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The circular economy represents massive opportunities for news media

“Circular economy” is the concept having its moment in the limelight in the interconnected worlds of news media and sustainability.

For the uninitiated, a circular economy model is one that designs out waste, avoids putting pressure on natural resources, and always considers how to keep products and materials in the system (and out of the dumpster!).

RELATED: Recycling of newspapers in Australia is world class

While focus on circular economy principles has received increased attention in recent years, they have actually been supported by those in the industry for more than 30 years. For decades, producers of newspapers have been actively involved in recycling initiatives, using their purchasing choices to favour products and materials with a reduced eco-footprint and diverting waste from landfill. This has been so successful that newspapers now only make up 0.07% of what goes to landfill – down from 3% in 1990.

When NewsMediaWorks was presented with the opportunity to respond to the NSW EPA’s discussion paper on the circular economy, Too Good To Waste, we were only too happy to get involved.

Our response covered some of the important foundations of our own proactive initiatives, such as our product stewardship agreements that mean we are actively taking on the responsibility of reducing the impact of the products we create. In addition, our industry has helped advance recycling of newspapers from 28% at the start of 1990 to 75% now – a success story that sees Australia recycling up with some of the best in the world.

NewsMediaWorks firmly believes that commitment to this mindset will reap significant long-term benefits to our organisation, our industry, and our planet.

Looking to the future of the circular economy within our sector, the ongoing publication of accurate and timely data will help to ensure that the decisions made regarding waste management and recycling continue to be informed, keeping us on track and heading in the right direction.

Indeed, we will continue to be on the lookout for innovative ways to increase our data pool, such as a better understanding of where else waste can be minimised. As the industry association representing more than 1,000 newspapers and websites across our region, NewsMediaWorks has a unique opportunity to support the ongoing adoption of circular economy principles.

We would love to see the success story of newspaper recycling in Australia, a rate of 75% and among the highest in the world, replicated across the Asia-Pacific.

The future for the circular economy looks bright, with energy-from-waste technology under development that displaces fossil fuels and generates clean energy presenting even more potential for news media to keep resources in the system and out of landfill.

Publishers together with Australia’s newsprint manufacturer, Norske Skog, continue to be committed to our National Environmental Sustainability Agreement (NESA), managed by NewsMediaWorks and endorsed by all State and Federal governments. It has been in place since 1992 and it will continue to keep us focused on sustainable production, recovery, recycling and reuse of products and materials through to 2020.


You can read our full response and view the entire white paper for yourself below:

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