1300Rubbish has long been dedicated to responsible waste management. As a rubbish removal company, we see fist hand the impact that poorly managed waste and incorrect recycling can have on the environment.

Today, being environmentally conscious, on both an individual and company level is more important than ever. According to the National Waste Report 2018, In 2016-17 Australia generated an estimated 67 million tonnes (Mt) of waste including 17.1 Mt of masonry materials, 14.2 Mt of organics, 12.3 Mt of ash, 6.3 Mt of hazardous waste (mainly contaminated soil), 5.6 Mt of paper and cardboard and 5.5 Mt of metals. This is equivalent to 2.7 tonnes (t) per capita.

The waste we generate has a direct impact on our surrounding environments, waterways and oceans. These six companies are taking steps to limit their environmental impact. We asked them about the challenges they face and how they are approaching them within their industry.

Parcelpoint

Parcelpoint – Natasha Ritz – Head of Marketing and Communications

1. What challenges does your business face in regards to waste/pollution?

We are a logistics business and car emissions, getting parcels from A to B has a big impact on the environment.
Internally as a team, we also have struggled with recycling knowledge and our office waste.

2. How do you address these challenges?

We have started our journey looking at our logistics solutions. We have partnered with Bonds Couriers, who have recently purchased a Renault Kangoo, this is a 100% carbon-free, electric vehicle. We are working with Bonds to create pickup and drop off runs of consolidated parcels in this electric van.
This is a two-fold strategy, consolidating parcels and sending them to Parcelpoint location instead of individual people’s homes, means we are getting many parcels in one load. We are then looking to pick up returning parcels that go back to retailers that have been dropped off at Parcelpoints back into the electric van.

This means the van is always carrying parcels, it reduces emissions of a regular van but becomes carbon-free on the last mile with the electric van. It’s the very start of this journey for us but an exciting one!

Internally, we recently changed over our power supplier to Powershop a more ethical choice for our electricity. We also have been purchasing recycled and toilet paper. And, very excitingly we have new KeepCups and reusable water bottles on order which we have given to our team. We have asked everyone to no longer use single-use coffee cups.

We also started a sustainability committee and have been looking into ways to educate our team on better recycling habits.

3. Do you measure your impact?

We are about to work through a project that measures the impacts of using the diesel delivery vans, the electric vans and also takes in the view of having 1400 Parcelpoint locations across Australia where people pickup or drop off their parcels instead of getting delivered to their homes. We will be looking at things like, what impact people have when they choose to walk, catch public transport or drive/uber to pick up their parcel vs the one-to-one home delivery choice.

We have 25 people in our office, all who have been previously using single-use coffee cups and averaging 1 coffee a day, 5 days a week at work. That’s 6500 single-use coffee cups that will now no longer go into landfill. This will be similar for our water bottle usage.

4. Do you try to account/limit your waste output?

We have asked the team to no longer buy plastic or throw away cutlery for team lunches so that we can limit what we throw away. We have signage now placed above our recycling and regular bins to educate the team on what can go in each bin.

We are really starting our journey on waste management, recycling and carbon emissions and excited to be able to plan for a future with less impact on the environment.

WØRKS Melbourne

WØRKS Melbourne – Suze Raymond – Co-Founder and Director

1. What challenges does your business/industry face in regards to waste/pollution?

The skincare industry is renowned as a major contributor to environmental degradation, primarily due to excessive single-use packaging and unsustainable manufacturing processes.

2. How do you address these challenges?

We strive to uphold environmental ethics in every aspect of our business. We are committed to keeping our environmental impact as minimal as possible. This is reflected in the certified organic, fair trade and sustainably grown and harvested raw materials we use, our commitment to end plastic pollution, our carbon neutral shipping policy, our sustainable glass packaging, and our guarantee that every WØRKS Melbourne product is vegan and cruelty-free.

We have designed all of our glass vessels to be 100% reusable. To ensure that no part of our packaging enters landfill or contributes to the burden on the recycling system, we encourage our clients to repurpose their glass vessels in line with our Zero Waste Program.

3. Do you measure your impact?

We are a start up and we’ve only recently launched, so we haven’t started measuring our impact as yet. However, moving forward we fully intend to measure our positive environmental impact.

4. What strategies do you use to account for or limit your waste output?

As much as possible and practical, we run a paper-free office. Where paper is used, we make sure to source it from ethical suppliers, who offset the carbon produced during the manufacture of that paper.

We source all of our raw materials from certified organic suppliers, ensuring that the ingredients that make up our formulations have been grown and harvested sustainably. As much as possible, we support local suppliers.

We have a carbon-neutral shipping policy, so for every order that is sent Australia-wide the carbon associated with the delivery is offset.
We package all of our products in glass vessels that are designed to be refilled and reused. Our shipping boxes are plastic-free and recyclable.

Spare Harvest

Spare Harvest – Helen Andrew – Founder

1. What challenges does your business/industry face in regards to waste/pollution?

We help other businesses increase their sustainability efforts by engaging their staff in a meaningful and unique way. Food waste is a growing problem and when food waste ends up in landfill it produces toxic greenhouse gases. With consumers one of the biggest food wasters, we work with businesses to help their employees (consumers) to reduce their waste footprint.

2. How do you address these challenges?

Through our marketplace, employees can bring into work what they have spare in their kitchens and gardens and share it with another colleague. By engaging staff in this personal and purposeful way, businesses are reducing waste and consumption while building social capital in their workplace. A win/win for the environment, business and employee.

We have developed a unique way that businesses can contribute to reducing waste and positively contribute to our environment while building strong relationships between their employees.

