Officeworks continued to work towards reducing the amount of waste sent to landfill, and in doing so maximising the recovery of recyclable materials for re-use and reducing the environmental impact of waste generation.
During the year, Officeworks recycled 82 per cent of all waste, an increase from 76 per cent in the previous financial year. This change resulted in an 18 per cent reduction of waste sent to landfill for the period. This was achieved by taking a dynamic approach to waste service schedules that reduced the frequency of general waste collections to favour recycling services, in turn driving improved behaviours. Recognising that the decisions from every team member play a key role in the journey to zero-waste to landfill, Officeworks ran a series of workshops that involved team members sorting their general waste bins to understand how recyclable materials may have entered the waste stream, and what changes they could make at their own store. The behaviour-change program resulted in 16 stores recycling more than 90 per cent of their waste.
As the industry continued to be impacted by the effects of the China National Sword Policy, which aims to improve the quality of recyclable material entering China, reducing contamination rates of recycling streams became more of a focus. For Officeworks, this meant that soft black plastic waste at store level could no longer be mixed with clear plastic recycling. To overcome this, Officeworks collaborated with key suppliers to ensure clear plastic was used to wrap pallets delivered to store, avoiding the need to dispose of black plastic in the general waste. In addition, laminating offcuts were also reclassified as a contaminant, which required Officeworks to re-educate team members to dispose of this as general waste. Officeworks continues to work with partners to identify an appropriate solution to recycle this material.
The focus for the year ahead will be to emulate leading practice across all sites and to continue to embed a culture of waste avoidance and reduction, whilst further exploring recycling solutions for waste not currently accepted in existing recycling streams, such as laminating offcuts from the print and copy centre.