Officeworks releases latest sustainability report
Author: Rachael Ridley
Officeworks has published its latest Positive Difference Plan for the 2019 financial year, which details its sustainability strategy and achievements. While the three aims of the plan are to support the aspirations of its team and communities, source products in sustainable ways and reduce its environmental impact, the corporate responsibility plan stretches beyond the company’s direct impact and extends to helping its customers on their own sustainability journeys. Read on for highlights of the report and Officeworks’ future plans.
In-store recycling stations
With electronic waste (e-waste) growing faster than any other waste stream in Australia, Officeworks has identified a way it can help increase e-waste recycling. By installing recycling stations in all of its stores, most of the Australian public now have an easily accessible drop-off point for items that cannot be recycled through kerbside recycling.
Through the help of logistics partners Cartridges 4 Planet Ark, Close the Loop and MobileMuster, every Officeworks store accepts used printer cartridges and old mobile phones for recycling. During the 2018-19 financial year, customers diverted 870 tonnes of e-waste from landfill by dropping items off at Officeworks stores. A national upgrade is currently underway to expand the recycling stations to accept other kinds of products that cannot be recycled through kerbside recycling, such as batteries, pens, markers, computers and accessories, and old printers.
Helping customers recycle right with the Australasian Recycling Label
The Australasian Recycling Label (ARL), created by Planet Ark in collaboration with the Australian Packaging Covenant Organisation (APCO) and PREP Design, is an evidence-based recycling label that instructs the consumer on which bin to dispose of their packaging in. Officeworks was the first company to sign up to the label and have put it on more than 3,000 of its own-brand products since 2015.
Reducing waste to landfill
In July 2018, Officeworks launched its Sustainable Packaging Policy with the goal of working with suppliers to reduce unnecessary packaging, such as soft plastics on products, and completing packaging optimisation reviews that reveal areas of potential improvement in packaging design.
Officeworks has set itself the ambitious goal of zero waste to landfill. During the 2018-2019 financial year, it was able to move closer to that target by reducing its operational waste by 18% on the previous year, now reaching an 82% recycling rate for all waste generated from stores, distribution centres and support centres.
The recycling rate was achieved through an education program for staff, which was based on the waste hierarchy and explained the importance of reducing waste to landfill. Officeworks is now focusing their attention on exploring recycling solutions for waste that is not currently accepted in existing recycling streams, such as laminating offcuts from the print and copy centres.
Reducing carbon emissions
Despite the opening of two new stores, Officeworks reduced its carbon emissions by 7% year-on-year, primarily through energy management systems that control and optimise onsite electrical equipment such as lighting, heating and ventilation. They also continued to transition to energy-efficient LED lighting, which is now in 99% of stores, and switched its entire fleet of Business Specialist vehicles to hybrid cars, which emit 53% fewer carbon emissions than the previous cars used.
Responsible sourcing of products
In 2015, Officeworks set the target of transitioning all of its paper products to 100% recycled content or FSC certified by December 2020. By the end of the 2019 financial year, 81% of all paper products sold by Officeworks met this criterion.
To learn more about these initiatives, read Officeworks’ full sustainability report.
- To find out which items your local Officeworks store accepts for recycling, check out RecyclingNearYou
- To learn more about how workplaces and businesses can be more sustainable, head to Business Recycling
- If you are a brand owner or packaging manufacturer who wants to get the Australasian Recycling Label on your packaging, contact the Australian Packaging Covenant Organisation
Author: Rachael RidleyRachael joined Planet Ark in 2019 after eight years working in media and publishing as a producer, editor and writer. Rachael is excited to use her skills in content creation and communication to instigate positive environmental behaviour change.
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