How did you become interested in waste management and circular economy?
I started my career as an environmental scientist, testing groundwater for contamination at landfills. Most people put their waste in the bin and forget about it, and I was the same until I saw on a daily basis the impact our landfills have on our environment. It was eye-opening and it inspired me to want to try and make a difference rather than just monitoring our impact. The built environment is one of the largest contributors to waste, and one of the greatest opportunities to influence change.
What is your specific area of interest or specialty?
Having worked at Wastech Engineering for three years I developed a good understanding of waste design in developments. My specialty is knowledge of waste management equipment, such as chutes, compactors, balers and processing units to design the most functional and spatially efficient refuse room.
What continues to excite you about your work?
The waste management industry continues to evolve and improve in Australia and we are gradually heading towards a more circular economy. There are always new ideas that can be implemented and opportunities for improvement. My work excites me because I have the opportunity to work with passionate people in the industry to play my part in improving our cities’ impact on the environment and inspiring the community to care about making change.
What are your top tips for a company looking to explore their circularity options?
There are a lot of ways that companies or individuals can participate in a circular economy. I think the best thing is to just get started and make some small steps to improve your business and/or projects. It’s about changing the consumer mindset, thinking outside the square and educating and creating a culture where people are continually exploring options to use recycled materials, design for longevity and consider the end-of-life of materials to avoid landfill. This will not only improve the environment, but help save businesses money in developments and business practices, while also improving the reputation and creating a more caring culture.
What are some of the big changes, or areas of opportunity, facing your industry?
The biggest change in the waste industry is the ban on the export of waste to China and regulation of waste exportation to other destinations. Whilst this has presented a lot of challenges to the Australian waste industry, it is a great opportunity for Australia to become a more circular economy and make Australia a less wasteful country, which will also help to tackle the issue of climate change. Why should we use other countries as our dumping grounds?
What are some of the memorable projects you’ve worked on?
I have worked on many great projects! Some that come to mind are Chadstone Shopping Centre, various Nightingale Housing developments, Geelong Convention and Exhibition Centre, many high-rise towers across Australia, Union Quarter in Spotswood; and also a proposed new office building which is powered by energy produced by a large organics processing unit!
Tell us a fun fact about yourself!
I live on a strawberry farm in the beautiful Yarra Valley!