The behaviour changing bins

A well-designed bin could change the way individuals interact with waste and recycling in the workplace, writes Dan Crawford, Method Australia Business Development Manager.

Why do aesthetics matter when it comes to a bin?

A seemingly unimportant factor of a formerly ‘basic’ office fixture became the foundation of the award-winning bins from Method Recycling.

The beautiful bins have helped leading organisations around the world to recycle more and waste less.

Method has quickly emerged as the preferred waste and recycling solution for modern offices, workspaces, venues and facilities around the world.

The bins have a proven record of diverting waste from landfill and are featured in leading spaces including Foster + Partners, the Sydney Cricket Ground, Canva, Atlassian, Qantas and many more.

Method began when co-founders Steven and India Korner continuously saw organisations that wanted to recycle, without the tools to be successful.

Bins and recycling systems had often been an afterthought – with ugly bins hidden in cupboards and kitchens, or desk bins – both of which don’t encourage or facilitate recycling.

The Korners believed that a well-designed bin could change the way individuals interact with waste and recycling in the workplace, and it has.

With the desire to make a visible difference, they set off on a three-year journey of research and development to understand the needs of all those involved in a buildings waste and recycling process.

They held focus groups, developed prototypes, and even helped cleaners on the night shift to gain a truly holistic view and ensure that the bins worked for everyone.

More than just a bin, the Korners created a system that is considered, well designed and purposeful.

Recycling is no longer an afterthought, but instead a featured part of workspace design.

Open Plan Recycling

Through the design process, Method pioneered Open Plan Recycling – a new philosophy of workspace recycling and waste.

Method’s bins are designed to be placed together to form flexible recycling stations, that are then located consistently throughout an open-plan space. These flexible stations mean that organisations can easily adapt the Method system to their needs; adding or moving waste streams as their needs change, or based on feedback from users.

Single bins or smaller stations can also be placed where recyclables are produced to maximise results; such as a paper bin next to the printer or an organics bin in the kitchen.

In its most simple form, this changes the way that individuals interact with waste and recycling in the workplace. By removing desk bins users are unable to simply throw their waste away without a thought. Instead, recycling bins are available alongside all general waste bins.

Further, having consistent recycling stations throughout a building standardises recycling. Consistency in location, streams and colour-coding means that through regular interaction recycling becomes an unconscious behaviour.

One of the fundamental principles that makes Method’s philosophy successful is visibility – so the appearance of the bins is crucial.

Method’s bins are designed to be out in the open as a visible statement of an organisations commitment to recycling and sustainability.

Further, the visibility also increases awareness and accountability, while instilling a collective culture of responsibility into an organisation – changing recycling behaviours at work and subsequently at home.

The New Method in Practice

Having worked with an array of organisations around the world, Method has continued to find that the bins can have a significant impact.

The durable bins are made from 50 per cent recycled materials and are fully recyclable at the end of their life, so you can feel confident you are making a sustainable choice.

Design giant Canva introduced Method bins as they were working towards some lofty sustainability goals.

They continued to grow rapidly with new offices around the world so needed a recycling system that was simple to implement and maintain, while complementing their beautifully designed offices.

Canva’s Global Office Architect Shamal Singh says Method’s bins allow the sometimes daunting task of having four waste and recycling options to be manageable and scalable across our ever-expanding offices.

The results of Methods bins speak for themselves. Westpac Bank in New Zealand reduced waste to landfill from 70 per cent to 40 per cent. Meanwhile, Palmerston North City Council reduced waste to landfill by 62 per cent in three months.

Can Method help you achieve your recycling and sustainability goals? Click here.

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Bin sensor network installed in Adelaide

A major remote bin sensor network is now live in metropolitan Adelaide, as part of the federal and local government-funded Connected Cities project.

Port Adelaide Enfield Mayor Claire Boan said the bin sensors would revolutionise waste collection.

“The sensors will allow the driver, with the use of a tablet, to only stop at bins that need emptying,” Ms Boan said.

“We are very excited by the potential of this technology to improve collection efficiency, reduce costs and reduce carbon emissions.”

Sturt Federal Member James Stevens said the $289,000 project was jointly funded by the Federal Government and six local government bodies, with support from the University of Adelaide.

“The Federal Government has contributed $144,900 to this initiative through our Smart Cities and Suburbs Program, which enables local governments to apply innovative, technology-based approaches to improve the liveability of cities and address urban challenges,” Mr Stevens said.

In addition to bins, sensors have been installed on barbecues, sports fields and roads.

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City of Swan ‘health checks’ residential bins

The City of Swan in Perth is conducting ‘health checks’ on residential kerbside bins to help the community improve recycling habits and reduce waste contamination.

The bin auditing program involves city staff visually checking the contents of general waste and recycling bins in randomly selected areas.

