South Australia leading the way to a circular economy

06 Jun 2023

An action plan for a circular economy in South Australia’s building sector has been unveiled today at the first Green Building Day in Adelaide. 

On releasing the report, Circular economy in South Australia’s built environment, Green Building Council of Australia (GBCA), Chief Executive, Davina Rooney, said South Australia has long been at the forefront of waste management, renewable energy, and climate action. 

“The South Australian Government’s commitment to achieve a circular economy through target setting, policy development, regulation and investment in innovation will set the state on the path toward a thriving circular economy,” Ms Rooney said.  

Developed by GBCA, in partnership with Green Industries SA, the action plan will kick-start opportunities in the built environment and will enable longer term planning to be undertaken. 

“There are many great things about this circular economy action plan, and one of its standout features is that it can easily be adapted for other states and territories, so we hope to see this rolled out across Australia in various ways,” Ms Rooney said. 

The action plan, the first of its kind for an Australian state or territory, outlines the many opportunities to drive circular economy principles: 

  • Design out waste and pollution 
  • Keep products and materials in use (there is no waste– all materials are resources that can be re-used) 
  • Regenerate natural systems. 

The plan also provides guidance for the built environment, addressing important topics and challenges including material selection, preferencing low emission products and suppliers, and choosing local options for products and materials.  

“We know that there are already exciting innovators operating in South Australia and across the country, and this report identifies opportunities for government, industry and community stakeholders to connect, share knowledge and collaborate to boost circular outcomes,” said Ms Rooney. 

The action plan presents case studies from projects and service providers that have challenged the business-as-usual way of thinking, such as Adelaide’s U City vertical village whose commitment to sustainability and circularity was recognised with Green Star and Climate Active certifications.   

The action plan is structured around the following stages: plan, design, construct, operate, renovate & refurbish, reuse & recycle and manufacture. It has a particular focus on the commercial and residential building sectors and is underpinned by a transition to renewable energy sources.  

Circular economy in South Australia’s built environment can be downloaded here.

Case studies: