Method Makes NSW’s 'Return & Earn' More Stylish

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What is Return & Earn?

160 million drink containers are littered every year in New South Wales. That’s almost 500,000 a day - and that’s just one state in Australia.

1 December 2017 sees the start of ‘Return & Earn,’ a container deposit scheme rolled out by the New South Wales Government which will see more than 500 collection points installed.

By depositing eligible 150ml - 3L beverage containers, you’ll be given 10 cents for each item you give back. Bottles and cans need to be in good condition, not crushed or broken, and should still retain their original label. What can you do with your refund? You can transfer it to your bank account, do good by donating it to a charity, or receive a credit voucher for Woolworths across New South Wales. To find out more about the details of the scheme, head here.

Why is this a necessity? Because 44% of New South Wales’ litter comes from small volume drink containers, which are causing great damage to the local environment. The NSW Government are hoping the program will help them remove 40% of litter volume by 2020.

And how about in 20 years time? By then, the scheme’s impact will look like over 12.6 billion more beverage containers being recycled, and 11 billion less in landfill.

The Method Makeover

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We’re launching a Container Deposit Scheme waste stream to help with your collection. The white lid is in concurrence with NSW Government’s colour code, and comes in our signature slick Method style to create a visible, beautiful difference.

“With almost 30 years of experience in the waste industry I have seen many trends come and go. The new ‘Method Recycling Bins’ are sleek and modern. They are well sized to accommodate all office types but not cumbersome that they take over a room. The bag holder is very practical and easier on the eyes than the typical hang over that most bins have. I thoroughly recommend these bins for many reasons” - Robert Dimeo from Cleanaway


If you’re interested in purchasing one for your office or facility, here’s how you can get in touch.

How To Go Waste-Free With Your Office Lunch

Our customer KeepCup's reuseable coffee cups are a great Zero Waste option

Our customer KeepCup's reuseable coffee cups are a great Zero Waste option

Have you been deliberating the best way for your office to get involved with National Recycling Week? Waste-free lunches are an easy kick-starter that will get your employees talking and considering their output.

Begin by banning for one day single-use plastic and polystyrene such as takeaway lunch containers, cutlery, plates and disposable drink containers as they are difficult, if not impossible, to recycle. Introducing reusable container use is a sure-fire way to inspire behaviour change.

Plastic water bottles must be removed from your office for the day in order to be waste-free; this ban can be made easier by instead encouraging employees to use water fountains or reusable bottles. If you’re heading out of the office for a coffee, use a reusable cup - we recommend our customer KeepCup’s colourful and bold designs. If you’re having a cafe lunch without recycling facilities, take your recycling back to your office, rinse it, and place it in the relevant office recycling bin. Ensure you pick local lunch spots that provide commercially compostable takeaway packaging.

Going waste-free for National Recycling Week could even turn into a regular waste-free day that occurs every week, where you arrange for the proper composting, recycling and disposal services. Here you can prominently display your Method recycling bins throughout your facility, and even allocate a sustainability team to keep others in check.

It’s easy to have a waste-free lunch: make sure this is the week you implement it. You can find more information about how to get started here.

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How else can your office get involved with National Recycling Week? The Friday File Fling, supported by Planet Ark Paper, is a fun, easy way to de-clutter your office. It can be held on the Friday of National Recycling Week, 17 November 2017. Here's their guide of how to make the most of this event. 


Interested in our beautiful recycling bins? Let us be part of your sustainability journey.

What Does A Sustainable Campus Look Like?

Customer Stories: The University of Melbourne and their trailblazing recycling plan for 2020

It makes sense that Universities would have a large role to play when it comes to sustainability, having historically been champions of change. From student-led activism to syllabuses that challenge the status quo, they have the power to nurture young minds and enact large-scale behaviour change.

With this week being Australian Recycling Week we thought we’d focus on one of our customers that’s making a visible difference, the University of Melbourne. Packed with over 45,000 students, this facility is presently setting a precedent for sustainability on campus through its clear stance on climate change and environmental stewardship.

Back in March 2016, the University adopted a Sustainability Plan for 2017-2020 which stemmed from their Sustainability Charter. This Charter outlined their various obligations to sustainability, including to demonstrate leadership, to enable active global citizenship for all students and staff, to promote equity in the use of global resources, to ensure transparency and accountability in all institutional activities, and more.

