Women can lead the future of waste

Stacey Davidson, Director at REDISA, shares a message on how the circular economy can lead to more women finding opportunities within the waste industry.

As we celebrate national women’s month this August, we need to reflect on the progress made in the advancement of women in our country. The waste industry has long been perceived as a rather dirty business with low ethical standards. But it appears things are shifting and, surprisingly, women are increasingly active in driving the change towards a more innovative, ethical and legislated industry.

How is running a business different from running a home? Just as a business has to budget, manage its cash flow, do administration and develop human capital, so do women who run families. Women have always been in business and they have always been resourceful. According to the ‘Status of Women in Economy’ report, women are the largest group of entrepreneurs. It is important that we continue to fast-track our efforts in bringing about change and true empowerment.

I believe that the opportunity created by circular economies and ‘urban mining’ provide an untapped financial resource for women with business aspirations. In a circular economy we keep resources in use for as long as possible; extract the maximum value from them whilst in use, then recover and regenerate products and materials at the end of each life span. This is in contrast to the traditional linear economy of make, use, dispose of.

We are fast running out of natural resources and the circular economy is no longer optional; it is inevitable. Its implementation will provide our economy with unprecedented opportunities, affording women the chance to realise their potential as pioneers of a new industry. The circular economy approach is not limited to just waste tyres but can be applied to other industries too. Through innovation and cooperation we can double our efforts and create more small businesses. The circular economy model encourages entrepreneurship and I would advise women to take advantage of promising growth opportunities available from waste.