Closing the Loop on Waste

Gold Coast City Marina & Shipyard takes next steps in Closing the Loop on Waste and establishing a circular economy

The award-winning Gold Coast City Marina & Shipyard (GCCM) is yet again setting standards in the Australian marine industry.  After partnering with the Centre for a Waste Free World at the Queensland University of Technology (QUT), the “Closing the Loop” project was established in July of this year and will ultimately lead to the establishment of a circular economy within the Gold Coast based shipyard.

We are one of the largest solar power marine facilities in the world

“GCCM have always led the way in sustainable shipyard initiatives like solar and water harvesting. We also partnered with the Seabin Project meaning we have one of the first Seabins in our marina,” explains Luke McCaul, GM Customer Experience & Property Management. “We are very proud of our current accreditations through the Marina Industries Associations.”

These accreditations include Level 3 Clean Marina, Fish Friendly Marina, and the globally recognised 5 Gold Anchor accreditation in which, environmental practices account for almost 15% of the total score.

There will always be more to do when it comes to environmental conservation and being in such proximity to our waterways, GCCM understands the importance of reducing their waste and, as a result, their environmental impact.

The first three months of the project were spent deliberating, researching, and appraising waste streams onsite. The first workshop was held in August and saw key stakeholders within the shipyard, environmental industry leaders, representatives from local and state government and QUT researchers all gather to discuss the issues they may have with their current waste streams in hopes of finding a solution.

“It takes like minds and it’s really great to see the participation of all the local businesses here that are starting to truly understand that what they refer to as waste is valuable and the resources are probably just in the wrong location right now,” said Rod Packer, Manager Strategy & Innovation in Water and Waste for City of Gold Coast. “Education is going to be key to getting the fundamental and structural change in the thinking in this organisation with regards to what can happen.”

With the data and information gathered at the workshop, QUT then established a report based on the materials discussed and developed several different options to address each challenge.

Challenges, with over 90 on-site businesses, GCCM is sure to face.

Currently, GCCM is stepping into the second, and arguably the most important, phase of the project focusing on implementation and promotion. With the support of the City of Gold Coast, GCCM established a presence on the ASPIRE platform where they have begun to trade and sell materials. The platform allows users to connect with others who may have ‘waste’ which may be useful to someone in one form or another. Meaning, materials that may have normally cost to remove from site, now potentially have economic and environmental rewards. Taking ‘one person’s trash is another person’s treasure’ to a practical, useful alternative to sending some materials to landfill.

The project was most recently put to the test. An end-of-life vessel came to GCCM to be deconstructed and disposed of. Typically meaning much of the 15-tonne vessel would end in general waste. Based on the projects findings, proper steps were put into place during the works. Onsite business, Sweep Marine Services deconstructed the vessel and diverted roughly 50-per-cent of the materials from general waste into timber recycling, scrap metal & e-waste receptacles. With the help of Aspire we have been able to quantify this farther into an embodied carbon emission savings of 66.2 tonnes. This savings is equal to 81.1 acres of forests saved according to the Environmental Protections Agency (EPA).

The case study is just a small example of how GCCM plans to roll out the project throughout the yard within the next few months. Another workshop will be held at the end of November bringing back those same key shipyard stakeholders. The aim of this workshop focussing on the education and implementation process of these activities designed to drive a cultural shift in the industry. A shift that has been taking place for a time now.

“A lot of new owners are asking about recycled material, how do we make the boat greener, how do we stop pollution coming out of the vessel,” explained Kevin Altera, GM Operations & Business Development at GCCM.

These conversations have already been taking place at GCCM and their current environmental practises are resulting in several high-profile vessels choosing their shipyard over others on the East Coast of Australia.

“It’s very important we keep that conversation rolling and we’re being proactive,” assures Altera.

GCCM have been in operation for 21 years and plan to be here in years to come so a long-term sustainable approach to the environment is at the very core of their offer and is rightly becoming an important requirement for their customers. Being able to provide for these forward-thinking vessel owners, businesses and the environment means this award-winning yard will continue to come out on top for many years to come.

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