My Green Life

Establish a recycling program

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Most businesses generate "waste" products that can be recycled. Corporate social responsibility starts with people doing the right things at work. Ensuring our waste is recycled is a good step in this direction.

We concentrate, extracte, and combine raw natural elements into new and unique elements such as plastics, aluminium, mercury, and acids. To use these resources efficiently and avoid them spoiling the environment we need to create closed loops that allow us to move these technical materials from one use to another in the same way nature cycles nutrients, water, or energy throughout its ecosystems. In this manner we need to see the potential for one business' waste to become the feedstock for another's business' technical process and product.

Recycling plastics, paper, metal, and glass are all steps in this direction. Eventually we should aim for a point where all man-made products and materials are able to be recycled and reused.

How to do it now!

Establish a recycling program at work.

If your workplace doesn't have a recycling program in place follow these steps to create one:

  1. Talk to your building manager.
    Discuss with your building manager the opportunities for implement a recycling program at your building.
  2. Do some research on establishing a successful recycling program.
    There are several sites that offer assistance, guides and support for establishing a recycling program. Here are some to get you thinking:
  3. Recycle all that you can.
    Think big about recycling opportunities for your business. Most councils (check with your local council for the exact products recycled) offer kerbside recycle bins in which to place the following:
    • cardboard, milk and juice cartons.
    • cardboard boxes, newspapers and magazines.
    • glass bottles and jars.
    • aluminium cans, foil trays and steel cans.
    • plastic milk, juice, soft drink and detergent bottles.
    • telephone books, work and school papers, letters, envelopes and advertising material.
  4. Recycle or refill your toner and ink cartridges.
    Recycling or refilling these items is as simple as finding a local 'remanufacturer' and asking them to provide collection bins and collection services to your workplace.
  5. Collect and recycle batteries.
    Get a battery recycling box for your office. For details about battery recyclers
    • Contact your local council about a collection service.
    • Refer to the Yellow Pages under the heading "batteries".
    • Mobile phone batteries can be returned to mobile phone outlets.
  6. Recycle your mobile phones and offer to collect from staff.
    For every mobile phone in use, there are two more sitting unused in a drawer somewhere! Mobile phones contain nickel, cobalt, cadmium, gold, silver and plastics which can be recycled and reused. Most mobile phone retailers have recycling boxes. Alternatively, call MobileMuster for a full list of drop-off locations or to organise a recycling box for your workplace.
  7. Recycle compact fluorescent globes.
    The new efficient light globes are great, however they contain small amounts of mercury and need to be disposed of in a way that prevents this mercury entering nature, our soil and food.

    The Australian Government in partnership with the lighting industry has developed and launched Fluoro-cycle, a scheme aimed to increase recycling rates for mercury-containing globes.

    In addition, fluorescent globe processing is carried out in Australia through recycling companies such as Chemsal and CMA Ecocycle.

  8. Recycle your e-waste.
    Electronic waste also known as “e-waste”, contains toxic and hazardous substances, which when confined to landfill, can leach into the ground water and cause contamination. E-waste is generally defined as any item with a battery or electrical cord (computers, printers, monitors, mobile phones etc.). As information technology has become more prolific, the need to recycle used or obsolete computing equipment has increased.

    E-waste can be recycled, however, before deciding to send your old computer to a recycler, consider donating it to a community group, local charity, school or family member. If you can't usefully pass it on, these organisations will be able to help:

    • Recycling Near You (National) - Planet Ark list of recycling locations for e-waste
    • ewaste (National) - home or office pick up of your unwanted computers.
    • Computerbank (Melbourne) - offers cheap refurbished computers to concession card holders.
    • Green Collect (Melbourne) – picks up a wide range of items from offices and diverts them from landfill so they can be reused, remade or recycled.
  9. Use specialist recyclers of technical waste where available.
    Most states have directories of specialist recyclers that will take everything from your old paint and oil to your printer cartridges.
  10. Recycle organic waste.
    Organic office kitchen waste can be fed to an onsite worm farm or put in a compost bin. See our Recycle organic waste action.

Related resources

Why is this action important?

In order to reduce the strain our ongoing consumption is putting on the environment, we need to use raw materials less and use them as many times as possible. Creating closed loops by recycling all that we can moves us in this direction.

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