Victoria's circular, zero-waste future explained

Young girl riding bike past kerbside bins

What is a circular economy and how can it make a difference?

We’re sure you’ve heard the term ‘circular economy’ a few times this year. But what does it actually mean? 

A circular economy is all about avoiding waste by reusing and recycling, which can significantly reduce the environmental impacts of production and consumption. 

By creating a circular economy, Victoria can manage its own waste and develop a thriving recycling and resource recovery sector. 

Our draft 30-year infrastructure strategy makes a number of recommendations to help Victoria transition to a circular, zero‐waste economy by 2050. 

These include to facilitate improved recycling infrastructure for priority materials, strengthen end markets for recycled materials, address barriers to recycling and reducing waste and to minimise waste and improve residual waste infrastructure planning. 

Increasing Victoria’s recovery rate from 69% to 90% could support up to 5,000 more jobs in the development and production of high-quality recovered materials. Many of these jobs would be in regional Victoria, and the materials produced could be used in major infrastructure projects, manufacturing and agriculture.

To reach this milestone by 2039, our research shows $1 billion in infrastructure investment is needed from both government and the private sector to increase Victoria’s processing capacity by 3.1 million tonnes. 
This would help the environment by cutting emissions and reducing our reliance on new materials. It would also benefit communities by generating new jobs and skills, improving the quality and quantity of valuable materials from waste, reducing extraction requirements and increasing demand for recovered materials. 

We invited all Victorians to have their say on the draft strategy and the feedback helped shape our final recommendations to government.