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Working collaboratively to promote sustainable practice across the legal sector


  • 20 November 2014 1:58 PM | Anonymous member

    As part of our focus on waste, here is a list of harder to recycle items that are being recycled in law firms. The list has been collated from roundtable discussions amongst AusLSA members at various Sustainability Champions Networks.

    Food    Ozharvest, SecondBite
    Mobile phones   Mobile Muster or Taronga Zoo
    Spectacles   Lions Recycle for Sight
    Work attire   Dressed for Success and Fitted for work
    Printer/Toner cartridges   Close the Loop
    Lever Arch Files   Admiral Plastics
    Electronic Waste   GiveNow, TechCollect
    Batteries   Close the Loop
    Light globes   Fluorocycle - signatory program that facilitates fluorescent light recycling
    Carpets   InterfaceOntera and Cavalier Bremworth all have recycling schemes for their products

    Furniture and fit-outs

    Good360   Social Enterprise that helps companies to re-purpose office furniture and equipment by connecting businesses that have goods with charities who need them.
    OfficeSpectrum   Good Environmental Choice Australia (GECA) licensed company that can assist with 'make goods' and refurbishing workstations.
    Profile of Design   High end fitouts guaranteed fully recyclable at end of lease and 'make goods' with an emphasis on recycling.
    Reverse Garbage   A community organisation that promotes reuse of items
    GiveNow   A donation portal that lists charities that accept donations 'other than money' including furniture, electrical, food, et al.

    Good searchable database of recycling options for all sorts of items

  • 06 June 2014 11:32 AM | Anonymous member


    Originally published by: 
    Many of us are working passionately to change our corporate culture and improve the sustainability of our organisations. However at times, seemingly simple processes such as rolling out a new centralised recycling system, which can promise such significant benefits in terms of environmental and business outcomes, can leave staff whispering with discontent around the water cooler.

    We decided to talk to an expert to get tips on how to successfully achieve behavioural change when implementing a new recycling program in the corporate environment.

    Waste Audit Consultancy

    Chris Adekunle is a consultant with Waste Audit and Consultancy Services, a consultancy firm with over 20 years’ experience specialising in assisting clients to create sustainable and cost effective waste solutions. Chris is currently working with some of Australia’s best known brands, across a diverse range of industries from banking to retail leisure precincts. From initial audit, program development and implementation, Chris has significant experience implementing effective waste management programs which deliver both environmental and business outcomes.

    Chris was not surprised when we initially presented him with some alarming research about change that we had gathered in preparation for our meeting. Alarmingly, research into behavioural change and change management consistently suggests that change interventions are only successful a third of the time. In fact a major 20 year study by Pooras and Robertson actually concluded that change interventions had a negative impact 10% of the time, no impact 53% of the time and a positive impact only 37% of the time. In modern governments and organisations it sometimes seems like there is an endless stream of communications about changes, with different programs being launched, gaining popularity, then dying away, only to sometimes reappear with different names.

    So how do you successfully implement a recycling program and achieve behavioural change in such a context? Chris suggests having clarity about the program drivers is an essential first step which you can then build on.

    “When Waste Audit Consultancy is brought in to assist a corporate office in implementing a recycling program it is likely as a result of one of two things:

    1. Someone within the company (usually their sustainability or facilities management team) wants to do it as part of their performance objectives – CHANGE FROM WITHIN
    2. It’s a decision stemming from the companies own vision of itself and how they want to represent themselves to the public – CHANGE FROM ABOVE

    Both drivers are absolutely valid, and if the resources and will power are available, both can be positive drivers in the implementation of a successful sustainable program.

    However implementing a recycling program can only be a success if the program is adopted by all those it aims to impact. Often this can require an element of forced compliance, which does at times require an authoritarian leadership approach, more associated with change driven from above.

    Chris provided some insightful examples of the type of challenges in which this more authoritarian leadership is required. A classic example is in the implementation of a zero bin system (that is the removal of all under desk waste bins and paper recycling boxes, which are replaced by centralised recycling bin banks in select locations). This can initially be unpopular with some team members who are unhappy with the loss of their personal bin, even though the environmental and business benefits of such a shift can be significant. Similarly, changing the behaviour of a lawyer whose time is literally worth hundreds of dollars an hour to take a few moments to walk the necessary distance to the bin banks to dispose of recycling, is not something that can be easily resolved if the leadership team are not completely on-board.

