How the Melbourne Cup joined the circular economy

Thursday, 04 April, 2024 | Supplied by: Cirka

How the Melbourne Cup joined the circular economy

The 2023 Melbourne Cup Carnival has provided the opportunity for two organisations to partner to reduce waste while also contributing to the community.

Superyard provides an online marketplace dedicated to connecting buyers and sellers of unused construction materials and related equipment. The organisation has over 10,000 members and reaches all sides of the construction industry, tapping into sectors such as home renovators and demolition companies.

As part of its work to promote a circular economy, Superyard collaborates with community service providers, including charities and schools, to find new uses for these materials.

Superyard partnered with maintenance company Cirka to find downstream users for a range of materials used in constructing the temporary structures throughout the Melbourne Cup Carnival 2023.

The initiative was led by Superyard CEO Ritchie Djamhur and Cirka ESG Manager Daniel Rowe, and involved careful stakeholder engagement with Victoria Racing Club.

Djamhur emphasised the importance of the initiative’s community focus, stating that the two organisations are “prioritising community, health and education bodies in Melbourne and the greater Victorian region”. Rowe said that Cirka’s relationship with Superyard allowed Cirka to repurpose construction materials back into the community; for example, to schools, community centres and men’s sheds.

To ensure that all materials were recycled and redistributed effectively, the organisations adopted a three-step process.

1. Proactive planning and industry collaboration

The 2023 initiative focused on intercepting and repurposing the construction materials from the event’s temporary structures. Through this planning process, Superyard and Cirka decided to repurpose the following materials:

  • Pinewood of various lengths
  • MDF (Medium-Density Fibreboard) sheets
  • Carpeting in brown and black
  • Decking and fascia materials
  • LVL (Laminated Veneer Lumber)

2. Material sourcing and builder engagement

The next step in the process was to safely and effectively pull down and source the materials to be redistributed.

The builders at the Melbourne Cup Carnival played a critical role in this redistribution process, helping to ensure that all materials were sourced correctly and that anything that could be reused would be reused. They diligently separated reusable materials from the temporary infrastructure.

These materials were then packed into stillages and loaded onto a flatbed truck, which transported them to Superyard’s temporary storage site. Here, they underwent a quality assurance process to determine which materials were usable.

3. Direct community engagement and support

At this point, Superyard engaged with the community to ensure that the recovered materials found new homes. This involved Djamhur meeting personally with representatives from various charities to ensure Superyard could connect projects with the right materials.

Several successful collaborations resulted from the initiative:

Merri Outreach Support Service

Superyard distributed pine wood and LVL to Merri Outreach Support Service, a non-profit organisation that delivers support and programs to help Victorians experiencing homelessness or housing vulnerability feel secure and empowered. This enabled the NGO to construct a lunchroom for its hardworking staff and volunteers.

Imagine Re-Evolution

Imagine Re-Evolution is a not-for-profit organisation that aims to eliminate systemic childhood poverty and empower youth to reach their fullest potential.

Superyard distributed carpet, pine and MDF sheets to Imagine Re-Evolution to create youth engagement and education learning spaces for disengaged youth to utilise in community engagement programs.

Harvester Technical College

Harvester Technical College in Sunshine North offers specialised trade and vocational education to its secondary students. The college is committed to providing hands-on and trades-based learning experiences.

Through Superyard’s contribution, the college constructed training window frames for carpentry students. These frames serve as practical learning tools, allowing students to practise window installations throughout the year.

Future directions

The partnership between Superyard and Cirka is a prime example of the effectiveness of circular economy principles in the context of a major event. Through meticulous planning, collaborative efforts with builders and direct charity engagement, over 20,300 kg of materials were repurposed, bolstering community projects and preventing waste. The project also served the community organisations’ immediate needs and inspired over 80 charities to sign up for future opportunities, planting the seeds for a legacy of sustainable practices and community development.

Cirka and Superyard will take the lessons from the 2023 Melbourne Cup Carnival and continue to improve the process to increase capacity and deliver a shared outcome to the community.

Images courtesy of Cirka and Superyard.

Phone: 1800 001 145
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