How to up set up recycling systems at work

How to up set up recycling systems at work

By Rachael Ridley  November 19th, 2021

Did you know there are recycling collection boxes for workplaces for common workplace items such as batteries and printer cartridges? Some will save you money, some will be cost neutral, and some might come at a cost, but all of them will help reduce your workplace's impact on the environment and make your business more sustainable.

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Read on to find out how to sign up for these services and for more tips on how to recycle other workplace waste such as food.

Once you have these recycling systems in place, download our free posters to help your colleagues understand what to put in which bin.

Batteries

Batteries contain both valuable and dangerous materials. When placed in the general waste bin they become a fire risk and in landfill they can leak hazardous chemicals. In some states, certain batteries are considered toxic waste and can't be disposed of in the general waste bin. There are a few ways your workplace can responsibly dispose of large quantities of batteries, ensuring they are recycled into something new and kept out of landfill.

  • Batteries 4 Planet Ark is a recycling program that provides a cost effective and accessible solution for workplaces and other organisations to safely collect and recycle handheld batteries. Workplaces that sign up to the program will receive a secure, fire-proof collection box, which will be collected once its full for recycling.

  • Use the Business Recycling directory listing to find a recycler that will accept large quantities of batteries. Search your postcode for single use, rechargeable or lead acid batteries. For small quantities, search Recycling Near You for battery recycling drop-off locations in your area.

Printer and toner cartridges

If your workplace uses more than three cartridges a month (or 36 a year), it may be eligible to participate in the free Cartridges 4 Planet Ark program. Participants will receive a starter kit and a collection box for used printer cartridges, which are collected once the box is full. The cartridges are then either returned to their original manufacturer to be reused or recycled into new products with zero waste to landfill. 

If your workplace doesn't use three or more cartridges a month, you can drop them off for free at participating retailers (most Officeworks, Australia Post, Harvey Norman, JB Hi-Fi, The Good Guys, Office Product Depot and Office National stores will accept them). To find a drop-off point near you, search Recycling Near You

Mobile phones

You can sign up your workplace for a recycling collection box for mobile phones through MobileMuster. A collection box in the workplace will make it easier for your colleagues to recycle their old or broken mobiles. The materials that make up our phones – like glass, plastic, copper, gold, and nickel – are not only valuable but easily recyclable. MobileMuster recovers and recycles more than 95% of the materials in the phones, which reduces the demand to extract new materials from the earth.

Aluminium coffee capsules

Nespresso's Bulk Recycling Collection program provides an easy way for businesses to ensure both the aluminium and used coffee grounds from their used Nespresso capsules goes on to have a second life. If you have a Nespresso machine in your workplace, signing up to the free recycling program is a great way to reduce your workplace’s environmental footprint. 

Computers and televisions

Electronic products are one of the fastest growing waste streams in Australia. To combat this growing waste problem, a product stewardship program was created called the National Television and Computer Recycling Scheme, which puts responsibility on the manufacturers of the products to provide their customers with recycling options for their products once they have reached their end of life. Businesses with three or more compliant electronics can access this service through one of the four accredited co-regulators of the scheme such as Ecycle Solutions. 

If you have fewer than three items to recycle, search Recycling Near You to find a recycling drop-off point for computers and televisions

Food scraps and garden cuttings

Organic waste in landfill breaks down without oxygen (anaerobically) to form methane – a greenhouse gas that is more than 20 times more potent than carbon dioxide. Keeping food scraps and garden cuttings out of landfill helps reduce greenhouse gases and your workplace’s environmental footprint. The food scraps or garden cuttings are turned into compost which retains the organic waste’s valuable nutrients and energy.

If your workplace generates large quantities of organic waste, search Business Recycling for a local recycling service that will collect it for composting. Alternatively, you can set up your own compost system at work through a range of methods including commercial-sized worm farms.

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Need to recycle something that’s not listed here? Use Business Recycling to find recycling or safe disposal options for a variety of items such as lightbulbs, chemicals, wooden pallets, office furniture and more. 

Or use our Recycling Stardom Guide or War on Waste Toolkit for tips on how to reduce waste in the workplace. 

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Rachael Ridley

Rachael joined Planet Ark in early 2019 after eight years working in media and publishing as a producer, editor and writer. Rachael loves using her skills in content creation and communication to instigate positive environmental behaviour change. Outside of work, Rachael enjoys spending time in nature, listening to music and patting dogs.

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