Understand your entity’s waste profile
Start with a practical understanding of your organisation’s waste profile, including the type and amount of waste generated from daily operations.
The Australian Packaging Covenant requires Australian Public Service entities to commit to and report on the implementation of a materials recovery system for all office staff and, where possible, in nonoffice areas . In 2009–10, the majority of entities indicated that they had a recycling system in place for at least one or more sites. However, there is scope to improve recycling rates with approximately 45 per cent of packaging waste not being recycled in that year . Effective recycling and waste minimisation strategies have reduced landfill waste by up to 90 per cent for some entities.
Gaining a sound understanding of the types and amount of waste generated by an organisation is a first and fundamental step in developing an effective materials recovery system. A typical breakdown of day-to-day office-based waste is presented in Figure 3.1, according to waste types (also known as waste streams) .
Note: Co-mingled refers to mixed packaging material, such as glass, plastic and steel; organic refers to food and plant material that is readily biodegradable; and paper includes secure and unclassified paper.
The typical composition of daily office-based waste is well understood and generally does not vary widely between offices. Other types of waste, such as electronic equipment, used furniture and construction and demolition waste is more variable and depends on an entity’s function and size. Waste management strategies for office-based operations can be improved through the use of appropriate performance indicators and reliable data on the amount of waste generated in various streams.
|CHECK: Has your organisation identified the waste streams at its office-based sites?|
Performance Indicators and Targets
Waste can be measured in a number of ways, and generally includes a figure for each waste stream and the recovery rate of recyclable materials. Table 3.2 presents commonly used and comparable metrics for tracking an entity’s waste performance.
Note: Mass measurements are preferable and are considered more accurate than volume records.
While there is no Australian Government policy requiring the monitoring of amounts or percentages of waste generation, an increasing number of entities track their own progress using quantifiable performance indicators and targets. A mixture of aggregate and intensity measures is commonly used to monitor performance, usually mass per person, recovery rate and total amounts per waste stream.
|CHECK: Does your organisation have appropriate performance indicators to track waste management efforts?|
Some entities will be able to source waste data from their waste collection and service provider, which usually depends on the contractual arrangements and infrastructure of the service providers . In the absence of contractual requirements for the measurement of waste, entities can gather indicative data from waste audits and assessments.
 Non-office areas include public places, service delivery and office-based cafes. Measures to reduce litter in public places are beyond the office-based scope of this Guide.
 Former Department of the Environment, Water, Heritage and the Arts, National Packaging Covenant Annual Report 2009–10, p.3.
 Waste can be categorised in a large number of streams or types based on the content of the material, such as glass, paper and metal. In this chapter, reference will be made to common office-based waste streams.
 Some collection trucks have scales in-built while others do not. This will vary between providers and are less common in regional areas.
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