6 ways to better waste & recycling practices for business

Are waste disposal costs rising in your business? Are you hitting your environmental goals? And are your staff on board the recycling journey? Three waste and resource experts share their insights.

On August 27 at the Brisbane Marriott, CitySmart hosted a breakfast to discuss implications and opportunities around Queensland’s new waste strategy.

Our guest speakers and panelists were Neil Perry (Cleanaway), Glenda Viner (Container Exchange), and Keiran King (Rocky Point).

We’ve collected some of the best ideas from the day about responding to the new waste levy and improving waste operations in your organisation.

Make your business a conscious customer

“We need to have more domestic purchase of recycled products, particularly through businesses’ onshore procurement streams,” says Neil Perry.

As Asian markets stop importing Australian recycling waste, organisations can stimulate demand by procuring locally recycled products as inputs – such as aggregates, glass, hard plastics, paper and cardboard – and by buying products that use recyclable packaging.

Set up bins in your front of house, make them visible, make it easy

One of the best ways to create permanent behavior change around recycling is consistency between people’s home environment and their work environment.

Employees will remember what they see every day. Clearly labeled recycling bins in high traffic areas – glass, organics waste, paper, etc. – will make it easier for individuals and teams to embrace recycling as part of their daily routine.

Include a Containers for Change bin and find willing collector

“Have a look at where your beverage containers go now, and if no one in your office wants to return them then find someone in your community who can do some good with them,” says Glenda Viner.

Containers for Change is now well-recognised in Queensland and provides a revenue stream for many social enterprises and community organisations. It should be easy to find somebody – in the office our out – who is happy to collect regularly and return to a refund point.

Audit your recycling bin to educate your employees

Contamination of recycling bins can incur extra costs for you, the customer. Education about what can and can’t go in bins is critical, and one solution is audits.

“We do this extensively with our clients,” says Neil Perry, giving an example of James Cook University. “We pull their bins apart, see what’s in there, see how good they are in their recycling efforts. We then communicate all that information back to the client and most importantly their respective teams around the university to show how they are going and are they achieving the goals they set.”

Your food waste can help farmers and local business create a circular economy

Organic waste is a growing viable waste stream and appropriate bins are now available for businesses. The waste is used by South East Queensland composting operators such as Rocky Point, Mallow Sustainably and NuGrow.

Rocky Point, for example, makes bulk products like compost and other growing media for primary food producers and government. “You are what you eat,” says Rocky Point’s Keiran King. “Think about what could be going into the growing media and compost to produce the food you eat.”

Put that waste management plan into action

Some organisations have a waste management plan that they never put into action. Dust it off and make it happen.

With the new waste levy now in force in Queensland, there are solid economic and environmental reasons to embrace the opportunity. You may be surprised how much awareness among your employees already exists, thanks to media such as ABC-TV’s War On Waste.

Don’t have a plan yet? Read this guide on how to write one.

Thanks to our speakers

Neil Perry, QLD Head of Development and Joint Ventures Solid Waste Services, Cleanaway

Keiran King, Sales & Business Manager, Rocky Point

Glenda Viner, General Manager Corporate and Community Relations, Container Exchange