The checks are followed by constructive individual feedback on how each household can waste less and better recycle.

Feedback will be provided in the form of a tag on the bin handle, which states if there are any contaminated items in the recycling bin or items in the general waste bin that can be recycled.

City of Swan Mayor David Lucas said while most of people have good intentions when it comes to waste and recycling, many are unsure of what to place in different bins.

“If your recycling bin is contaminated with even a few unsuitable items, the remaining recyclable material in that bin will go to landfill,” Mr Lucas said.

Mr Lucas said through individual tailored feedback residents will learn how to properly separate their waste.

According to the Western Australian Local Government Association, similar programs in South Australia have reduced waste contamination by up to 60 per cent, and increased the amount of material sent to recycling facilities by 25 per cent.

Mr Lucas said 2000 households and businesses in the City of Swan are planned to take part in the program.

Whiteman Ward Councillor John McNamara said each property selected to take part will be audited four times over an eight week period.

“We’re focusing on providing useful feedback to residents to change behaviour, however if contaminated items continue to be placed in bins by the end of the program, residents will be required to remove the contamination before the bin is emptied,” Mr McNamara said.

“There have been some recent changes around what can be recycled which can be confusing, we’re using this program to empower our community to recycle better and waste less.”

The city will use information collected through the program to understand how well recycling is understood and to determine where more information is required.

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Veolia signs 25 year deal to operate WA WtE facility

Veolia has signed a $450 million 25-year operations and maintenance service agreement on a large-scale waste to energy facility in Kwinana, WA, capable of producing 36 megawatts of electricity – enough to power 50,000 homes.

The Clean Energy Finance Corporation (CEFC) will commit up to $90 million towards towards the $688 million and will be able to process 400,000 tonnes of household, commercial and industrial residual waste per year.

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Operations and maintenance of the facility will commence in 2021. Veolia operates 61 thermal waste to energy facilities around the world.

Macquarie Capital and Phoenix Energy Australia are co-developing the Kwinana plant, with co-investment by the Dutch Infrastructure Fund (DIF). Infrastructure company Acciona has been appointed to design and construct the facility. The project has been approved by the WA Environmental Protection Authority.

It is expected to produce cost-competitive base load power by processing household waste from local councils and contribute to grid stability in WA’s South West Interconnected System.

Technology that has been previously used in Europe will be implemented in the plant, which is expected to reduce carbon dioxide emissions by 400,000 tonnes per year – the equivalent of taking 85,000 cars off the road.

The plant will use the Keppel Seghers grate technology, which has seen use in more than 100 waste to energy plants across 18 countries. Metals recovered in the process are then able to be recycled, with the facility producing an ash byproduct that is commonly used as road base or for construction.

CEFC’s funding is part of a $400 million debt syndicate that includes SMBC, Investec, Siemens, IFM Investors and Metrics Credit Partners. The Australian Renewable Energy Agency (ARENA) is contributing a further $23 million in grant funding.

Veolia Australia and New Zealand Managing Director and CEO Danny Conlon said the project is an exciting development for Veolia in Australia.

“Adding to Veolia’s existing infrastructure in NSW and QLD, where we generate enough electricity to power 35,000 homes per year from waste, the Kwinana Project is another example where we will extract value from waste materials, delivering a clean energy source,” Mr Conlon said.

At a time when Australian businesses and households are seeing energy shortages and rising costs, Veolia is proud to be working with innovative partners to help deliver new, environmentally sustainable energy from waste”.

ARENA CEO Darren Miller said the project provides a renewable energy solution for reducing waste going to landfill.

“The use of combustion grate technology is well established in Europe and North America but has not yet been deployed in Australia,” Mr Miller said.

“More than 23 million tonnes of municipal solid waste is produced annually in Australia and this project could help to divert non-recyclable waste from landfill and recover energy in the process.”

CEFC CEO Ian Learmonth said the landmark project was the CEFC’s largest investment in WA to date.

“Creating energy from waste is an exciting and practical way to reduce the amount of waste going to landfill, while also delivering cleaner low carbon electricity,” Mr Learmonth said.

“The average red lid wheelie bin contains enough waste to produce up to 14 per cent of a household’s weekly power needs. This investment is about harnessing that energy potential, while safely diverting waste from landfill.

“We are pleased to be working alongside Phoenix Energy Australia, Macquarie Capital and DIF in bringing this state-of-the art technology to Australia. We congratulate the Western Australian government and the participating councils in embracing this 21st century approach to waste management,” he said.

Macquarie Capital Executive Director Chris Voyce said the Kwinana plant is expected to employ around 800 workers, including apprentices, during its three-year construction phase, and some 60 operations staff on an ongoing basis.

“Macquarie Capital is pleased to be contributing to the supply of sustainable and secure renewable power to Australia’s overall energy mix,” Mr Voyce said.