    Chris listed scenarios like the above as where initiatives are “most likely to fail”. So for leaders who are seeking to lead change from within, Chris believes it is absolutely critical to both get the leadership team on board, and importantly, ensure the wider team are aware of the leadership teams support.

    waste research

    The good news is that there is significant research into a range of benefits achieved through sustainability programs. As such, if you are driving change from within, with a little preparation, you should be able to influence your entire leadership team to get on board by targeting their goals. As an example, shifting to a ‘zero bin system’ can have significant business benefits in reduced labour costs for cleaning contactors, and less landfill can mean lower collection costs. Draft a business case and present it to those leaders focused on financials. If you are talking to the HR manager, instead provide an overview of the research available linking more sustainable business practices with higher employee engagement and reduced attrition. Sell your sustainability program as a step towards the future vision of being an employer of choice. If you are talking to your marketing team, discuss the advantages of promoting a green brand, both internally and in the market to customers and investors who are increasingly seeking more ethical purchasing and investment options.

    Once you have the leadership team engaged, it is also important to promote their support. Often the symbolic signs of support can be the most important. There are a range of simple ways of doing this, which will not require a huge commitment from the leadership team. It could be as simple as drafting an introductory email from the leader of each unit to send from their inbox introducing the program, or starting each site rollout in the leader’s office by removing their personal bins, and sending photos out of their office with the new station. Even just inviting the leader to introduce the program at a staff briefing before you talk through the details assists.

    Of course, other proven change management strategies such as using clear simple messages, communicating the ‘why’ rather than just ‘how’, making recycling easy through well designed systems with clear instructions, and empowering local change champions are important. However as Chris asserts, “it’s having this type of leadership involvement which can deliver the type of impact needed which all employees will respond to, and so the program will achieve the type of long term behaviour change needed for success in a corporate environment.”

    This entry was reproduced with permission from Source Separation Systems
  • 30 May 2014 5:33 PM | Anonymous member

    Event Food Waste from Green Event Book

    Food waste is the unfortunate by-product of many events. It occurs through the mishandling of food, through over-supply and under-eating.

    Food waste at events is waste of resources, of time and effort, and of course, of money. It costs to buy the ingredients, pay the staff and then to dispose of the waste. Food into landfill is a major cause of landfill methane emissions, a global greenhouse gas emissions contributor. Food waste at events also contributes to startling global food waste statistics, estimated at 1/3 of all food produced being lost or wasted.[i]

    The Love Food Hate Waste campaign in the UK aims to do just that – to raise awareness of the need to reduce food waste and help people take action.

    Here’s a quick checklist of actions you can take to avoid or reduce food waste at your event:

    Food service:

    • Serve less food. At conferences do people really want to be stuffed full?!
    • Avoid over catering. Accurately estimate the volume of food required considering the number of attendees, the event type and timing of activities or breaks.
    • Accurately brief caterers & food stalls. Communicate honestly the likely event attendance to caterers and food vendors.
    • Don’t overbook. Ensure you don’t book too many food stallholders considering the likely event attendance.
    • Attendee uptake. Understand if attendees may bring their own food and adjust communications and logistics accordingly. Ensure an even spread of types of food options that are likely to appeal to your attendees, so that no individual food stallholders are less attended that others, leading to food waste.
    • Pricing. Ensure pricing of food does not lead to lower sales volumes than anticipated.
    • Communicate. Inform attendees what food will be available and at what price. Ask for dietary requirements in advance to reduce wastage and satisfy attendees.
    • Food Salvage Planning. Have a food salvage/re-distribution program in place. Request caterers do not uncover/open/serve all food at once, so that if over supply has occurred, the perishable food has been handled correctly for donation to food salvage programmes.

    Food Serviceware:

    • Reusables. Use washable & reusable crockery and cutlery rather than single-use disposables.
    • Reduce packaging. If it must be served in disposables, go for less-waste options such as a serviette rather than paper plate for ‘finger foods’. Serve pizzas on trays not in pizza boxes, don’t put lids on cups and take-outs if they will be consumed immediately.
    • Avoid landfilling of disposable serviceware. Use disposables that can be recycled or composted.
    • Bulk it up. Use bulk dispensing for condiments, rather than single serve sachets or sauces poured into little containers. Encourage caterers and food vendors to purchase their ingredients in bulk. Using large 2 litre cans rather than lots of small cans for example.
    • Take back the tap. Provide tap water and water refill stations, not bottled water.
    • Reduce boxes. Encourage caterers and food vendors to receive their fresh produce in re-usable boxes, rather than single use disposables such as foam boxes. There are many services available that have take-back/exchange for delivery boxes
    • Cleaning. Use washable cleaning cloths rather than paper towel disposables

