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Inspiring Story: Ego Pharmaceuticals

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.

Recycling & Green Initiatives

Vision

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.

Planning & Implementation

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.

Results and Benefits

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:

  • Active engagement of staff in finding a solution to waste - due to the in-depth training in recycling and waste management conducted at Ego, staff are now actively seeking alternatives to throwing out waste. 
  • An increase in its recycling streams to cover a broader range of materials - as well as continuing its cardboard, paper, drums and soft plastic recycling, Ego has sought processes to recycle e-waste, batteries, polystyrene, printer cartridges, IBCs (intermediate bulk containers), packaging and fluoro and non-fluoro lighting.
  • The establishment of recycling bins in the canteen, allowing staff to recycle as they do at home, with co-mingled recycling available.
  • Swipe card access when using printers - this prevents documents being printed from desks and subsequently not collected from printers, therefore reducing paper waste.
  • The introduction of waste bins as well as recycling bins for each individual desk further encouraging staff to recycle.
  • Smart, low energy LED sensor lights are now used throughout the warehouse and in offices to ensure lights are only on when people are in that particular area.
  • The new headquarters building looks to capitalise on the building’s thermal mass to conserve energy and resources. The facade has been designed to significantly reduce heat load from west summer sun.
  • In addition, double glazing, rainwater harvesting (used to flush toilets and supply irrigation systems) and recycled water usage, solar electricity generation (which powers all warehouse lighting), and heating by gas have been introduced as part of HQ's eco-design.

Challenges & the Future

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. 

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