It was after Harriet Spark’s colleague found 600 straws in the ocean that the Sydney resident and dive instructor felt obligated to join local group Sustainable Organisations of Manly to help clean up the mess.
"I use a steel lunch box,” shouts one child. “We have a compost at home!” says another. Method is at a school talking to the children about recycling, and it seems a few of them know about zero waste already.
They’re not, however, aware about waste streams, the waste hierarchy or how worms work to turn their leftover organic matter into nutrients for the ground.
But it’s not just worms that can help teach our younger generations the benefits and how-to’s of sustainable waste management either - there are other methods that can help make a visible change:
Be clear about the 3 R’s
By introducing the 3 R’s of the Waste Hierarchy - reduce, reuse, and recycle - as the building blocks of the cultural conversation of waste, it becomes easy to show in simple steps what children can do to help.
Have colourful recycling bins and posters
One of the best ways to excite kids about the prospect of recycling is to offer them beautiful, colourful recycling bins and posters. Our Method recycling stations are designed to provide simplicity, consistency, vibrancy and fun in contrast to typically hidden away, incompatible receptacles. By offering posters as educational materials too, we make it easier for schools and kindergartens to effectively and enthusiastically teach their students about what goes into each waste stream.
Make your own worm farm
As our Sales and Sustainability expert discovered, children are fascinated by worm farms. To coincide with your Organics recycling bin, create a worm farm outside using soil and other materials which will in turn show students how their food waste is transformed into compost.
Utilise video clips to educate
There’s no denying that our world today is ensconced in social media, and because of this video can be the most captivating format to utilise for a younger audience -- short, eye-catching clips to educate and capture their interest. The concepts of waste streams, the Waste Hierarchy and the growing amount of plastic in our landfills and oceans can be explained through the use of YouTube clips.
Examples of videos to use include:
- Biome Store’s ‘Zero Waste Lunch Ideas’
- Craghopper’s ‘Plastic to Polyester - How Our Recycled Fleece is Made’
- ‘The Ocean Cleanup - The Beginning’’ - the story of Boyan Slat, the 19 year old inventor of a marine tool that’s making an incredible, visible difference.
“Our new Method bins have allowed children to take an active role in sorting their rubbish...”
- Beach Haven Kindergarten, our customer in New Zealand.
Method’s Recycling Stations are the simplest way for your school to make a visible difference. Our colour-coded interlocking stations are fully flexible, and easily recognisable, making them the perfect tool for teaching your students about recycling.
If you’re interested in procuring Method recycling bins for your classroom, contact one of our Sales & Sustainability experts to find out more.
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
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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?
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.”
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.
Planet Ark's Buy It Back Day will be held on Saturday 18 November 2017 to celebrate National Recycling Week with mindful purchasing.
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.
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.
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.
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 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.
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.