Ego Pharmaceuticals in Melbourne manufactures therapeutic and cosmetic skin care products for Australian and international consumers. They have an expanding workforce of 300 staff based in Victoria. In the last five years, Ego has expanded its recycling streams to cover a broader range of recyclable materials and implemented staff education programs to create an organisation-wide waste management strategy.
Ego’s ultimate goal was to expand its existing recycling program and implement simple processes for staff to actively engage in recycling, both within manufacturing facilities and in offices.
Ego’s first point of contact was Planet Ark’s BusinessRecycling website, which provided information on local recyclers. In order to determine the best set-up for more specialised needs, the Ego team also directly sought advice from selected recycling providers. To implement the new recycling strategy across the organization, Ego underwent a formal communications process. Managers were trained in the new Standard Operating Procedure relating to the new strategy, before communicating it to their staff (via email and in person) with clear instructions on how staff should participate in the new recycling initiatives. A key part of the strategy was to display signage in appropriate areas and provide the correct resources needed by staff to carry out the recycling.
Ego Pharmaceuticals are a great example of how staff can become involved in the overall recycling strategy of an organisation. Ego management are often approached by staff to ask what more can be done with a certain material, rather than simply filling a waste bin.
Some of the successes Ego have reported include:
The biggest challenge for Ego has been finding recyclers who collect and finding recyclers for more specialised waste streams which are unique to their business. Ego is gradually moving towards PET sticker backings for its product labels and has commenced searching for a recycler to manage this new type of waste. In recent years Ego has moved away from printed bottles to labelled bottles which has resulted in the reduction of old printed packaging waste. Although this has in turn created more label waste, the dedicated team at Ego are investigating recycling options to address this. However, it means that Ego can use the same bottle for many products.