Embracing circularity in Victoria’s retail and corporate precincts

Published: 23 March 2022

Reducing and reusing waste will be a priority at Melbourne’s QV precinct as part of a wider plan to improve circularity at the retail and commercial hub, decided at a recent circular economy workshop.

Led by Coreo and Dexus, the workshop was part of a larger project to measure and map how materials flow through complex mixed-use corporate and retail precincts in Victoria.

Supported by the Recycling Victoria Business Support Fund, the project is centred on the QV precinct, exploring how to improve the circularity of material flows in use and end-of-life.

Embracing circular economy concepts

The workshop involved tenants of the QV precinct - including, Woolworths, Incu Retail, Consolidated Cleaning, No Vacancy and Retail Savvy Group, along with Dexus’s QV Management and Sustainability teams and cleaning contractor, Consolidated Cleaning. The group broadened their understanding of the circular economy, through 3 underlying principles:

  • Designing out waste and pollution
  • How to keep products and materials in use
  • Regenerating natural systems.

Relevant solutions to implement the above principles were discussed, including:

  • Offtake partners to take materials and close the loop, material flow on
  • Circular supplies that reduce the need for use of virgin materials
  • Product as a Service models that replace product ownership with leases
  • Supply chain changes
  • Circular economy enablers – including new processes, technologies, training and advice
Group photo at Coreo workshop

Precinct waste audit findings

The findings of a recent audit of waste at the QV precinct were also discussed. The audit found that 3 tonnes of waste was accumulated in a 2-day period at the precinct, with one tonne being food waste (noting that this sample was taken in the aftermath of a COVID lockdown, with retail back open but minimal office occupancy).

QV tenants had the opportunity to provide input on the direction waste stream management at QV would take, as the project moves towards the next stage.

Next steps will be to further identify ways to avoid, reuse, and recover waste from two high-impact material streams.

These solutions complement the priorities of Sustainability Victoria’s Circular Economy Business Innovation Centre (CEBIC), which supports businesses to develop and implement new models and practices that avoid waste in Victorian businesses. A focus on eliminating hard plastics with reusable alternatives would also support the reduction of single-use plastics in Victoria.

For more information on the workshop, please see the slide pack.