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The University of Melbourne want to be pioneers of sustainability, and invoke the change they hope to see in the world. This year, they became the first and only University to achieve a 6 Star Communities rating for their Parkville campus.

Their goals are varied, but consistency has always been key for successful implementation and groundbreaking results.

“We’re constantly doing talks, we put out posters, and we’ve got sustainability representatives in every faculty,” says Judith Alcorn, Waste Minimisation & Biodiversity Coordinator at the University.

“I do cleaners training; the people along the chain, we all try and get the word out. But it is tricky because we’re such a large institution, which is why it’s important to get everything standardised and fitting in with [our students’] lives. If it’s a bottle or a piece of paper they will know it goes in the yellow bin, and that a plastic wrapper goes in another one, as this colour system is almost everywhere in Australia now.”

With the help of colour-coded Method recycling bins in their faculty spaces and soon-to-be in their bathrooms, the University of Melbourne’s target is that by 2020 they will have dropped their landfill output to 20kg per person by 2020 for the year. We created a custom waste stream for the University's toilet facilities purposefully for paper towels (their place of use), so that the facility can ensure these are getting recycled and not put in landfill. 

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What are their other targets?

  • Achieve carbon neutrality before 2030

  • Achieve zero net emissions from electricity by 2021

  • Reduce emissions by 20,000 tonnes of carbon per year by 2020 through on-campus energy projects

  • Increase staff/student ‘level of awareness in University sustainability issues’ to over 15% with high level of awareness and 70% with moderate awareness or higher

  • Increase staff/student ‘level of participation and action in Sustainability initiatives

  • Offset staff air travel emissions – 50% by 2018, 100% by 2020

  • To further encourage cycling on campus. They now have 1800 bicycle spaces at their Parkville campus.

  • To increase the Green Impact Initiative, a fun campaign to increase sustainability originating at the University of Cambridge

  • Increase their Sustainability Advocate Program

  • Preserving their flora and fauna under changing climate conditions, and embedding their management in decision-making processes

  • Reduce mains water usage by floor area by 12% from 2015 baseline by 2020.

  • Having all undergraduate degree programs to enable students to understand and apply sustainability knowledge and values to practice in their field

Successful implementation and sustainability on campus comes from education, motivation, and dedication to the cause. We’re excited to be a part of the University of Melbourne’s incredible, change-making journey.

What place do you think Universities have in the conscientious world we live in?


Interested in our beautiful recycling bins? Let us be part of your sustainability journey.

How To Buy Recycled For Your Office and Why It Matters

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National Recycling Week

The 22nd annual National Recycling Week has officially begun in Australia. Helmed by Planet Ark, it was founded in November 1996 with an aim to bring a national focus to the environmental benefits of recycling through promoting kerbside, industrial and community recycling initiatives.

This year they’re taking this one step further with their theme, What Goes Around: Why Buying Recycled Matters. They argue that while recycling is necessary, it’s only useful if we’re actively procuring recycled products.

Why Buying Recycled Matters

‘Buying Recycled’ means being more mindful of what we’re purchasing, and considering the lifecycle of the products we own - where they've been and where they will go.

The circular economy is incredibly important to us at Method. The Ellen MacArthur Foundation describes this concept as a process that’s “...restorative and regenerative by design, and aims to keep products, components, and materials at their highest utility and value at all times.” We define it as ensuring everything has an end-of-life plan so that it can be recycled into something new.

Our beautiful, visible recycling bins are made from a plastic called Polypropylene, which is fully recyclable. We also always reuse the materials from our excess or faulty bins for new Method bins. Currently, we are unable to source a recycled plastic to use for manufacturing our product, but we’re endeavouring to source one so we can become a member of the circular economy ourselves.

“Having a sustainable procurement policy is a way to reduce the environmental, social and economic impacts of purchased products, as well as demonstrate business leadership,” says Planet Ark. Their research found that 70% of Australians are more likely to buy products if they know they have recycled content, and a huge 88% of Australians already purchase products containing recycled materials. But there’s still work to do.

