How we can tackle zero waste

26 Feb 2019

Interviewee: Lucy Sharman, Sustainability Manager, Lendlease

When it comes to waste, 6 Star Green Star rated Barangaroo is ahead of the curve. It’s all thanks to Lendlease Sustainability Manager, Lucy Sharman, who spearheaded a sophisticated waste management system consisting of 19 different streams.

Over the course of three years, Barangaroo has managed to divert around 5,427 tonnes of waste from landfill.

Lucy and her team are using data as a way to tell over 22,000 people who live, work and play at Barangaroo why they need to think before they throw something out.

“It’s not just about doing the bare minimum anymore and having a recycling bin in the office.

“With China and Malaysia banning  the importation of waste from Australia, the problem is right in front of us: we’re not doing enough to steer clear of landfill.

“As an industry, we need to shift away from recycling and look at ways to turn waste into resources. For example, how can we take mixed plastic and transform it into construction materials.

“Having data on hand gives us the opportunity to tell a rich story to tenants, restaurant owners and managers about issues like food waste.”

Lucy explains that while it costs around $400 per tonne to send rubbish to landfill, including food scraps, we need to look to sustainable communities like Barangaroo, that are looking to economic and environmental solutions, like using organic waste to produce fertiliser*.

“When you put it like that, tenants from larger companies understand the problem and are offered a way to fix it with a cost benefit for them.

“Yes, dealing with waste is complex – it’s a battle that requires us to provide ongoing training and education to the community, but it’s an issue that isn’t going to go away,” Lucy says.
Barangaroo has an ambitious target to divert 80 per cent of waste from landfill.

“When you think about the fact that the average diversion in building across Sydney CBD is 56 per cent – which is considered good practice – industry needs to do better.

“We need to be so much more aware of our individual actions, because despite our small population, Australia stands as one of the most wasteful countries in the world.

“With no current state or national strategies in place, and limited infrastructure, it’s up to us to start thinking about waste as part of a circular economy – again, as a resource.”

Want to know more about how Lucy has managed to refine and reduce Barangaroo’s organic waste? Join us at our next Spotlight Seminar: Targeting Zero Waste in Melbourne on 2 April and Sydney on 4 April.