Inspired by ABC’s War on Waste, TSA’s Green Action Team brought some commotion to last week’s usually quiet Thursday lunch break. Over 24 hours, rubbish destined for landfill was collected by TSA cleaners and then emptied onto the ground of the Perth office’s courtyard. A visually confronting scene to show colleagues just how much is unnecessarily thrown away.
Armed with protective gloves, the Green Action Team waded through 200 litres of rubbish in front of onlookers. With City of Perth’s Business Waste Management Officer, Clint Aitken, providing guidance on what could and couldn’t be recycled, each item was sorted into its specific waste stream.
40% of the rubbish sorted was found to be commingled recyclable waste, from plastic drink bottles to cardboard boxes; an eye opener on poor habits of staff using one bin, rather than placing items into available recycling bins. “We’ll certainly be reconsidering our placement of general waste bins” stated Facilities Manager and head of the Green Action Team, Francis Stockwell.
Food waste and soft plastics made up a further 30% of the rubbish sorted. With Australians throwing away 3.3 million tonnes of food every year, resulting in unnecessary loss of water and the release of greenhouse gases, TSA are keen to curb their contribution to this. Likewise for soft plastics, “the number of plastic bags that end up in our waterways and hurt our marine life is so upsetting” commented Green Action Team member, Bryony Edmunds.
So, where to from here? TSA already has an innovative recycling hub, but the outcome of the general waste assessment provided a hands on presentation to staff on how much more could be done. From reusable cutlery and water bottles, to just a few extra steps to a more appropriate recycling bin, changes are within everyone’s reach.
“It was a great opportunity to educate staff on recycling, but it’s also given us (the Green Action Team) some ideas on what else we can do. I’ve already organised a soft plastics bin to be taken for RedCycle each week and have reached out to some local companies to see how we can tackle our organic waste” said Stockwell.
And boy, have they done it! In less than a week of their waste assessment, TSA has already moved their general waste bins out of view and made recycling the visible alternative. Organic bins, lined with compostable bags, have been placed in every kitchen and, rumour has it, they’ve even started discussions with local recycling company, Precious Plastics.
TSA’s Green Action Team is an employee-run group that focuses on promoting and encouraging sustainability. With an emphasis on supporting local initiatives, the Team aim to bring about change within TSA’s diverse and energetic culture, whilst also aligning with the values of our innovative partners.