To mark Plastic Free July, we go a little deeper and look at waste and recycling in New South Wales, Australia and beyond. I speak with Justin Bonsey who works in the waste industry. Justin is the Strategic Lead of Resource Recovery at the Southern Regional Organisation of Councils (SSROC), overseeing regional projects on infrastructure planning, waste data, regulatory reform and circular economy markets and has a long history working in various waste and recovery sectors.
Justin isn’t one to stand still and is passionate about finding waste solutions, having co-founded Responsible Runners and Responsible Cafes.
In this interview, Justin speaks about how:
- helping a friend in Northern Thailand sparked his interest in how to live more sustainably
- his experience of seeing a lot of waste while running on Bondi Beach gave him the idea for Responsible Runners, encouraging runners and walkers to pick up any litter they see on Sydney’s beaches
- he campaigned with Boomerang Alliance to introduce the container refund scheme in NSW
- the impact of banning exported plastic waste and tyre waste to South East Asia meant local authorities had to find another, more sustainable solution
- in NSW glass is being recycled and used for building roads
- consumers not knowing what is and isn’t recyclable can contaminate a whole truckload of waste
- the Responsible Cafes movement grew from 800—5000 cafes in a couple of months after the ABC’s War on Waste aired.
I really enjoyed the discussion with Justin and was grateful that he gave some of his time and shared his considerable expertise on a Sunday, proving how committed he is to reducing our waste consumption.
Bio of Justin Bonsey
Justin Bonsey is Strategic Lead, Resource Recovery at the Southern Sydney Regional Organisation of Councils (SSROC), overseeing regional projects on infrastructure planning, waste data, regulatory reform, and circular economy markets. Formerly a Boomerang Alliance campaigner for container deposits and bans on single-use plastics, he co-founded sustainability initiatives Responsible Cafes and Responsible Runners to address litter and marine debris, and help businesses improve their sustainability practices.