Station.
One of the circular economy initiatives at the tip is the polystyrene machine, which breaks down polystyrene packaging and melts it into bricks, for use in other products.
The city has also piloted a thriving food and organics recycling program, that turns food scraps from households into fertiliser.
NTDC chief executive Mark Baker said at the heart of the circular economy methodology was to encourage reusing and repair over a culture of throwing away.
“Moving from a linear economy to a circular economy is a win-win-win,” Mr Baker said.
“It’s a win for the environment, as it reduces the amount of waste going to landfill, carbon going into the atmosphere and water going down the drain.
“It’s a win for business to either reuse more resource or get access to cheaper resources, and it’s a win for jobs, with new industries creating opportunity,” he said.
- Expressions of interest in the circular economy grants are open now. Anyone interested should express interest via the City of Launceston website before October 2. EOIs that show potential will be encouraged to complete a full application.