Ignite MNC 2022 – Circular Economy


Kerry Grace: CEO Regional Development Australia Mid North Coast
Liz Jeremy: General Manager of Bellingen Shire Council
Keiran TraversWaste Management consultant and owner of Harbak – a Brisbane based waste/ recycling / environmental consultancy that provides services to both public and private sector.


Regional Development Australia Mid North Coast (RDAMNC) and the Mid North Coast Joint Organisation (MNCJO) – Bellingen, Kempsey and Port Macquarie-Hastings councils – collaborated to do work around understanding the Circular Economy on the Mid North Coast, including current projects, blockages and opportunities. As part of the project, RDAMNC conducted desktop research, held four forums, distributed a survey across the Mid North Coast, and produced a report.  – noted that social enterprise is starting to make it work in some areas. For recycling projects to work, you need enough feedstock, enough capital investment, a plan to process the endstock.


  • Most of our recyclable domestic waste is being sorted but not recycled, particularly plastic waste because it is cheap to produce new and to recycle it makes it a more expensive product.
  • We have a landfill crisis on the MNC (and across the country) – there are less than 10 years capacity in most if not all landfills, with no new landfills approved in the last two decades. The solution lies in collaboration between industry, government, community. 
  • There should be a hub and spoke model around each landfill, including recycling and reuse centres.
  • Waste collection is a low margin high volume business.
  • Landfills generates methane, leachates, and noxious gases. When goods are recycled, the product is usually contaminated because the community is not aware of the importance of presenting the goods to be recycled in a particular way.
  • There are the people who will and the people who won’t – it’s the people in the middle who we can influence and work with.
  • For every tonne of recycled mobile phones, there is more gold and silver present in that than a tonne of ore.
  • There is a problem with the EPA being both the regulator and legislator. It is creating a fear environment and a lack of transparency.
  • Composting domestically is really important because it reduces food going into landfill. When recycling, make sure you only put into the bin recyclable products AND it needs to be rinsed and dried – if the recyclable waste is contaminated, then it all has to go into landfill.
Below image from Jay Black @andthetreesphotography

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