Zero Waste SA Research Centre for Sustainable Design and Behaviour (sd+b)

Waste is created when we no longer value something we create, possess or use. Barriers to prematurely discarding goods and resources have steadily fallen in recent years. Easy credit, low prices, instant online access, and a 24 hour promotional media all reinforce an accelerating and expanding consumerism. It is clear that we need new systems-based approaches to reduce this excess consumption, including the excesses of our ‘waste-making’, to generate a more sustainable circular economy.

The Zero Waste SA Research Centre for Sustainable Design and Behaviour is a collaborative research centre based within the School of Art, Architecture and Design. It is a joint initiative of Zero Waste SA and the University of South Australia, the state’s premier institution for cross-disciplinary and applied research. Our innovative, collaborative research is focussed in two main areas:

  1. Engaging communities to generate behaviour change, reduce waste and resource and energy use, using social science and behavioural methods to lay the foundations for more sustainable consumption, and
  2. Material and scientific interventions, including the use of technical assessments and evaluative tools, to reduce material flows and waste, and create more sustainable cities, precincts and buildings.

Green Wall at the Universidad del Claustro de Sor Juana, Mexico City, photo, courtesy Leigh Thelmadatter (CC)

Green Wall at the Universidad del Claustro de Sor Juana, Mexico City, photo, courtesy Leigh Thelmadatter (CC)

Our Research

We nurture a culture of innovation in which our researchers, including many PhD students, thrive. We have close working links to the CRC for Low Carbon Living which we are currently participating in, and the China Australia Centre for Sustainable Urban Development (CAC-SUD), a joint initiative with Tianjin University in China. We are also an active member of DESIS, an international association of leading design schools and researchers involved in social innovation and sustainable design. We welcome contact from interested researchers, from other institutions and from students interested in further study, either in our Masters of Sustainable Design or to study in our PhD program.

Unmaking Waste 2015 Conference

News and Events

Living labs to stimulate low carbon living


Imagine an area in Adelaide for people to live, work and play, which has been designed specifically to leave the smallest carbon footprint on the environment.

Read Full Story

We were very pleased that our international conference, Unmaking Waste, was a great success, attracting 80 contributions, including 4 keynotes, two workshops and a China-Roundtable on the Circular Economy. We are very happy to inform you that we have just published the Conference Proceedings, which can be downloaded from

Find out more from Our PhD students

  • Discover our research

    Research with us

    Learn more about our research into sustainability. Discover opportunities for undertaking your PhD or other collaborative research here at the sd+b Centre.

    Explore research
  • Master of Sustainable Design

    Master of Sustainable Design

    The Sustainable Design Masters program is intended for any graduate of a design or art related field of expertise

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  • Get in touch with the Centre


    We encourage you to get in contact with us here at the sd+b Centre to discuss your research or sustainability ideas.

    Contact us

Learn more about the Zero Waste SA Research Centre

  • News and events

    News and events

    Unmaking Waste: Transforming Production and Consumption in Time and Place.

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  • Publications


    Access our research output.

    Browse publications

  • Scholarship opportunities

    Scholarship opportunities

    Sustain your studies with $10,000 to help make your design and sustainability dreams a reality.

    Scholarship information

  • Keep up to date

    Keep up to date

    Link up with our sustainability community and stay informed about Centre events and achievements.

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Areas of study and research

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