The problem with waste management currently
Over the past five years, there has been a growing recognition in Australia that the current approach to managing consumer waste cannot continue. Every year, over 20 million tonnes are sent to be buried in landfill, a substantial portion of which could have been reused or recycled if the right systems and incentives were in place. Tata Consultancy Services’ (TCS) Community Innovation Program has now offered support to Charitable Recycling Australia’s efforts in solving the problem with innovation and practical solutions.
Of all the potential forms of waste diversion, reuse is the most carbon-efficient, and in many cases, offsets the potential environmental impact of predicting a new item by recirculating an existing item in the productive economy. Despite this fact, the connection between material consumption and carbon emissions remains relatively unrecognized in Australia.
Solving the problem together
Charitable Recycling Australia, a collective network of 3,000 charities and social enterprise retailers which works to get re-useable household items from ending up in landfills, stepped up to address this gap by creating an online Reuse Impact Calculator Tool. The initiative aimed at providing a simple online tool for individuals to measure the carbon impacts of reuse. Further, TCS’ Community Innovation Program levelled up technology expertise to transform this tool into a workable real-life model.
A prospective customer can type in their quantities of items on the calculator, and it enables them to know the impact created in terms of energy and carbon emissions saved. The calculator can be accessed at https://www.charitablerecycling.org.au/reusecalculator/
Several Charity Op-shops operate across the country where customers can donate their re-usable household items. TCS also built an Op-shop finder, to aid customers locate the nearest Op-shop. https://www.charitablerecycling.org.au/findopsv2/.
Postal codes can be keyed in, and the search provides options in a 50-km (default) radius, hence simplifying the process and creating a sustainable environment and equitable society.