Repairing, repurposing, or recycling 17,000 tonnes by 2025
E-waste, or electronic waste, is one of the world’s fastest growing waste streams and in the past five years e-waste has surged by 21 per cent. Officeworks recognises that customers are looking for ways to dispose of their e-waste easily and responsibly, in addition to other hard to recycle items.
The good news is there are great, accessible options for repairing and recycling e-waste. Electronics often contain valuable materials such as metals, and by recovering these materials, we are able to keep them out of landfill and use them again and again.
Since launching the Bring it Back recycling program in 2015, Officeworks has collected over 5,600 tonnes of products to be recycled or repaired from their customers. Officeworks is committed to making recycling free, easy and secure, and this year completed the installation of new and improved recycling stations at all Officeworks stores. The new units enable a wider range of products to be collected, including batteries, pens and markers, digital storage, mobile phones and computers and accessories. As a result, Officeworks saw a 39 per cent increase in the volume of products collected from customers to be recycled, with 1,474 tonnes of unwanted products diverted from landfill during the financial year.
With only an estimated 10 per cent of batteries currently recycled in Australia, Officeworks was excited to launch a national battery recycling program during the year. Thanks to its customers, this year Officeworks collected the equivalent of almost 2.5 million AA batteries.
Officeworks also launched a national pens and marker recycling program, in partnership with BIC. In addition to offering collection points in store, team members have begun encouraging local schools and childcare centres to recycle their old writing instruments by providing them with recycling boxes that can be returned to Officeworks when full.
Officeworks continued its partnership with the World’s Biggest Garage Sale in Queensland, in which its team repairs and repurposes imperfect furniture sent to them from Officeworks’ Queensland operations. During the year, Officeworks completed an assessment of the initial pilot and determined that the program achieved all three key objectives; it supported stores to increase recycling rates to above 90%, it operated as a cost-neutral exercise, and it provided feedback into product improvements to reduce instances of damage. As a result, this program is now operating as a business-as-usual initiative, with a total of 155 tonnes of furniture having been repaired or repurposed, extending the life of items that would have otherwise been sent to landfill. Officeworks partnership with The World’s Biggest Garage Sale was formally acknowledged at the 32nd Annual Banksia Sustainability Awards, being awarded The Banksia Foundations Minister’s Award for the Environment, presented by the Hon Sussan Ley MP, Federal Minster for the Environment.
With Officeworks’ new recycling programs established, its attention will turn to increasing customer participation by reminding them to bring in their old tech and stationery to Officeworks, keeping it out of landing and giving it a new life. They will also explore ways they can support the World’s Biggest Garage Sale to expand into other states to keep more imperfect furniture out of landfill and in the economy for longer.