President's Message: June 2019
There has never been a more exciting time to be a LCA practitioner in Australia! Life cycle thinking, LCA and material flow analysis is increasingly at the forefront for industry and consumers and we work toward informed and holistic solutions and a more sustainable Australia.
Our national “war on waste” in one example of how we are mobilising on the circular economy. Increasingly the developing world are rejecting our waste, with China stringently enforcing restrictions on the importation of recycled materials under their National Sword policy and other countries such as the Philippines following suit.
The ABC’s War on Waste series if opening Australia’s eyes to the problem, while educating them on the circular economy. In the program Craig Reucassell takes a critical and first-hand look at household, retail and farming waste in Australia, and asks, “What has changed in the Australia psyche, and in our consumer culture, that has led us to become among the most wasteful nations in the developed world?”
Believe it or not, in the 1960s Australia was considered amongst the best in the world at dealing with waste. Now the amount of waste in Australia is increasing at a rate of 8% annually. It is past time for us to re-examine the ways we consume and dispose of consumer items. A circular economy response is needed, and some states are moving in this direction.
For ALCAS this is a natural application and extension of the methods, data, tools and skills we have been developing and promoting over 20 years. The recent ALCAS Conference featured a range of methodological advances and industry case studies that will help to tackle our waste problem (and others).
Our jobs, as life cycle assessment experts and professionals, is to engage and contribute to these emerging challenges by offering solutions that span from cradle to grave and appropriately balance the trade-offs between environmental and social needs.