Shiply

Shiply – Louis Watton – Marketing Executive

1. What challenges does your business face in regards to waste/pollution?

The transportation and delivery industry in general faces many sustainability challenges as it is based around moving something from A to B which almost always involves CO2 emissions of some kind. The biggest problem is that often the vehicles will return from a delivery empty, causing unnecessary pollution and wasted time and resources for the company.

2. How do you address these challenges?

Shiply was formed as a platform where users who need something shipping can place it on the website and transport providers can bid on the job. This provides an opportunity for the transport providers to never travel with an empty vehicle, ensuring not only that they are not wasting time and resources on one-way deliveries but also that the overall number of vehicles travelling with empty loads and producing CO2 emissions are reduced.

3. Do you measure your impact?

We measure our impact on the overall assumption that any delivery carried out through Shiply is saving an equivalent empty journey’s worth of CO2 emissions. Over 10 years of operating we estimate that we have saved a staggering 131365032 Kg/CO2 emissions!

4. Do you try to account/limit your waste output?

Absolutely, it is one of the driving goals of the business to continue saving CO2 emissions. On a much smaller scale, in the office we try to minimise how many things get printed and are all aware of staying away from packaging that uses unnecessary amounts of plastic, as well as just bringing in food cooked at home rather than buying food out – every little helps!

theotherstraw

theotherstraw – Jamie-Lee Kay – Co-Founder

1. What challenges does your business face in regards to waste/pollution?

In Australia alone, it is estimated that 10 million single-use plastic straws are used every day. These end up polluting our waterways, natural environments and oceans.

2. How do you address these challenges?

theotherstraw is a Melbourne based social enterprise replacing single-use plastic straws with reusable, ethically-sourced bamboo straws.

3. Do you measure your impact?

Our impact includes:
– Since launching in October 2018, we’ve put 28,000 reusable bamboo straws in peoples’ beverages! This means that we’ve prevented over 2.5 million of single-use plastic straws entering landfills and our oceans.
– 3080 conversations about plastic waste and pollution sparked by theotherstraw with businesses and individuals around Australia.
– 11,500 individuals and businesses educated on the impacts of single-use plastic straws and their plastic footprint.
– 45 local ocean clean-ups supported.

4. Do you try to account/limit your waste output?

We support a circular model, where everything within our business is fully composted and put back to nature, so no waste is left behind.

Fortunly

Fortunly – Igor Mitic – Co-Founder

1. What challenges does your business face in regards to waste/pollution?

We have both in-house and remote employees. Even though our business isn’t the production of any physical products, we do produce waste, and we are doing everything we can to reduce it.

2. How do you address these challenges?

We’ve banned the single-use plastics (or at least we don’t provide any), and we’ve switched to air-driers instead of paper towels. We encourage our employees to bike to work. We’ve installed bicycle racks in front of our office building. We’re recycling. And we are flexible with remote work for our in-house employees, knowing that their absence from the building also reduces the waste and carbon-print.

3. Do you measure your impact?

We don’t have a tangible measurement system, but we notice the difference in our waste output since switching to minimum-pa per and no single-use plastics.

4. Do you try to account/limit your waste output?

We do try to limit our waste and encourage our employees to do so, too.

Fortunly

SuperFeast – Farley Douglas – Marketing Specialist

1. What challenges does your business face in regards to waste/pollution?

One of our challenges and something we have become really aware of as an Earth First business is plastics and how the waste infrastructure is set up, especially here in Australia. What we have learnt throughout our eco journey, is that there are pretty effective frameworks set up for rigid plastics (e.g. bottle, containers etc). However when we throw soft plastics into the mix, unfortunately our systems are not set up. Our soft plastic use is something we are putting a lot of time and effort into.

2. How do you address these challenges?

A whole lot of time, research, phone calls, sharing and education (with a healthy dose of trial and error thrown in!) In this constantly shifting and developing environmental adventure we are on, to become a more responsible business, you simply must ask questions. There’s multiple ways: examining our use of soft plastics as a business (and this is rippling into our home lives), can we remove any streams of soft plastic from our day to day? Can we change some of our consuming behaviours? If, at this stage, the technology is not there (e.g. we use stickers to print addresses on to stick on the herbs to send out. The stickers are on plastic backings and we are yet to find a more responsible solution), we ensure how we dispose of the waste (in this case, soft plastic) is responsible. We currently have upgraded to 6 recycling / waste streams at our headquarters (two types of plastics, recycling, cardboards, compost and whatever is left over, is waste)! There’s plenty of initiatives we are rolling out behind the scenes too: we now use reusable velcro strapping to send out pallets, as opposed to using metres of plastic wrapping, we use paper sticky tape, we are looking at sourcing a new packaging solution to replace our kraft bags and we are replacing our labels with compostable labels, to name a few.

3. Do you measure your impact?

We recently had the local council come by to audit us on our practices as a business, including our recycling, waste management and overall use of resources. While we passed with flying colours, we know we can continue to improve. We also have quantitatively measured how much landfill waste we have had since we have improved our waste sorting streams into 6 areas.

4. Do you try to account/limit your waste output?

Yes, this Earth First path we continue to tread has taught us so much as a business, and more excitingly, as individuals. Knowledge truly is power and now that we better understand how the waste management is set up in Australia, we are better equipped when we make our purchasing decisions. Where possible, we choose plastic-free options, instead going for natural and repurposable options. Joining forces with the local composting community initiative, means all our organic waste is given back the earth and we are committed to refining our 6 waste streams as an ongoing project.