What should organisations be doing in the wake of the Australian National Waste Policy Action Plan?

The 2018 waste report found that nationally, 8.5 million tonnes of business waste goes to landfill every year; so organisations have the opportunity to have an incredible impact in the wake of the National Waste Policy Action Plan. How can organisations can make a difference towards the key targets now? Dan Crawford of Method Recycling explains.

Target 1, 2, & 3:  be more effective recyclers

Targets 1 through 3 really boil down to avoiding what we can and then being more effective recyclers, which should be a priority for any workplace. Though often, recycling and waste systems are an afterthought and bins are hidden under desks or in cupboards.

Whereas, recycling in the workplace takes a system approach, removing lone general waste bins and instead implementing communal recycling stations consistently throughout a space. The bins should be well designed and stand out within your space, featuring clear colour-coding and graphics. Through regular interaction with consistent bins throughout the workplace, recycling will become an unconscious habit. Further, ensure that education is in place to help users to use the bins effectively, from regular emails to signage, also reducing contamination.

Target 4: significantly increase the use of recycled content

We all have a role to play in increasing the demand for recycled materials through our purchasing and manufacturing. Consider implementing procurement policies that prioritise the inclusion of recycled materials; and more importantly, ask the company you’re purchasing from what happens to the product at the end of its life.

Have they designed the product to last? Is it recyclable again? Is there a take-back scheme? This ensures you’re purchasing with an end-of-life focus and driving the circular economy.

Target 5: phase out problematic and unnecessary plastics

Will we save the world by getting rid of plastic straws? No, but it goes a long way in terms of environmental impact and a changing mindset for the wider public. Single-use items such as straws, plastic bags, pens, bottled water, coffee cups etc are problematic because they’re emblematic of our take, make and waste culture, as well as being low value. However, when we start to become more aware of the single-use products we use, real change starts to happen.

In the workplace, we can invest in refillable pens and markers, provide staff with reusable coffee cups and water bottles. You can even talk to local food and drink vendors to provide a discount when a reusable cup or container is used.

Target 6: halve the amount of organic waste sent to landfill for disposal by 2030

On average, one-third of a workplace’s waste is organics that could have been composted. For one client with 125 staff, this added up to over 1.6 tonnes of food waste going to landfill in just one year. Why is this important? Non-recycled food waste contributes to 8 per cent of greenhouse gases and creates methane in the atmosphere, which is 25 times more potent than CO2.

This is by far the simplest action to implement, with a substantial impact for a workplace’s environmental impact. Particularly if you have a communal recycling and waste solution as mentioned previously, make sure organics bins feature prominently. 

Target 7: make data publicly available to support better decisions

Most of us recycle at home, but efforts often lag in the workplace due to the disconnect between the user and where the waste ends up, but data has the power to bridge this gap.

By having an ongoing measurement and reporting system in place, you can help your team to see and feel the impact of their collective decisions. More so, it helps to create a culture of collective responsibility where recycling and waste are talked about regularly, increasing awareness and individuals consideration of their actions. Better yet, make this information available publicly so that your customers can see the effort you’re making without green-washing.

Method have designed a recycling system that is helping organisations to recycle more and waste less. Such as Samson Corporation, a commercial property management company that reduced waste to landfill by 50 per cent on average at three of their key sites in just three months.

Method has proven the power of design to impact recycling results with their award-winning product family, while utilising over 44 tonnes of recycled materials in manufacturing in 2019.

Ready to implement an effective Recycling System? Talk to Method’s knowledgable team who will help to create a system that meets your specific needs – methodrecycling.com.

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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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