Data61 brings waste marketplace to the nation

CSIRO Data61

Thursday, 01 August, 2019

Data61 brings waste marketplace to the nation

Data61, the data and digital specialist arm of CSIRO, has scaled up its ASPIRE program nationally to manage the 67 million tonnes of waste generated in Australia each year. Developed in 2015, ASPIRE — Advisory System for Processing, Innovation and Resource Exchange — is an online marketplace that intelligently matches businesses with potential remanufacturers, purchasers or recyclers to find new purposes for waste.

The ASPIRE marketplace combines CSIRO’s domain expertise in manufacturing with the deep technology capabilities of Data61, aiming to work towards an Australian circular economy.

CSIRO’s Data61 research scientist Dr Melanie Ayre said that since launching, ASPIRE has diverted hundreds of waste streams from landfill including batteries, e-waste, metals, organics, polystyrene, ferric chloride and timber pallets.

“Almost 80% of Australia’s waste is generated through commercial, industrial, construction or demolition activities. We developed ASPIRE in response to rising costs of waste management, and to redirect waste to more productive uses,” Dr Ayre said.

Cameron McKenzie, ASPIRE’s newly appointed CEO, said the online marketplace has seen an impressive uptake amongst businesses, state governments and local councils in Victoria, but that a national network was pivotal in tackling 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 [of] CO2 emissions and water through re-use and diversion from landfill,” 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.”

According to the 2018 National Waste Policy, a hypothetical 5% improvement in efficient use of materials across the Australian economy could benefit Australia’s GDP by as much as $24 billion.

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. The program was a semifinalist in the 2019 Australian Technologies Competition and has received support from CSIRO’s ON Accelerator program.

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