Geelong Circular Living Challenge Wrap Up

Jonathan WrightNews

Over an eight week period from 10 April to 5 June 2022, Geelong Sustainability (GS) in partnership with Circular Economy Victoria (CEV), delivered the region’s first Circular Living Challenge. The Challenge aimed to introduce the community to the circular economy via a fun, engaging and informative online Challenge.

To do this, the Geelong Circular Living Challenge (GCLC) partnered with 55 local circular businesses and community organisations to deliver the Challenge, and to demonstrate to participants what the circular economy could look like in a practical way, in their lives. Circular concepts and principles were brought to life by partner’s involvement in the weekly themes, delivery of weekly events, and by offering discounts and prizes to Challenge participants.

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The GCLC officially launched on 23 March during Geelong Design Week, with attendees meeting some of the local businesses who’d be involved with the Challenge, and gaining a sneak peek into what the Challenge would entail.

Two weeks later, the Challenge kicked off, with the 275 people registered participants starting their practical journey into the circular economy. Throughout the Challenge, participants completed weekly challenges, learning about the circular economy, trying sustainable behaviours, attending events, learning new skills and engaging with local businesses, while competing to win a share of prizes. Participants gained access to exclusive local discounts, and earned points for every challenge they completed; vying to win a share of prizes from Challenge partners.

Weekly prizes were awarded to those participants who completed the weekly challenges the fastest, with a few surprise weekend challenges thrown in to give everyone involved a chance to win.
The Challenge also sought to engage the community more broadly through bi-weekly social media posts and the delivery of a range of events and seminars that focused on circularity. These included a series of business seminars, practical workshops and the popular tours of CoGG’s Drysdale Landfill site and Organics processing facilities, where participants got a glimpse of the scale of the waste problem in the region. The inaugural Circular Living Show and EV Show n Shine was held at the midpoint in the Challenge, and provided an opportunity for the whole community to meet local circular businesses, test drive EVs and to experience the circular economy.

On 8 June, the GCLC culminated with a celebration event and screening of Regenerating Australia, hosted by Geelong Sustainability in partnership with Bellarine Landcare.

Attendees were joined by local MP Libby Coker in learning about local regenerative initiatives Farm My School, GS’s Community Energy Revolving Fund, the work of Bellarine Landcare and Labor’s plan to make this a decade of positive action on climate change.

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The final winners of the GCLC were also announced, with prizes going to Donna Malberg; the overall winner of the Challenge, and the members of the winning team, ACGG; Rosemary Nugent, Margery Smith, Derek Ryan, Richard Hamilton and Wendy East.
The GCLC has been a success, with participant feedback indicating they learnt about the circular economy, tried new behaviours, engaged with businesses, made new connections and developed new sustainable habits. This was echoed by partners, with 50% of survey respondents commenting that they gained new customers, and had highlighted circular products and services to customers. The flow-on effect of the GCLC is also considerable, and will continue to be felt well after completion.
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The GCLC successfully was supported by the Circular Economy Communities Fund, delivered by Sustainability Victoria on behalf of the Victorian Government.