“As an adviser to, investor in and developer of renewable energy projects around the world, we see waste-to-energy as an effective example of adaptive reuse: reducing the pressures on landfill by diverting it toward the generation of clean energy,” he said.

Pictured: Henry Anning

CEFC Energy from Waste lead Henry Anning said the CEFC is pleased to play a role in demonstrating the business case for large-scale waste to energy investments in Australia in the future.

“Australians produce almost three tonnes of waste per person per year. While the priority is always a strong focus on recycling and organic waste management, there is still a considerable amount of household waste from red-lidded bins ending up as landfill, where it produces a large amount of emissions,” Mr Anning said.

“Energy from waste investments such as the Kwinana plant are about creating new clean energy opportunities for Australia, while offering councils and households a practical and innovative way to manage waste. Just as importantly, they can significantly cut methane emissions produced by landfill.”

With the addition of the Kwinana facility, the CEFC has now made six large scale investments to reduce waste-related emissions.

 

Cleanaway secures seven-year contract with City of Sydney

The City of Sydney has selected Cleanaway as its new waste and recycling provider with a seven-year contract beginning 1 July 2019.

Services for the council will include general waste, recycling, garden organics and bulk or hard waste and electronic waste kerbside collections.

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The contract also includes 25 new vehicles which have Cleanaway’s integrated data platform installed. The system uses on board cameras to track collections and service events like missed pick-ups, broken bins and can be used for single-call customer service response. Cameras can also provide insights that aim to reduce contamination, improve recycling and increase truck safety.

Cleanaway’s education team will also provide the City of Sydney with sustainability training which aims to reduce waste sent to landfill and improve recycling rates.

Cleanaway Regional Manager – Sydney Metro Michael Sankey said the company looks forward to bringing its expertise to Sydney.

“As part of the contract, Cleanaway will be setting up a new facility and implementing new operational teams and some educational resources,” he said.

“Over the next seven years we’ll be working closely with the council’s waste management team to add value for the community and help the City of Sydney achieve their sustainability goals.”

Veolia releases Rethinking Sustainability case study videos

Environmental services provider Veolia has released several case study videos to showcase examples of environmental and economic sustainability.

The videos aim to challenge perceptions around sustainability and feature some of the company’s significant projects and industry partnerships.

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The case studies include Veolia’s projects in metropolitan, regional, rural and remote communities across Australia and New Zealand.

Clients and projects shown in the videos include the University of the Sunshine Coast, NSW Health Illawarra-Shoalhaven Local Health District (ISLHD), Seqwater, Hunter Water and Auckland Council.

Veolia Executive General Manager – Refractories and Energy Grant Winn said the University of the Sunshine Coast and the NSW Health ISLHD projects demonstrated Veolia’s capability to consider a client’s long-term needs and deliver strategies that targeted operational efficiency and continuous improvement.

“Our role as a partner is to identify, implement and monitor a client’s energy performance to deliver tangible, long-term benefits, while also taking into consideration macro-environmental concerns that could impact their operations,” Mr Winn said.

Veolia Group General Manager, New Zealand Alex Lagny said Veolia’s partnership with Auckland Council is developing waste management in a region that had only recently transitioned from bags to bins.

“We are working closely with the council to drive improvements and a better understanding of practices through data and insights. It’s an exciting space for us, as Veolia looks to expand its waste management capability in the country.”

To watch the videos, click here.

EOI open for WALGA bin tagging program

Expressions of interests are open for WA councils to roll out the WA Local Government Association’s (WALGA) bin tagging program.

WALGA has received funding from the WA Waste Authority to assist five local governments implement the program, with each local government needing to provide in-house staffing to assist.

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Assistance with the bin tagging program includes designing and printing of bin tags, funding to assist staffing for audits and training to facilitate the implementation of the program.

The program aims to encourage households to separate materials into the correct bin by providing direct feedback on through the tags.

Each tag will provide feedback on the content of a resident’s bins and provide guidance for what can and can’t be placed in the bin.

Bin auditors will conduct an assessment of the contents of each bin at the kerb and collect data for each household. The tag is then placed to provide individualised feedback about the content of the bin.

The program aims to reduce the long term costs for local governments by reducing contamination and encouraging diverting waste from landfill.

Generic tags have been made available for two bin systems and three bin systems for local governments that provide green waste or food organics in garden organics (FOGO) bins.

WALGA has prepared guidelines to give local governments a step by step process to implement the tagging program in their area, which detail the planning, preparation, implementation and evaluation phases of the program.

The program was tested in a pilot phase in 2015 and rolled out in 2016 across the Cities of Cockburn and Joodnalup, the Shire of Capel and the Towns of Bassendean and Mosman.

For more information on how to apply, click here.

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