Repair, repurpose or recycle unwanted products
Officeworks recognises that Australians are increasingly looking for ways to dispose responsibly of unwanted goods, including e-waste which is one of the fastest growing waste streams.
As a large retailer of technology products, Officeworks launched its ‘Bring it Back’ program in 2015 as an easy way for customers to recycle computers, laptops, printers, ink cartridges and other accessories for free. This program has since expanded to collect a wider range of items including batteries, pens and markers, digital storage devices and mobile phones. Since 2015, Bring it Back has diverted over 7,000 tonnes of resources from landfill.
During the 2022 financial year, a total of 1,651 tonnes of unwanted products were collected from customers for recycling, an increase of 12 per cent on the prior year, even though collection was disrupted by COVID-related store closures. This volume includes the equivalent of 4.1 million AA batteries through Officeworks’ national battery recycling service, some 2.5 million units more than last year.
To make it easier to recycle pens and markers, Officeworks expanded collection points into classrooms across Australia. Some 273 schools were supplied with collection boxes and educational resources to encourage students to collect and recycle used pens, markers and textas. Combined with instore collections, during the year Officeworks collected the equivalent of 1.3 million units of pens and markers for diversion from landfill to recycling.
While recycling is important, repairing items helps to keep products and materials at their highest value for longer. Officeworks increased its focus on building repair capability, acquiring a 21 per cent stake in Brisbane-based social enterprise, The World’s Biggest Garage Sale (WBGS).
Since establishing the partnership in 2019, the WBGS has collected, repaired, repurposed and resold 289 tonnes of imperfect or damaged furniture from Officeworks’ Queensland stores. Working with WBGS, Officeworks plans to expand this program nationally under a new brand, Circonomy, supporting growing circular economy ambition through more repair and refurbishment of furniture and other items.