Circular economy initiatives
Some of the key initiatives undertaken during the year are detailed below.
Bunnings is committed to achieving 100 per cent sustainable packaging by 2025. During the year Bunnings continued to work with suppliers to collect product packaging data to aid the optimisation of primary, secondary and tertiary packaging across the product range, with a key focus on directly sourced products.
Bunnings also continued to collaborate with suppliers to evaluate opportunities to reduce overpackaging of products and redesign packaging for reuse and recovery. Key achievements include removing unnecessary strapping from timber and decking ranges and replacing polystyrene with recyclable cardboard packaging within the kaboodle kitchen cabinet range.
During the year Bunnings also joined REDcycle in Australia and The Soft Plastic Recycling Scheme in New Zealand. Both organisations partner with manufacturers to recycle soft plastic into new products.
To assist customers with their sustainability journey, Bunnings introduced a 100 per cent recycled and recyclable paper bag solution for Click & Deliver orders across all Australian stores in February 2022. Bunnings also continued to integrate the Australasian Recycling Label (ARL) on new, directly sourced products, to help customers better understand how to divert packaging from landfill.
Product stewardship opportunities were a continued focus for Bunnings this financial year.
Following a successful trial in selected stores in Victoria, in November 2021 Bunnings introduced a National Battery Recycling program across its Australian network, to provide customers with an in-store recycling solution for household and power tool batteries. The program offers the largest network of power tool battery recycling locations in Australia. In June 2022, a similar program was launched across Bunnings’ New Zealand sites and Tool Kit Depot stores in South Australia and Western Australia. Since these programs commenced, over 65 tonnes of batteries have been collected for recycling in collaboration with Envirostream Australia.
Bunnings’ focus for the coming year will be to continue to increase resource recovery across the business. Bunnings will also accelerate the transition to reusable and recyclable packaging, whilst exploring additional circular economy solutions for customers and the community.
Kmart and Target continue to extend their use of recycled materials across a wide range of product categories, including activewear, outerwear, denim, swimwear, knitwear, footwear and bedding. Kmart Group also continued its participation in the Circular Fashion Partnership, a cross-sector project led by the Global Fashion Agenda, in partnership with Reverse Resources, Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers and Exporters Association and P4G, to develop long-term scalable solutions for capturing and reusing post-production textile waste. As of June 2022, Kmart and Target have 17 factories participating in the project and segregating waste, with the next step to find ways to re-direct the textile waste back into Kmart and Target product.
Product quality and durability continues to be a key focus for the brands, with quality playing an integral part of Target’s product strategy and positioning to deliver affordable quality to more Australian families. In February 2022, Target launched its ‘Life Tested’ marketing brand campaign, featuring a series of relatable stories from Australian families putting Target product to the test.
More information on Kmart Group’s sustainable products work is available here.
Officeworks is committed to designing out waste in the first instance, and embracing the values of ‘reduce, reuse, repair and recycle’. In financial year 2022, over 1,650 tonnes of unwanted products were diverted from landfill. Officeworks targeted problematic landfill streams including damaged goods such as furniture by sending items to a repair site, and bulky items like polystyrene by implementing a centralised polystyrene recycling program, diverting 13,438 kgs of polystyrene from landfill during the year.
Officeworks aims to optimise its cardboard recycling stream by investing in best-in-class cardboard balers. This has been piloted at several stores and has enabled Officeworks to increase the weight capacity of each cardboard bale from 100kg to 400kg. This waste and recycling program has not only helped reduce emissions and costs associated with transport, but the best-in-class balers have also benefited store teams by reducing the time spent and safety risks associated with baling cardboard.
These initiatives have helped Officeworks embed a culture of zero-waste which empowers team members to identify and implement innovative solutions. During the year, this resulted in trials such as implementing centralised metal recycling collection hubs, changing default receipt printing settings to on-demand to reduce unnecessary receipt waste, and setting up arts and craft repurpose bins to encourage customers to use offcuts for craft projects.
The Officeworks journey towards zero-waste has been supported by data analytics of operational waste to help diagnose which waste streams require further support. Overall waste disposal is down 6 per cent when waste and recycling is grouped together.
