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How To Do Office Waste Management and Recycling in Australia

Posted On: November 9th, 2020 Author: Stephen Matthews

There are many benefits to recycling. It preserves natural resources, and it is good for the environment. Office waste statistics – According to many studies, an average worker generates a substantial amount of waste each year. In this article, we will teach you how to recycle and effectively manage your office waste in Sydney, Australia.

Recycling is also the best way of reducing your disposal bill. However, recycling only works if the waste is reusable. The trash in the recycling is considered as contamination. Incorrect trash in the recycling bin is regarded as contamination which makes other materials dirty. Contaminated recyclables can be put into a landfill instead of being recycled. In the office waste recycling community, it is essential to work together to keep the recyclables clean.

Three Basic Rules in Office Waste Recycling

  1. Recycle all bottles, cans, paper, and cardboard. Bottles and cans should be emptied. Cardboards and papers should be unsoiled.
  2. Keep the items clean and dry. Do not put food waste into recycling.
  3. No plastic bags – do not bag the recyclables. Do not wrap them with plastic films or sheets.

The common materials that we often see in the recycling but definitely do not belong to this type of waste include:

  • Black, white, transparent bin liners
  • Plastic film, plastic wrap, plastic sheets, and used tarpaulins
  • Food waste
  • Paper plates, disposable cups, disposable cutleries, paper towels, and napkins
  • Bathroom waste
  • Wires
  • Small appliances
  • Hazardous and medical waste
  • Yard waste
  • Foam
  • Electronics
  • Carpets and textiles/ Fabric and cloth
  • Construction debris

Some of these materials can harm workers and the equipment used in recycling. It can also ruin a whole load of recycling. Or worse, it can shut down an entire recycling facility.

Proper Steps in Waste Management

  • Make sure that your employees are aware of what waste can be recycled and which are not. Please provide a list of materials that they can see and use a reference.
  • Ensure that there is a recycling bin placed beside the general bin.
  • Designate a specific look and feel for all recycling bins for easy identification.
  • Make a poster or signage that will display the list of materials that can be included in the recycling bins and what to throw in the general waste bin. Place these signages close to the bins.
  • Train your employees to put the recyclable loose in the recycling bins. They do not need to put it in a bag.
  • Train your commercial cleaner on how to identify and segregate the waste.
  • Ensure that your recycling wheelie bins are next to your general wheelie bins. To prevent trash in the recycling, locate the trash container closest to your employee’s access.
  • Ensure that recycling wheelie bins are visibly different from the general wheelie bins.
  • Make sure that recycling bins have accurate and visible signage.
  • To keep your office waste recycling clean and dry, you have to make sure that the lids are closed all the time.
  • You can also lock the recycling bins.

Waste bins colour coding Australia

How Can We Reduce Waste in An Office Environment?

The government has emphasized that 25 per cent of waste in Australia is generated by businesses. Disposing of waste comes with a very high price tag. Back in 2009, the data showed that a corporation has a 4 per cent turnover rate in recycling. 70 per cent of office waste is recyclable.

The most thorough approach in discussing this issue is to take up an environmental management system. You have to start with an audit – a full environmental review of your business. Next, you have to set target improvements and then implement an office waste management plan. The audit will ask what the legal requirements that apply to your business are, and are you complying with them?

It also asks what sort of acceptable practices you could implement over and above the things that are legally required. You can start thinking about that straight away. Could you use these resources more efficiently?

Switch off – do not leave lights on all the time. Turn off computers when you are out of the office. Use low-energy lightings like LED lights. Reduce paper waste. Encourage your employees to only print documents when it is necessary, and when they do, print on both sides of the paper.

You can also consider implementing a managed print service—reuse items wherever possible. Recycle if you cannot reuse. Introduce recycling bins in your office. Switch to environmentally friendly or eco-aware products. Look at cycle-to-work schemes. Cut down on packaging waste.

How Can We Solve the Problem of Waste Management?

Different types of plastic materials are useful for holding our groceries. Most of us do not think much about programs that will help us manage our waste. The government has indeed placed a company that will help us manage our wastes effectively. If we live in a local, industrialized area, waste management will be our last priority.

Here are some vital statistics:

  • 32 per cent of municipal waste is recycled
  • 13 per cent is incinerated
  • Over 50 per cent or 1,000 lbs per year per citizen will sit on a landfill to decompose.

