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Zero Waste Australia: Navigating Strategies, Targets, and Global Benchmarks

Updated: Nov 3, 2023

In today's age of heightened environmental consciousness, the concept of "Zero Waste" has emerged as a guiding light toward more sustainable practices. At Perspektiv, our dedicated Consultant Chloe Burgan has been overseeing our company's Zero Waste review.

Zero Waste, as defined by the Zero Waste International Alliance (ZWIA), encompasses responsible production, consumption, reuse, and resource recovery, all while steering clear of detrimental discharges to land, water, or air that pose threats to both the environment and human well-being.

Our pursuit of the Zero Waste ideal is driven by a range of frameworks, targets, and certifications that direct our efforts toward a greener future. The One Planet Fremantle Framework, for instance, sets a goal of achieving a 70% recovery rate for business waste by 2030. This commitment reflects a shift from linear economies to circular economies, where waste is recognised as a valuable resource.

Going beyond business waste, the WA Waste Authority Report of 2018/19 and the National Waste Policy Action Plan 2019 set a broader target of achieving an 80% recovery rate from all waste streams by 2030. This comprehensive goal aligns with our vision of holistic sustainability and waste reduction.

Central to our journey is the Zero Waste Business Certification by ZWIA, a gold standard in the Zero Waste movement. This certification necessitates achieving a zero waste rate to landfill of 90% or higher. However, it doesn't stop there. Businesses committed to this certification pledge to increase this rate by at least 1% annually, striving for 100% diversion from landfill over 10 years.

While Australia may not have a direct affiliation with ZWIA, our waste recording is now aligning with NABERS Waste ratings, which we use as a benchmark for accurate data collection and as part of our Zero Waste Target of diverting 90% of waste from landfills and reducing it by 1% each year.

Although we have already achieved the impressive 90% diversion from landfill in our Perth office, we have faced some challenges this year, particularly with the closure of the red cycle facilities. Consequently, our focus has shifted towards waste reduction, particularly targeting single-use plastics, and expanding our range of waste streams, including textiles (uniforms), e-waste, batteries, stationary, and Containers for Change with donations benefiting local charities. It's an ongoing journey, and we remain committed to progress.

Containers for Change Recycling
Containers for Change

Since we began, we've made significant strides:

1. The amount of waste generated per person has reduced by 50% since FY 20/21.

2. Perspektiv is able to maintain a low rate of landfill. More than 40% of Perth waste goes to compost

Our strategy hinges on a collaborative approach, with each party making contributions that drive our success.

Our cleaners play an essential role:

Recording Waste Streams: Weekly documentation of waste stream weights forms the foundation for progress tracking.

Contamination Control: Meticulous monitoring identifies and addresses contamination for efficient recycling.

Responsible Disposal: Waste is disposed at designated recycling facilities to ensure proper recovery.

Our staff members contribute actively:

Waste Segregation: Staff are vital in segregating waste correctly, facilitating recycling and waste reduction.

Minimising Soft Plastic Use: Efforts to reduce soft plastic consumption curtail non-recyclable waste.

Combatting common contaminants is crucial:

Recyclable Streams: Coffee cup lids, cardboard/paper, and cans belong in recycling bins.

Landfill Streams: Items like blister packs, chewing gum, soft plastics.

Our Zero Waste journey isn't just about statistics—it's about adopting a sustainable mindset. And our Zero Waste review marks a milestone in our sustainability journey. Guided by international standards and fueled by the dedication of our cleaners, staff, and stakeholders, we stride toward a future where waste is minimised, resources are optimised, and our planet thrives.


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