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Circonomy launches in Australia

February 14, 2023

Australia’s first recovery, repair and resale service for a wide range of retail and commercial products, has launched a national Refurbishment & Response Squad to support the sustainability performance of Australia’s broader retail industry.

Circonomy’s national Refurbishment & Response Squad expands the existing collection and repair services of the social enterprise, beyond furniture, technology and office supplies to incorporate the broader retail industry.

Its new facility in Richmond, Melbourne joins its established collection, repair, refurbishment and reselling operations in its circular economy precinct in Morningside, Brisbane and a team in New South Wales all catering to both businesses and consumers as part of the national expansion strategy to provide circular products and solutions for all Australians.

Originally founded as the World’s Biggest Garage Sale (WBGS) in 2017, Circonomy is a pioneer in Australia’s emerging circular economy, which is estimated by the World Economic Forum to grow to a value of AU$26 billion ($18 billion/ €17 billion) per annum by 2051.

With an estimated AU$2.5 billion ($1.7 billion/ €1.6 billion) worth of goods never having had a first-life, and being wasted in Australia each year, due to being unsold, end-of-the-line or surplus stock ending up in waste, Circonomy advocates for sustainable business practices and conscious consumerism through best-practice waste management solutions. By capturing these products that are suitable for refurbishment and resale as ‘new’ or ‘as-new’ products, they are reducing the need for new products and resources, and enables the transition to a more circular economy.

Circonomy CEO, Ryan Swenson, said it’s time to address the challenges businesses face when it comes to waste management and resource reuse, with practical, sustainable and transparent solutions that are just as viable as existing processes.

“Businesses need a more sophisticated approach to handling excess, outdated, used, or what could be deemed as imperfect products. Current systems are costly, wasteful, and inefficient. Typically, resources, such as damaged products, customer-returned items, or even furniture or fixtures that are no longer needed in office buildings or retail stores are sent to landfills, but could, in fact, be easily repaired or repurposed. This is a national challenge that requires national solutions that are available at scale,” Swenson said.

To date, Circonomy has saved 1.29 billion litres of water from the production of new goods, estimated AU$2.2 million ($1.5 million/ €1.4 million) of social impact value to the global economy, diverted 4.3 million kilograms of goods from landfill and prevented 774,000 kilograms of CO2 from entering Earth’s atmosphere.

Circonomy Founder and Chief Evangelist, Yas Grigaliunas said Circonomy reduces waste and landfill by repairing and repurposing still-useful retail products that may be damaged in the supply chain or returned and unfit for immediate sale.

“We sell these products online or through bricks and mortar channels, or donate them to people in need. Refurbished products can be up to 70% lower cost than buying new, and typically with the same great quality. With the current cost of living crisis, we’re able to offer very affordable alternatives to new products, with the same functionality.

“For example, brand new iPhone 14s will set you back over AU$1,600 ($115/ €1036). You can buy a renewed iPhone 11 for only AU$549 ($383/ €356),” Yas said.

Swenson added: “We know consumers want to see a more sustainable retail industry and Circonomy’s model is the viable solution businesses need. By broadening our service offering both geographically and in the products we can repair, we’re providing a model for businesses to easily adopt and reduce their costs and their waste, and in the process make a positive difference for the planet.”

Having established partnerships with major national brands including Officeworks, Catch, Mirvac and David Jones, Circonomy is already implementing solutions for products and fixtures that may otherwise be sent to landfill.

Officeworks, which acquired a 21% stake in WBGS in 2022 and is a founding partner to Circonomy, believes this launch demonstrates the environmental, social and financial opportunities associated with a more circular economy.

“Prior to Circonomy, we have been in partnership with WBGS for more than three years to help us achieve our vision of contributing to a more circular economy and becoming a zero-waste business,” Sarah Hunter, Officeworks Managing Director, said.

“By demonstrating a feasible model to collect, repair, repurpose and resell damaged or customer-returned products we’re delivering on our commitment to replicate and scale this model across Australia, starting here in Melbourne.

“Circonomy is a long-awaited solution to the retail sector to divert waste from landfill, extend product life cycles, and ultimately build domestic repair and remanufacturing capabilities.”

After 12 months of planning, the launch of Circonomy means new jobs are being created as it scales up services and solutions across Australia.

Categories : World Focus

Tags : Australia Business Circonomy Officeworks Refurbishment Remanufacturing Reuse

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