    [i] Global Food Losses and Food Waste: Access May 2013

    A free checklist from Sustainable Event Management: A Practical Guide 

  • 09 January 2013 4:03 PM | Anonymous member

    Options for recycling old IT hardware

    Organisation   Description   Website
    TechCollect TechCollect is a nationwide recycling service for old computer and accessories, printers and TVs. It is part of a big effort by industry and the Australian government to reduce the amount of electronic waste that goes into landfill.
    BuyEquip PCs, server and printers to be re-conditioned "old" PCs to help a school in Tanzania. 
    Australian Government Computer Technologies for Schools Project Representatives of the schools picked up the PCs so I have seen they are going to less privileged schools in the local community. 
    GIVIT Matching donations with registered charities
    Business Recycling  Search the database for recyclers near you.
    WorkVentures Collect computers and laptops from businesses with 20 or more systems for disadvantaged Australians
  • 09 January 2012 2:53 PM | Anonymous member

    Waste: Resources and References


    Green Collect delivers a range of innovative environmental services that promote recycling and waste minimisation. As a social enterprise, Green Collect offers new work and training opportunities to people who have experienced barriers to employment.


    Become a signatory to the FluoroCycle scheme: 
    FluoroCycle is a voluntary scheme which aims to reduce the amount of mercury entering the environment from the disposal of lighting.

    Admiral Plastics Various stationery products can be returned for recycling to be separated into its original components and sent to our contract recyclers.
    Planet Ark Business Recycling lists national and local re-use and recycling options for around 90 different materials. Including an incredible information source on general recycling
  • 25 January 2011 2:46 PM | Anonymous member

    Clayton Utz: Co-mingled Recycling

    Cost to implement

    Purchase of new 3 in 1 bins (approx $3000)

    Cost savings

    It is hard to accurately measure and calculate the cost saving as it will be included in the buildings waste cost as part of the outgoings.  

    As part of the waste review process, we monitored the use of our secure destruction bins more carefully and reduced the amount of pick-ups each quarter saving approx $6000 pa

    Environmental impact/savings
    • Reduced landfill waste
    • Increased recycling, which means less paper, plastic and glass production
    Implementation Issues


    Introducing co-mingled waste services is a simple way to reduce your firm's impact on the environment and to encourage staff to consider their personal impact.

    Programme details

    In late 2007, Clayton Utz (CU) Melbourne commissioned Green Collect to carry out a waste audit, which involved collecting and labelling all of our tenancy waste for one typical office night for review by the Green Collect team. We had a sample of all waste including bins from under desks, kitchenettes, commercial kitchen, utility areas and paper recycling bins.

    The main results of the audit included:
    • 60% of our waste going to landfill was paper based, including confidential paper;
    • 25% of our waste going to landfill was co-mingled recyclable;
    • 15% was considered landfill waste;
    • the few recycling bins we did have were not being used properly and had landfill waste contamination; and
    • the amount of general office waste (not including organic waste from the main kitchen, as we had outside food brought in for in-house catering purposes) going to landfill per floor each night was approximately 480 litres (ie 2 x 240 litre bins per floor).
    We then reviewed our waste management and introduced new co-mingled recycling bins on all floors, new non-confidential paper recycling bins were located next to the existing secure paper destruction bins and a new 3 in 1 bin system replaced the 10 litre office bins under all desks. We also reduced the size of the communal landfill waste bins.

    We communicated clearly to staff about the purpose of the bins and how they were to be used.

    The following 24hr sample result was recorded 6 months later:
    • 0% of our landfill waste was paper;
    • 10% of our landfill waste was recyclable;
    • 10% of our landfill waste was organic (mainly from the commercial kitchen producing in-house catering which wasn’t in operation at the time of the 2007 audit);
    • 80% was considered landfill waste;
    • our recycling contamination was lower; and
    • the amount of general office waste (ie not organic waste from the kitchen) going to landfill per floor each night was reduced to approximately 40 litres (ie one garbage bag per floor) – less than 10% of the amount of landfill waste in 2007!
    The new 3 in 1 bin system was the main reason for these improvements.

    The smaller landfill bin forced staff to think about their waste and having a co-mingled and paper recycling bin under their desk made it easier to recycle.

    As a result of our changes, we have a small increase to our weekly cleaning costs to support our 3 in 1 bin collection and a fortnightly contractor charge for our co-mingled content removal.

    Engagement with building management is another factor in establishing a new waste collection system. Building management support us with e-waste collection and cardboard recycling. Organic waste is not supported by building management at all, but we plan to review the organic waste issue in 2011.

    We have carried out three similar waste audits and spot checks since 2008 and it is pleasing to say these improved systems are still working and are now part of the Melbourne office culture.

    More information

    • Green Collect:
    • Your building management, cleaning services and waste contractor
    Prepared by

    Jason Molin
    Operations Manager
    Clayton Utz

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