Planet Ark has implemented a range of internal initiatives to make our Sydney office a more sustainable work environment.
Waste & Recycling
At Planet Ark we're big on recycling that's why we provide comingled recycling bins for the easy recycling of paper, plastic, aluminium and glass. Plus we have a worm farm for food waste, which means we only need one very small garbage bin in the whole office.
All our used cartridges are recycled through the ‘Cartridges 4 Planet Ark' program, batteries are recycled through Transpacific Cleanaway and fluorescent tubes are collected through Lamp Recyclers Ezy-ReturnTM reply-paid lamp recycling packs. We have public ‘Cartridges 4 Planet Ark' and battery collection boxes located in reception for use by building tenants, local businesses and the general public. We also collect mobile phones through the ‘Cartridges 4 Planet Ark' box, which are sent on to MobileMuster for recycling.
To reduce our footprint Planet Ark purchases Government accredited 100% Green Power supplied by Origin. To save energy, appliances that are not in use are switched off at the powerpoint or attached to a Jackson Green Saver switch, which uses a remote control to turn appliances off - this is especially convenient when the switches are behind desks or bookcases. Staff use laptops in the office, which generally run on a third of energy required to operate desktops computers and our fridge doesn't include a freezer, which uses less energy than a combination fridge and freezer.
Printing & Procurement
The only tea and coffee you'll see in the Planet Ark office is Fairtrade and organic, because we're committed to being a Fairtrade Workplace. We buy Evolve 100% post consumer recycled office paper and where possible buy stationery with recycled content. We do minimal printing, print double sided whenever possible use scrap paper as the default and to make note pads. For all our own cleaning we use Orange Power cleaning products, which are endorsed by Planet Ark and have received the Good Environmental Choice Australia (GECA) tick of approval.
Planet Ark encourages the use of public transport wherever possible and has implemented a great HR policy to support this. If staff choose to drive where a suitable public transport alternative is available, then they are only reimbursed the equivalent of the public transport cost. Where staff choose to car pool, the car owner will be reimbursed the equivalent of the public transport cost of all occupants. It's simple. We also do very little flying, but when it is necessary, carbon offsets are purchased to cover the flights.
Blue Mountains Office
For seven years we also had a office in Wentworth Falls in the Blue Mountains west of Sydney. It was an old quarry site - about 14 acres all up - completely off the water and energy grids. We collected all our own water and generated power through an extensive array of solar panels. The buildings were constructed (by the previous owner) from mud bricks made on site. Over the years we rehabilitated the site and replanted native plants across the property.
Following a strategic review we decided to consolidate all our operations in the city office. Although we will certainly miss the Mountains office the move allows us to focus all our attentions on working with individuals and businesses to help enable practical solutions to a range of environmental issues.