For example, Ryan Collins, Recycling Programs Manager at Planet Ark, says:

“Something that’s not really thought of is renovation waste. Over Summer when people are cleaning up their homes, there are recyclers that can recycle up to 80% of a house. One of our partners Bingo Industries can recycle up to 25% of a house, turning bricks into more bricks, concrete into aggregate, timber into landscapes, and more.”
Ege Carpets

Ege Carpets

Fab Rugs

Fab Rugs

How Do I Buy Recycled For My Office?

There are hundreds of ways of Buying Recycled, many of which can be found in Planet Ark's Recycled Product Directory.

Here's five of our favourite Australian-made, Australian-designed recycled products for your office:

Planet Ark 100% paper Planet Ark has partnered with Australian Paper's new de-inking facility at the Maryvale Mill in Victoria to increase production of recycled paper, to the capacity of diverting 80,000 tonnes of waste paper from landfill or overseas export each world. Buy this ethically sourced paper from this selection of stockists

Fab Rugs | Fab Habitat's handwoven polypropylene rugs are made out of recycled plastic; they're durable, stylish and can be hosed down to clean.

Naturale Toilet Paper | Wondering how Naturale toilet paper is made? Used office paper is mixed with water to create pulp, which is then cleaned and rolled to form sheet paper in a completely chlorine free process. 

Ege Carpets | Is your office redecorating? The Ecotrust felt backings of these carpet tiles are produced from recycled water bottles. An innovative production technique turns bottles into a soft yet strong PET felt material that is long lasting and has great acoustic performance. 

The Social Outfit | Every cushion comes complete with an eco-inner, made in Australia using 100% recycled water bottles. These inners are light, plump and keep their shape well. Each season the Social Outfit collaborate with Australian fashion designers, emerging artists and members of the community to bring you a range of vibrant designer prints.  The design below is in association with Andrea Shaw.

Andrea Shaw x The Social Outfit

Andrea Shaw x The Social Outfit

Planet Ark's Buy It Back Day will be held on Saturday 18 November 2017 to celebrate National Recycling Week with mindful purchasing.


Interested in our beautiful recycling bins? Let us be part of your sustainability journey.

Why Your Office Should Recycle

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We know that we should recycle at home, but oftentimes we forget about the environmental impact our offices can have. Think about it: 100 employees, 100 lunches worth of waste. That’s why it’s imperative that we help divert as much as we can from landfill by giving workers a visible, simple system to help them recycle. With a little effort, a big difference can be made.

Saves Money

As our Financial Case Study shows, huge savings can occur when switching from Individual Desk Bins to Method Recycling Stations. You can drastically reduce cleaners fees by reducing your number of bins, as well as the amount of liners you’re using.

Improves your Corporate Social Responsibility

Starting a recycling initiative improves your Corporate Social Responsibility and your company’s image. More and more consumers are realising the necessity of environmental responsibility, and shifting their allegiances to ‘greener’ brands that encompass these moral values. Setting up recycling within your office, especially in such a visible way as with Method bins, will boost your employees’ morale through the efforts you’re making.

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Changes Behaviours

By incorporating recycling into your office environment, you are spearheading a campaign to change your workers into change-makers. By giving people accountability for their actions, you are reinforcing positive behaviours which will then be translated into their home lives, too. Our recycling bins provide education and motivation to become more impassioned about recycling and reusing in all aspects of life.

Protects the Environment

Would you like to protect the world from harmful chemicals and greenhouse gasses? How about reducing the need for raw materials so that habitats need not be destroyed? It’s been reported that for every ton of paper you recycle, 26,500 litres of water and 17 trees are saved. We think you'll agree that that's astronomical number, and something we just cannot ignore.

Head in the right direction today with Method Recycling.

The Future of Open Plan Offices

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Offices are becoming more and more flexible with changing floorplans, working hours, and attitudes to employees’ needs. Gone are the days of closed offices or cubicles; now we’re much more likely to work from open plan or agile spaces furnished with deluxe coffee machines and ping-pong tables.

But how can we ensure that our future open plan offices will keep their core values of collaboration and innovation as technology and design evolve, and as recycling becomes even more crucial than ever before?

There are three characteristics we believe help Method Recycling stand out from the crowd when it comes to modern design-thinking in the workplace.

