A growing family: Method Recycling

Method Recycling has introduced a new bin to its portfolio to support small and medium office spaces.

When one enters the University of Melbourne halls, Qantas domestic terminals or Westpac offices, the last thing one expects to notice first is a bin, waste “tragics” aside.

But Method Recycling has well and truly bucked the trend, with colourful, eye-catching bins designed to enable lasting behaviour change.

Lee Bright, Method Marketing Manager, says that Method has always focused on helping organisations to create a culture of shared responsibility.

“We’re not trying to find a quick fix, but create a lasting change,” Lee says.

As a premium, design-led flexible working space in London, The Office Group provides a number of smaller shared spaces such as offices, working lounges, meeting rooms and kitchenettes. Last year, the business looked to Method to obtain a suitable bin system, but it was clear there was a gap in its existing product line.

Lee says that the message was loud and clear and the in-house design team got to work on designing a 20-litre bin just as elegant and effective as its esteemed 60-litre unit. Soon after, the Method Twenty was born, embracing Method Recycling’s core values of visibility, standardisation and consistency.

“The draw of the Method bin has always been behavioural change, and the more interaction people have with the bins consistently, the more this creates an unconscious habit,” Lee says.

Moreover, Method bins offer bin liners hidden from sight, with lid options to suit every space.

The staple Method 60 is ideal for open plan communal areas like office floors, breakout spaces and large kitchens.

Lee says that conversely, the Method Twenty is particularly suited to small office spaces such as meeting rooms, studio offices or kitchenettes where waste sorting is needed, but at a lower volume.

“Method bins are designed to last for years and not break down, in addition to being recyclable at the end of their life.”

Lee says Method Twenty embraces the use of more than 80 per cent recycled polypropylene, an increase on previous models which use 50 per cent. Last year, she says Method used more than 26 tonnes of recycled plastic across its product range.

“Believing in the circular economy, we couldn’t justify creating a product out of recycled materials just because it would look good. We needed to make sure the bins were recyclable at the end of it,” she says.

Lee says for this reason polypropylene is the only plastic ingredient instead of a mix.

“We trialled plastics and mixed bale recycling and we really found that keeping the plastic pure is the best way to ensure that it’s having a positive impact now and into the future.

“We’re working on finding a clear recycled polypropylene which would bring us to 100 per cent, but that’s still a bit down the road.”

Method Twenty features Method’s Patented Bag Retainer System, colour-coded lid with clear graphics and Method’s signature style. Each of these features need to be optimised for the size and use of the bins.

With the reduced capacity taken into account, the proportions of the bins have been adapted to accommodate various kinds of waste. Additionally, the chute design has been reconsidered with an enhanced handle on the back to make emptying a whole lot easier.

Lee says that depending on the customer’s requirements, Method can provide custom labels and signage.

“Recycling isn’t going to be a quick fix, it takes a system and a little bit of planning, but when you strike the right mix, you can really have quite a significant impact,” she says.

Related stories: 

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.

Related stories:

Sustainability systems: Method Recycling

Sebastian Waddell of Method Recycling explains how education and centralised waste stations can help reduce businesses’ costs.

Multinational corporations announcing large-scale sustainability commitments has been a common theme of 2019.

 As a result, organisations are under increasing pressure to take ownership of their waste. Beyond social pressure, businesses also have to deal with legislative changes, namely the introduction and/or rise of landfill levies.

According to Sebastian Waddell, Method Recycling National Business Development Manager, companies are now further examining how they can reduce and separate waste and recycle more effectively.

 Method operates under the philosophy of open plan recycling, where centralised recycling stations replace traditional under desk bins and one source recycling.

According to Sebastian, behavioural change is key to the Method process.

“When bins are hidden away, people often throw their waste away mindlessly, but with our system they are confronted with a choice that forces them to think, what am I holding and where does it go?” he says.

Sebastian says the first stage of switching to Method is preliminary consultation and strategy development.

First, Method contacts the client’s waste contractor to ensure it has the capacity to collect the required source separated streams. If the contractor doesn’t, Sebastian says Method will encourage the client to outsource to an additional contractor.

“Clients often think outsourcing will be an expensive process. However, if their current waste contractor is only collecting two streams, landfill and recycling, they are essentially sending 30 to 50 per cent of their waste to landfill.

“There are significant levy fees attached to landfill disposal, so getting the client to source separate as much as they can by contacting additional parties will drastically reduce waste management overheads.”

Education is the central component of this process, Sebastian says. He says that Method continuously keep its clients up to date on waste levy increases and contamination charges.

After collection is addressed, Method works closely with the client on education programs and system rollouts. “We ask, what has worked for your company in the past? What hasn’t? And what goals do you want to achieve?” We then develop support systems and collateral that underscore the do’s and dont’s of each bin, based on the waste types at that specific organisation.”

Sebastian explains that while most people are open to source separating, individuals who haven’t been exposed to the process before can be hesitant.

“In that case, it’s about working with those objections and helping people understand the benefits of separating their waste,” he says.

“The biggest problem is always the removal of under-desk bins.”

To address under-desk pushback, Method developed the precycler product, which sits on individual desks and allows people to source separate on a micro level.

When an individual then needs to leave their desk, they can take the precycler with them for disposal at a central bin station, Sebastian says

“One of our larger clients has 20 separate offices, and with that level of staff there was bound to be resistance, but after we introduced the precycler opposition dissolved immediately,” he says.

“People are becoming more conscious of their waste and it’s clear that interest is growing. Sustainability is a slow-moving wheel, but we’re getting there.

For more information contact Sebastian Waddell at sebastian@methodrecycling.com

Related stories:

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.

Related stories: