Method Recycling’s India Korner explains how instilling accountability and a culture of responsibility is crucial to driving recycling outcomes.
India Korner’s background in office leasing compelled her to discover a better way of recycling.
Having acquired a wheelie bin and bin liner business with her partner more than five years ago, India envisioned that offices could transform their recycling infrastructure into aesthetically pleasing and practical behaviour change tools.
The launch of Method Recycling in 2015 introduced a range of 60-litre colour-coded bins in New Zealand. The bins are designed for open plan workplaces and can be mixed and matched to suit an organisation’s requirements. The company later expanded to Australia and most recently, the United Kingdom.
India says the company’s products took into consideration the needs of cleaners, employees, architects and business leaders, designing bins that could reduce contamination and align with existing infrastructure. Following years of researching, prototyping and testing, Method discovered that visibility was crucial to better landfill diversion rates and led to greater accountability.
“We conducted extensive research, including midnight cleaning shifts. One of the problems we discovered is that bins often have liners hanging out and appeared quite ugly,” India says.
“To solve this problem, we came up with a patented bag retainer system making the bins quick to service while maintaining the sleek lines and aesthetics of the bin.”
The bins can also be joined with a connector to form recycling stations.
She says the move towards green buildings and an increased emphasis on sustainability inspired a design geared towards behavioural change.
“We saw environments where a person at their desk would have their own landfill bin and communal recycling bins might be too far away in a hard to access area.”
She says the company developed a product in response to research that found recycling stations of three to five bins were best to service about 30-50 staff. This equates to one recycling station per every 400 to 500 square metres of space.
“Sometimes recycling is as simple as having a product that looks good and isn’t hidden. Having bins out in the open, within a 10-second return or less walk from your desk, makes employees see them and think about them,” India says.
“When people see the bins they start a conversation and drive a culture of responsibility.”
Method Recycling’s 60-litre bins comprise multiple colours and streams available in open or closed (touch) lids. The company encourages businesses to check with their waste provider which streams align with their collection.
India says the business’ growth led it to expand its offering beyond office environments, servicing Australian universities, councils, major cricket grounds and many global brands.
Westpac’s Christchurch headquarters is an example of an organisation that partnered with Method to reduce its waste to landfill from 70 to 30 per cent. At the same time, they launched a new initiative where any catering or hospitality firm they work with would need to be able to place all its materials into the organics bin, including platters, bamboo skewers, cutlery and disposable cups.
India says Method Recycling has seen great traction in Australia and is continuing to innovate to further expand its local and international offering.