Through its Bring it Back program, Officeworks provides a number of options for repairing and recycling e-waste. Electronics often contain valuable metals and minerals, and by recovering these materials, they can be kept out of landfill and reused. In the 2022 financial year, Officeworks was accredited as a battery recycler by the Battery Stewardship Council and collected the equivalent of almost 3 million batteries which would otherwise have gone to landfill if disposed of incorrectly.
Another way Officeworks grew its recycling efforts this year was to expand its pens and markers recycling program into local schools. To support this program, the Officeworks community team supplied educational resources about recycling that help make caring for the planet easy.
Officeworks' partnership with the World’s Biggest Garage Sale took to the next step in its positive impact as Officeworks secured a 21 per cent stake in the business. Through this, Officeworks aims to expand the program into a national product recovery and repair network under a new brand called Circonomy. This initiative will help recover and repurpose damaged furniture within its store network and contribute to the circular economy.
With almost 40,000 products available for sale at Officeworks, a holistic approach is taken to reducing environmental impacts caused by product packaging by working with all its suppliers. With over 7,100 own brand products available, Officeworks' primary priority is to ensure the packaging on these products is recyclable or reusable. As of 30 June 2022, 99.8 per cent of Officeworks own-brand products meet these criteria.
Chemicals, Energy and Fertilisers
Buying new materials and disposing of waste are expensive and damaging to the environment. Adopting circular economy principles will ensure WesCEF is reducing the use of non-renewable resources, lowering carbon emissions, and saving on producing and disposing of materials. By capturing more value from materials and resources, divisional costs may be reduced.
Opportunity exists to find new markets for WesCEF’s waste and recycle instead of buying new products. 85 per cent of waste was diverted from landfill in FY2022. Nutrient-rich wastewater continued to be utilised by an external compost facility. Catalyst waste from the Ammonia/Nitric Acid and Ammonium Nitrate business is planned to be sold for metals extraction. Decontaminated Intermediate Bulk Containers continued to be returned to chemical manufacturers for reuse.
New recycling initiatives have been discovered through connections made with other divisions via the Wesfarmers Circular Economy, Plastics and Packaging Working Group, with divisions sharing information and assisting to achieve reuse and recycling of packaging.
Further improvement can be achieved by developing circular economy strategy and training staff and suppliers as well as expanding data collection processes to track mass and type of materials purchased or used. Better resourcing support and governance structures are required to overcome challenges to further develop a circular economy approach at WesCEF.
Industrial and Safety
Making better use of available resources and improving recycling capabilities are key to the Industrial and Safety division’s efforts to reducing waste to landfill. This extends to packaging as the division commits to the national packaging targets or industry equivalents and begins its journey on end-of-life for selected products.
Blackwoods has committed to zero waste to landfill by 2032. To achieve this, it holds monthly steering committees with its national waste provider and appointed a new role dedicated to identifying and leading improvement initiatives within the distribution centres, and ensuring the business remains on strategy. Blackwoods has also partnered with an external provider to ensure its e-waste is circular and is in the early stages of identifying its first product end-of-life circularity initiatives.
Coregas began phasing out single-use cylinders and adheres to the appropriate disposal and recycling of condemned cylinders.
Greencap launched its popular internal newsletter Eco News externally. The newsletter is a grassroots and efficiency education program created by Eco-Sustainability Committee members. The business is also a Clean Up Australia Day 2022 Gold Business Supporter and commemorated World Environment Day.
NZ Safety Blackwoods conducted targeted workgroups to deliver on improved waste streams management, which will continue in FY2023. An internal distribution centre packaging pilot provided good outputs, however all available options resulted in contamination of waste streams or a cost to the customer. Further work is underway to identify alternative solutions.
Workwear Group’s focus remained on reducing packaging and improving recycling capability of remaining packaging and finding viable solutions for garment end-of-life. A key priority is establishing a program to reduce use of virgin materials in fabrics, textiles, trims and packaging. The business also focused on recycled content of packaging and the ability for the consumer to recycle the packaging. Workwear Group now substitutes existing garment packaging with garment bags that have recycled content, and warehouse despatch satchels are made of 100 per cent recycled content. All packaging also includes instructions for the consumer on how to recycle it.
GRI 103-1, GRI 103-2, GRI 103-3, GRI 306-1, GRI 306-2, GRI 306-3, GRI 306-4, GRI 306-5