Adele Rose loves a gnarly problem.
The 3R CEO and the company she leads love nothing better than putting their collective brainpower to solving the issue of what to do with difficult-to-manage waste streams, how to keep end of life products out of landfills, while reimagining new uses for them.
The Hastings business is playing an increasingly important role helping to drive New Zealand’s circular economy by developing product stewardship schemes, the most notable to date being Tyrewise, the scheme for end of life tyres.
Rose says Tyrewise – live from March ‘24 – means that all tyres in New Zealand have a place to go to be processed and made into another material.
3R plays a unique role, says Rose. “We sit between industry and Government. Government as the regulator, and industry as the producer, and that’s a privileged position to be in. For industry we’re trying to be upfront about what their future obligations are going to be, while trying to encourage them to go further. And with the regulator we’re saying ‘how can we work around this problem that we’ve got so you’re satisfied as well?’”
Circular economy principles, which involve reusing and recycling existing materials and products as long as possible, are being adopted all over the world, and imbedded in regulation, says Rose.
“We see the impact here in New Zealand as a receiver of goods. It’s sort of the realisation of a goal that 3R had when the business first started was to move from being the ambulance at the bottom of the cliff (dealing with difficult waste streams) to playing in a space where circular principles are embedded from the product design phase onwards.”
The company has a multi-skilled team, including product innovators, data and systems specialists, marketers and sales professionals, business development, project managers and logistics specialists.
“We always take that team in with us to help design product stewardship schemes. And we bring that deep experience every time we meet a new industry group.”
Rose reckons it’s 3R’s secret sauce. “Our people. They’re special. That’s always the feedback to me from our customers. It’s the way our people work that keeps our customers engaged in the process, and our tenacity to keep pushing through, when things get hard.”
With the hard yards nearly done on Tyrewise, Rose and her team are turning their thoughts to solving other difficult problems such as static batteries, paint, and car bumpers.