Most metal materials and plastics can take thousands of years to break down in a landfill, and because we have future generations on the way, waste management is something that we have to think about.

In the US, they have this waste management that is called Plasma Gasification where extremely high-voltage electrical current is passed between two electrodes, generating a temperature near 25,000 degrees Fahrenheit. This process takes place in a no oxygen environment; there is no actual burning to happen. Instead, this energy is breaking down the molecular bonds of the trash itself, freeing the component atoms. They become either a synthetic gas or molten slag. That synthetic gas can be turned into fuel that will run the plasma waste converter itself. If you generate enough synthetic gas, you can create enough electricity to feedback into the power grid.

There are islands of plastics floating in the ocean. There is one in the Pacific Ocean that is the size of the state of Texas in the US. Bacteria are indeed really good at getting rid of the trash, but it will take years for the bacteria to decompose these trash. Plasma Gasification can be the solution to this never-ending waste management problem.

You can also use bio-polymers, these are plastics made of corn, as the primary form of your product’s packaging. That way, the bacteria can do the job of decomposing this packaging for just eighteen months. These plastics are biodegradable.

The Idea of Reduce, Reuse, and Recycle as the best Waste Reduction Program

We should rethink our habits, needs, and requirements. Before we buy an item, we have to ask ourselves if we really need that. We need to refuse anything that will harm the Earth and the environment. Some countries in Asia have declined the use of plastic bag carriers as their first step in waste reduction.

Reduce

This principle focuses on the reduction in waste generation. This can be achieved by repairing broken things, reusing, and sharing. We need to come up with an idea to reduce the accumulation of waste over time.

Reuse

Which means we need to use it again or more than once. We need to maximize the use of a product.

Recycle

It is reprocessing the unwanted waste into something that will be new and useful products.
Waste reduction can be significant if it can be adequately regulated by the law. We also have to be responsible and not to throw waste anywhere. Businesses, manufacturing firms, and other industries should follow proper waste management regulations. It is equally necessary to control our activity to make this possible equally.

The Idea of Reduce, Reuse, and Recycle as the best Waste Reduction Program

What Can You Recycle in An Office?

We all know that recycling waste is the right thing to do for significant waste reduction. However, how can you effectively recycle to make it beneficial for your business and save you money?

Many businesses and industrial firms produce an enormous amount of waste annually. You will be surprised to know that more than 80 per cent of this waste can be recycled. You need to have a system in place to make it possible.

Otherwise, all waste will just go inside the general waste bins and will end up in a landfill. Not very Earth-friendly if you think about it. A landfill diversion office provides a clear and powerful commitment to the environment. These commitments can be used to engage your customers and employees to follow your lead in protecting the environment and saving money all at the same time.

Your waste should support the waste cycle, which is to reduce, reuse, and recycle. It is your responsibility to encourage your customers and employees to do the same.

How To Reduce Paper Waste in the Office?

The office has an enormous need for paper. There are many ways you can quickly reduce the amount of paper and printed documents that you use in your office. When making copies or printing, you can set your printer to use both sides of the paper. It is also known as duplex printing. You cut the amount of waste in half and save a considerable amount of money per year for paper costs.

waste bins colour coding chart australia

Shred or reuse unwanted paper. Instead of throwing away papers, you can shred them and reuse them as a caution to packaging materials for shipments. Also, when you receive parcels and packages, you can save the boxes, and you can reuse them.

Remove as many general waste bins as you can and increase the number of recycling bins that can be located in your entire office floor. In this way, you can encourage people to recycle more materials or make them think about how else they can reuse a particular material before throwing it away. Take away individual bins under your staff’s desks.

Every business has many opportunities to reduce waste, reuse more and expand their recycling efforts. Recycling at work is easy to set up and can help you save money and reduce your company’s carbon footprint, creating a greener supply chain. The bottom line is less waste is good for business. Make sure that everyone in your team is helping you to reduce your environmental impact. It is suitable for people, for the planet, and it is good for profit. We have a question for you. How would you solve the trash problem? Leave a comment and tell us your answer.

Category: Cleaning Tips

About the Author

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This is Stephen from Clean Group. I work as a full-time commercial cleaning manager and part-time writer with Clean Group - a commercial cleaning company based in Sydney, Australia. I have over 10 years of experience in working with different cleaning companies around Sydney, providing as well as managing office cleaning, carpet cleaning and other commercial cleaning jobs for both households and individuals in Australia. I also share cleaning tips and write about my experience on this website.

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