Here’s how we will shape the open plan offices of the future:

Sustainability

Sustainability is becoming a key focus in the modern office, as corporate responsibility and a commitment to environmental initiatives are increasingly being recognised as important for collective action against climate change. Method champions this idea of Open Plan Recycling, with our design-led, colour coded, interlocking recycling bins encouraging a change in lazy rubbish disposal habits, and promoting a collective effort towards achieving sustainability goals.

Having recycling bins out in the open, ensures staff can easily access them without having to hunt for bins hiding in cabinetry. As it only takes a second to dispose of waste, many people will choose the most accessible and easiest disposal option. If the landfill bin is visible while recycling bins are hidden away, landfill will often become the default option. Free standing recycling bins make all recycling streams equally visible and accessible, transforming recycling into an effortless process.  

People adopt new habits through watching and following others. As open plan recycling makes recycling a visible process, people become more conscious about doing it properly. When people know they’re being watched, even subconsciously, they tend to make more conscious decisions.

Activity

Sitting at your desk all-day is not beneficial for your productivity or for your posture. To tackle this, modern offices have created an employee experience where activity is key.

How does Method help? We suggest one Method recycling station (interlocked recycling bins) for every 30-50 employees in your office, to coincide with our rule that bins should be a 10-15 second walk from your desk. By opting for Method bins, not individual desk bins, you are actively inspiring activity among workers.

Style and Flexibility

Prior to open plan recycling, bins were ugly and often hidden in cabinetry as they completely conflicted with the aesthetic created by architects and designers. However,beautifully designed bins now allow recycling to become integrated with the office aesthetic. Being visible, the bins actively encourage and make it easy for people to separate their waste into different recycling streams.

Just as open plan offices give you flexibility in how you work, open plan recycling gives you flexibility in how you recycle. Freestanding recycling stations can be set up where they are needed most, and the number of bins, colours and waste-streams can be customised to cater to the specific needs of your office. Whether you just need a paper recycling bin by the printer, or a full-scale recycling station that separates organics, glass, plastic and landfill, open plan recycling can meet your office’s recycling requirements.

Flexibility is key as recycling evolves. For example, with the recycling of soft plastics becoming more prevalent, having easily interchangeable bins gives you the option of adding or amending waste streams as you see necessary.This need for flexibility is particularly prevalent in larger, corporate fit-outs, where bigger spatial changes occur as teams move or expand and spaces go from boardrooms to training rooms to large format event spaces.

By having shared bins, rather than individual desk bins, cleaners have fewer bins to empty. Clearly defined waste streams allow rubbish to be sorted at source, also saving cleaners time later on.

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See our guide to Open Plan Recycling below:

Financial Case Study - Method Recycling Stations vs. Individual Desk Bins

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Here we compare the setup and service costs of an office outfitted with Method Recycling Stations vs. with Individual Desk Bins over the course of one year.

(These figures are based on a company that has 110 staff in a 1,500m2 office over 240 work days. This company would have three Method Recycling stations - one station per every 37 people/ 500 m2 - comprised of four waste-streams with open top lids. Freight costs have been excluded.)

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Method Recycling Stations will save your cleaners time:

- Changing 12 bin liners at 30 seconds a liner = 8-10 minutes

- Changing 110 bin liners at 30 seconds a liner = 55 minutes

Method Recycling Stations are a visual statement of your commitment to sustainability

Method Recycling Stations are flexible, beautiful and effective


Interested in making the change to Method Recycling Stations?

Contact us here.

Get Your Recycling Game Liner-ed Up

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Which of our bin liners wins for sustainability?

So, you have your recycling bins set up, and you're ready to get your recycling initiative up and running. Now it's time to pick your bin liner.

Biodegradable, degradable, compostable, blue or black - what's the difference?

Be wary of buzzwords

It can be marketing chaos out there with companies throwing buzzwords left, right and centre to sell you their products. In many cases, biodegradable has become the new “99% fat free,” a phrase designed to capture your attention while conveniently downplaying the other not-so-good ingredients.

In 2013 a New Zealand based disposable bag company received a hefty $60,000 fine for misleading customers about the eco-friendliness of their plastic products. Turns out their slogan “here today, gone tomorrow” should have been “here today, here tomorrow, here for hundreds of years to come.”

Cases like this illustrate that if you are wanting to go down the eco-liner route, you should do your homework. Lucky for you, Method is here to help you make sense of the jargon. We have put together a handy guide to to use bin liners effectively, affordably and sustainably.

