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Debra

Debra MacKEEN

Year of Award: 2007 Award State: Tasmania Environment > Sustainability
To study sustainable management systems and markets for recovered waste materials - New Zealand, Sri Lanka, Ireland, Canada
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The places I travelled to on my Fellowship provided many examples of economical and environmentally efficient waste management systems. I saw many challenges overcome: a dispersed population base, limited processing infrastructure, dependence on volatile offshore recycling markets. I saw waste treated as a resource rather than a liability: valuable materials recovered from the waste stream were being remanufactured for emerging domestic and international markets.

My study set about understanding how government policies, development programs, industry innovations and research partnerships had helped change consumer behaviours, stimulate industry investment and create market demand for remanufactured products.

Shortly after my Fellowship, I joined the United Nations Office for Project Services in Sri Lanka, where I managed a waste and environmental management program. After completing my Master of Engineering (Environmental), and enjoying a number of months sailing around Tasmania and the eastern seaboard, I joined a similar project in Port au Prince, Haiti.

I have recently returned to Tasmania after living in Far North Queensland for four years, working with the Cairns Regional Council as Manager, Waste and Environment. I am enjoying being home again in Kettering and continuing to consult in waste management while formulating ideas for sustainable and entrepreneurial opportunities in resource recovery.

The Churchill Fellowship fuelled my passion to take up further challenges in the industry, allowing me to share knowledge and, I hope, inspire new thinking and new ways of treating waste. 

Excerpt from “Bringing Knowledge Home” published by the Churchill Fellows Association of Tasmania (2016) 

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