Data61, the data and digital specialist arm of Australia’s national science agency CSIRO, has spun off the Advisory System for Processing, Innovation and Resource Exchange (Aspire) and is scaling its operations nationally to better manage the 67 million tonnes of waste generated in Australia each year.
Aspire, which was developed in 2015, is an online marketplace that intelligently matches businesses with potential remanufacturers, purchasers or recyclers to find new purposes for waste materials, working towards a circular economy for Australia. It combines CSIRO’s domain expertise in manufacturing with the deep technology capabilities of Data61.
Dr Melanie Ayre, a research scientist at Data61, says that since launching, Aspire has diverted hundreds of different waste streams from landfill, including batteries, e-waste, metals, organics, polystyrene, ferric chloride and timber pallets.
“Almost 80 per cent of Australia’s waste is generated through commercial, industrial, construction or demolition activities,” she says. “We developed ASPIRE in response to rising costs of waste management, and to redirect waste to more productive uses.”
Cameron McKenzie, Aspire’s newly appointed CEO, says the online marketplace has seen an impressive uptake among the state government, businesses and local councils in Victoria, but that a national network is pivotal in tackling the country’s widespread waste crisis.
“Around 300 businesses are using Aspire, which has collectively saved $207,000 in waste disposal and material costs,” he says. “This has also resulted in the reduction CO2 emissions and water through reuse and diversion from landfill.
“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 5 per cent improvement in efficient use of materials across the Australian economy could benefit the GDP by as much as $24 billion.
Aspire was recently named as one of five start-ups awarded a place in the Swinburne Innovation Precinct’s Accelerator Program, an intensive program supporting start-ups to gain early traction in their markets. It was also named a semi- finalist in the 2019 Australian Technologies Competition and has received support from CSIRO’s ON Accelerator program.
For more information, visit aspiresme.com.