ASPIRE ramps up operations to tackle Australia’s growing waste crisis

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ASPIRE (Advisory System for Processing, Innovation & Resource Exchange) is ramping up its operations across Australia to tackle the country’s growing waste crisis.

ASPIRE, which transitioned out of CSIRO’s Data61 in 2015, is an online marketplace that was established to assist with cost-saving measures for small to medium enterprises (SMEs) with the growing issue of waste and disposal costs.

It intelligently matches businesses with potential remanufacturers, purchasers or recyclers to find new purposes for waste materials working towards the circular economy for Australia.

CSIRO’s Data61 research scientist Melanie Ayre said the ASPIRE marketplace, which combines CSIRO’s domain expertise in manufacturing with the deep technology capabilities of Data61, has to date managed to divert hundreds of different waste streams from landfill including batteries, e-waste, metals, organics, polystyrene, ferric chloride and timber pallets.

“Almost 80 per cent of Australia’s waste is generated through commercial, industrial, construction or demolition activities,” Ms Ayre noted.

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“We developed ASPIRE in response to rising costs of waste management, and to redirect waste to more productive uses.”

ASPIRE was recently awarded a place in the Swinburne Innovation Precinct’s Accelerator Program (an intensive program supporting start-ups to gain early traction in their markets), and was also named a semi- finalist in the 2019 Australian Technologies Competition.

Cameron McKenzie, ASPIRE’s newly appointed CEO, said although the online marketplace has seen an impressive uptake amongst businesses, state governments and local councils in Victoria, a broad national network is needed to tackle the widespread waste crisis.

“Around 300 businesses are using ASPIRE, which has collectively saved $207,000 in waste disposal and material costs. This has also resulted in the reduction CO2 emissions and water through reuse and diversion from landfill,” Mr McKenzie said.

“While we’ve had strong traction in Victoria, we’re scaling ASPIRE nationally to address the increasing need for a way to manage Australia’s growing waste and recycling issues.”

Image credit: https://blog.csiro.au/aspire-waste-program/