Rose Read, award winner has many challenges in her sights

A background with MobileMuster and mentoring by Clean Up Australia co-founder Ian Kiernan are just part of the varied background that helped Rose Read of National Waste and Recycling Industry Council win an industry award recently.

According to Rose Read, chief executive officer of the National Waste and Recycling Industry Council (NWRIC) who recently won a major gong at the 2020 Women in Industry Award there’s no resting on her laurels right now. The challenges for her industry are huge and at times threatening for certain groups.

Among the most important priorities she says, is is reaching agreement between businesses and governments.

“Some of the things I have advocated for threaten the norms for some organisations and have financial implications for certain business models, so you do come across resistance in certain areas,” Read says.

“So, the challenge is how do we engage with people better in order to find an agreed way forward.”

While community engagement and education is very important, she says regulation and financial drivers, including procurement, are far more effective in driving change in a positive way.

“Education and engagement with community is always important, but when it comes down to it, it’s the companies and the businesses that can really effect the change, and government really needs to set a framework to encourage them to go down that pathway.”

The focus now is to keep the federal and state governments focused on delivering the National Waste Policy Action Plan,

For Read, the focus now is to keep the federal and state governments focused on delivering the National Waste Policy Action Plan, including the waste export ban, the outcomes from the product stewardship review and the food waste strategy.

“We should also be making sure that we have more markets for the reuse of materials, as well as getting more people to purchase products that are made from recovered or renewable materials, instead of virgin materials,” Read says.

“This is where we have to shift to achieve a circular economny and address the issues of resource security, pollution and climate change. There are huge business opportunities, as well as employment and development of new skills and technology.”

Read says her recent honour, the Industry Advocacy Award, is one she is very proud to receive.

“What’s amazing is that the Women in Industry Awards recognises the contributions of women in a variety of industry sectors, which generally haven’t been recognised as having women in these important roles,” she says.

“In fact, there’s a lot of women in these sectors doing all sorts of amazing work, so it’s always nice to be acknowledged for the contributions that we have made. I am just one of many, many women that are making a difference.”

With over 20 years-experience in the sector, Read really got things going in her career back in 2000, working as a general manager for Clean Up Australia and being mentored by co-founder Ian Kiernan.

In this role, Read learned a lot about advocacy and how to best work with both businesses and governments in order to deliver collaborative, practical solutions and better outcomes for the economy, the environment and the community.

She then moved to the product stewardship space, working with both the telecommunications recycling program, MobileMuster – being heavily involved with its accreditation as a voluntary scheme – as well as MRI’s National Television and Computer Recycling Scheme (NTCRS).

While at MobileMuster, Read helped to set benchmarks for product stewardship best practice, including transparency and reporting, while also providing a base model for what a scheme should cover and how it should operate.

“Taking that organisation through becoming an accredited product stewardship scheme had been a really good step forward. Being able to take the industry through that has been a great achievement for sure,” Read said.

Her role at NWRIC, involves advocating for national waste management companies, along with state-based affiliates, and more than 450 small waste management businesses in the country.

The organisation was designed to develop best practice and high standards within Australia’s waste management and recycling industry, as well as to maximise industry representation and the capacity to build consensus within the sector.

“We recently put together a white paper on the landfill levies, which is a very complex area that needed greater depth of discussion and understanding.

“There are a lot of funds that are being raised and a greater reinvestment of those funds back in the sector is required,” Read said.

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  1. More funds from levy back into industry is the only way to create sustainable markets for our recycled materials.