The road to reducing waste in the workplace
As part of our sustainability policy, one of our goals is to become a Zero Waste organisation that supports the circular economy. To help us achieve this goal we have put together a set of principles for our workplace that focuses on waste prevention and encourages the reuse of products. We aim to divert as much of our waste from being sent to landfills, incinerators or the ocean and organise it to be recycled, reused or given a new life.
Understanding how to become landfill-free is the first step, and it is important to acknowledge that restructuring your existing office waste strategy and deciding on a set of principles does take time.
We have begun setting out our Pathway to Zero Waste in our Perth office and we plan to implement the same practice across our offices in Sydney and Hobart. As with all our sustainability commitments we aim to share our journey with openness and honesty.
Here are five steps that have helped us determine our Zero Waste Strategy so far.
Segmenting your waste categories is a good place to start and means that you can sort, and track waste generated for each category. We have split ours into;
Paper & cardboard
Hard mixed plastics & glass
Red Cycle (Soft Plastics)
Compost - Food / organic waste
Containers for change
In our Perth office we have also employed a cleaner who runs her own eco-friendly cleaning business. She will be taking all of our recycling to the Fremantle recycling centre and our food waste to the Hilton Community Composting Bank.
Once you have divided your waste into categories it is important to perform a waste audit and monitor where your waste is coming from. This will give you a detailed understanding of problems, identify potential opportunities, and provide an in-depth analysis of your waste composition. You can then use your findings to set your goals and better plan your strategy. Our cleaner will be measuring and recording our waste each week before taking it away.
3. Involve others
Ask your team for their inputs and ideas
Involve them in the process
Create and communicate clear guidelines that are simple to follow and ones that won’t interrupt their working day
Share best practices
4. Be Mindful
Once you have a good understanding of where your waste is coming from you can establish some new principles around the products you purchase and your suppliers;
Reduce the need to recycle in the first place by ditching single-use products and reduce the use of paper through digital innovations.
Choose suppliers whose products and packaging share similar values and practice using reusable or low-waste options.
Provide reusable alternatives for common items (particularly for plastics) and office supplies.
Ensure the use of environmentally friendly cleaning products that will also protect the health of your cleaning staff and employees; our cleaner uses products that align with her values of sustainability that are plant-based, ethically sourced from a local producer, and free from synthetic / toxic materials.
5. Check & Update
It is importance to schedule in checks to review your performance, this will allow you to assess the strengths and weaknesses in your strategy and make updates to it where necessary.
It takes time to find measures that can be successfully adapted into the workflow of an office, but once you find the right rhythm your future plans could also include;
Install energy-efficient policies
Prioritise sustainable design principles & materials
Cut down on unnecessary business travel
Encourage Active Commuting
Lifecycle Assessments are key to unlocking the circular economy, our experts can help you understand not just your carbon impacts, but the full environmental and social impacts of your business.