Author: Ryan Collins
Businesses concerned about doing the right thing with their waste, both legally and environmentally, have been thrown a lifeline by Planet Ark, which has developed a checklist for choosing the right recycler to help ensure their business waste is recycled correctly.
Under environmental legislation, a business that generates waste may have a legal obligation to ensure that the transporter and the facility receiving its waste has legal authority to undertake the relevant activity and may be held responsible if they do the wrong thing.
The checklist, which provides a set of questions to ask a potential recycling service, is available on BusinessRecycling.com.au, a free online directory and hotline specifically designed to make it easy for Australian businesses to find recycling services in their area.
BusinessRecycling.com.au contains 12,735 listings of re-use, recycling, collection and drop-off locations and services across the country for more than 90 different materials.
Planet Ark established the free and easy-to-use service in partnership with the NSW Government, the Queensland Government, and Pitney Bowes. MobileMuster, the Australian mobile phone industry's official product stewardship program, has recently joined as a partner in the site.
"Australian businesses are already well serviced with responsible programs like ‘Cartridges 4 Planet Ark' and MobileMuster and increasingly paper and cardboard is being recovered," said Brad Gray, Head of Campaigns at Planet Ark. "As waste costs increase, it makes business sense to look for recycling options for the wide range of other materials generated by a business."
According to a 2010 NSW Government report, metal recycling generates the greatest environmental benefits. By recycling one tonne of metal, the greenhouse gases saved is the equivalent to taking 2.2 cars off the road permanently, saving 1.8 backyard pools of water, and powering 4.6 households per year.
"Although businesses are getting better at recycling they are still throwing away huge amounts of valuable materials like metals which are easily recyclable," says Gray.
One business that has implemented waste reduction strategies successfully is Serendipity Icecream, based in the Sydney suburb of Marrickville.
CEO Sarah Mandelson says that recycling seemed like the most obvious and easy way to reduce the company's waste.
"Sorting recyclables from real waste is the simplest place to start," she says. "It will reduce waste disposal costs as well as boost staff morale! But recycling works both ways, so we also ensured that all of the packaging we use for our products is fully recyclable too.
"We sort all of our ‘waste' materials: cardboard and paper, glass, plastic, cans and Tetra Paks. This way there is only very little waste. We made smaller changes too: refillable whiteboard markers, recycling ink toners and using refillable coffee mugs and glasses."
To find a local recycling service on BusinessRecycling.com.au, visitors simply enter their location and choose from a broad selection of material categories like plastics, timber, food, paper and cardboard, packaging, metals and more. The site is also supported by the BusinessRecycling hotline on 1300 763 768.