The sustainability of different liners

Classic Plastic liners:

The classic plastic liner is the most commonly used bin liner, both durable and cost effective. Plastic liners are made from petroleum or natural gas, both non-renewable resources, but can take anywhere from fifteen to a thousand years to degrade.

Degradable liners:

Companies selling degradable liners seem to have ‘forgotten’ to add the bio at the front of the word, in an attempt to sell their products as environmentally friendly without falsely advertising their product.

But don’t be fooled, there is no specified timeframe that a liner sold as “degradable” must degrade. In fact, all plastics could technically be defined as degradable – they all break down eventually. Some plastics have additives that will make the liner break down faster in certain conditions, but this process only transforms large parts of plastic in tiny sized pieces.

Professor Tony Underwood from the University of Sydney described degradable plastic bags as "not a solution to anything much, unless we are quite happy to shift it all into particle-sized plastics rather than plastic bag-sized plastic."

Micro-plastics are hard to contain in landfill and have recently been under scrutiny for their harsh impact on marine life. They are ingested by microorganisms and make their way up the food chain, ending up in animals and even humans.

Plant Based plastics:

Some people opt for plant based plastic liners as an environmentally friendly alternative to the classic plastic. As the name suggests, these liners replace non-renewable petroleum with biomass like sugarcane and corn, in a bid to reduce harm to the environment.

Plant based plastics can be broken down further into two categories – non-biodegradable and biodegradable.  

Non-biodegradable plant-based plastics are produced in the same fashion as, and are intended to replicate, normal plastics. Plants are manipulated to give the plastic long shelf life and final product cannot be easily digested by living organisms. This makes them fit for the recycle bin but not for the compost.

Biodegradable liners:

Biodegradable plant-based plastics (the most common variety of biodegradable liners) are called so because they can be attacked and digested by living organisms in the early stages of the degradation process. This means that they complete the natural cycle – they are produced and assimilate smoothly back into nature.

Certification standards have been created to ensure that what we are buying is going to fully biodegrade within a specific timeframe. When looking to buy biodegradable liners it is very important that the product refers to a reliable standard such as AS 4736 or EN 13432.

Biodegradable liners can be broken down even further into two categories - commercially compostable and home compostable.

Commercially compostable liners

Many biodegradable liners require a very specific environment to decompose – oxygen, 60 degree temperatures and a perfect heat/moisture ratio found at a commercial composting site to be exact. These are called commercially compostable liners and should only be used if your waste is going to a commercial composting site. If you’re putting commercially compostable liners into landfill, then either a petroleum or a biodegradable liner would realistically be just as suitable and sustainable.

Home compostable liners

Home compostable liners can be broken down in with all the wormy goodness in your backyard compost bin. These are your most environmentally friendly option. You’ll need to check the liners refer to a certification standard okay for home compost though, such as AS 5810-2010.

So then we should use these liners for all waste streams, right? Well, not exactly. Landfills are very dark, non-oxygenated places, meaning that even compostable liners do not have the conditions needed to biodegrade properly. Over time, compostables in landfill produce methane which can be much more harmful to the environment than CO2 itself.

So what does this all mean?

The most sustainable way to use bin liners would be to use the home compostable variety, BUT to then remove the contents into the bin before waste collection and put your liner in with your home compost. But this isn’t always possible.

Start a conversation with your waste collection providers about what their bin liner policy is

If you wish to keep your waste continuously contained, or it’s not viable for you to go liner-less because of your waste collection provider, WeCompost - a New Zealand eco waste removal company dedicated to treating compost as a valuable resource - recommends using black liners for landfill, clear liners for recycling streams and home-compostable liners for organics.

This makes it easy for office cleaners and collectors to sort and ensures that compostable liners are not going into landfill, where they’ll most likely struggle to degrade in the conditions or just be ripped open.

You can also consider options for plant based, non-biodegradable liners - while they are still plastic, at least they are made from a renewable resource and are much less toxic in their production.

Finding the right bin liner doesn’t need to be complicated

If you do your research, make sure bin liner buzzwords are backed up by reliable certification standards, and discuss options with your waste removal contractors and cleaners, you’ll be well on track towards your sustainability goals.

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