Mirvac make concerted circular economy effort with apartment made of waste

Mirvac have been championing sustainability efforts since 2013 when they committed to investing in a new sustainability strategy, This Changes Everything

Mirvac make concerted circular economy effort with apartment made of waste
Mirvac make concerted circular economy effort with apartment made of waste

Waste not want not is a phrase coined long before the term circular economy.

The circular economy was coined by the Chinese in the 1990s in response to natural resource limitations. The concept is aimed at eliminating waste and the continual use of resources.

It was 2019 when the issue was addressed in the National Waste Policy Action Plan in Australia. And last year the national developer Mirvac announced their plan, Planet Positive: Waste & Materials, which will see them aim to send zero waste to landfill by 2030.

Mirvac make concerted circular economy effort with apartment made of waste
The artwork and kitchen table top were created from glass and fabric

Mirvac have been championing sustainability efforts well before the plan however. In 2013 they committed to investing in a new sustainability strategy, This Changes Everything.

Last week they unveiled a two bedroom apartment in their Sydney Olympic Park development Pavilions which featured a number of items, from floor tiles to kitchen splash backs, made entirely of waste, an industry first.

In collaboration with the University of New South Wales Centre of Sustainable Materials Research and Technology (SMaRT), Mirvac have utilized the technology to turn waste materials into "green ceramics", which were used throughout the apartment. The technology is at their microfactory in Cootamundra.

Matt 'Green' Kean, the NSW Energy and Environment Minister, was a speaker at the event, but wasn't keen on following industry trailblazers, Mirvac chief exec Susan Lloyd Hurwitz and Professor Veena Sahajwalla, the global pioneer in waste technology and director at SMarT. 

Kean said the innovative Pavilions partnership could be the Blueprint for how we do sustainable development in the future.

Mirvac make concerted circular economy effort with apartment made of waste
The feature wall made out of coffee bags

Ms Lloyd Hurwitz said that the building industry in Australia is responsible for around 60 per cent of the waste generated.

“Every year, an estimated 11 billion tonnes of waste are sent to landfill globally. 92 billion tonnes of materials are extracted, with buildings responsible for around 50 per cent of global materials used,” Ms Lloyd Hurwitz said.

“Diverting the large volumes of waste generated on construction sites from landfill to create quality finishes and furniture is not only good for our environment but good for the economy.”

Professor Veena said she was delighted that Mirvac was so committed to sustainability and she was impressed the company was prepared to take risks to find new ways and purposes for materials that can end up in landfill.

Mirvac is a true industry leader and I commend Sue and her team for being part of the journey to help society create a materials revolution where we start to think of, and treat and reform, waste as a renewable resource,” Veena said.

Mirvac make concerted circular economy effort with apartment made of waste
One of the most impressive features is the pendant lighting above the kitchen island. One of the next steps is to create bench tops out of waste.

“The severy stylish and functional furnishing and products made in our UNSW SMaRT Centre green ceramics MICROfactorieTM show what can be done when science, technology and industry vision and commitment come together.”

Urban took a tour of the impressive apartment overlooking the surrounding sports stadiums. It's set to be a 12 minute commute to the CBD when the next metro station is complete.

Toby Long, Mirvac's General Manager of Residential, said they've already come a long way since Marrick & Co, Mirvac's development in the inner-west suburb of Marrickville.

That had some furniture and artworks made of green ceramics. It was the first project in NSW to be recognised by Bioregional Australia as a One Planet Living development, another collaboration with SMaRT Centre.

The Pavilions apartment sits in one of four buildings in the Pavilions complex which was finished last year. Two of the towers are build to rent, and share a lush communal courtyard located central to each building.

 

Joel Robinson

Joel Robinson

Joel Robinson is a property journalist based in Sydney. Joel has been writing about the residential real estate market for the last five years, specializing in market trends and the economics and finance behind buying and selling real estate.

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