EPA’s environmental performance

EPA's management of waste


Achievements

How we manage and measure waste is of extreme importance to EPA — whether it is increasing the integrity of the waste data we receive, educating staff on avoiding, reducing and recycling waste, or working with our waste management providers to continually improve their services.

Some of the achievements we have made in the last five years include:

  • introducing organics recycling at all offices so that all kitchens have a three-way bin system, including commingled recycling, organics recycling and general waste
  • paper, secure document, printer toner cartridge, electronic waste and stationary recycling at all offices
  • ongoing staff education, including a week of dedicated waste education activities for staff
  • staff incentives provided to avoid food and hot beverage packaging
  • regularly updating bin signage to empower staff to make the right bin choice
  • all printers configured to print double-sided by default
  • PIN (or locked printing) available to all staff, so that they must activate each print job at the printer
  • over 80% of construction materials recycled when EPA's head office was retrofitted to become a 6-star building.

To further improve the quality of the waste data that EPA collects, the external waste and contamination audits were increased from yearly to quarterly at EPA’s two biggest sites, head office and Macleod. This not only helps improve the accuracy of the data by averaging four sets of data as opposed to one, but also allows us to communicate these results more frequently to staff, to encourage behaviour change.

Whilst we are always looking to improve the ways we can avoid waste generation at EPA altogether, EPA has a target to increase the rate of recycling to 85% of all waste generated and decrease the amount of waste going to landfill. With clear signage on bins and consistent messaging across all offices, EPA's current overall rate of recycling is 81.5% based on regular professional waste audits that are undertaken at all EPA sites. EPA reduced the waste generated per full-time employee (FTE) by 10% between 2011-12 and 2013. This is largely due to successful waste education for staff that took place over this time.

EPA has also achieved a 4.5 star certified NABERS waste rating for its waste management performance at head office. On a scale from 0 to 5, 4.5 stars is close to Australian best practice and jointly the highest tenancy rating in Australia.

Future actions

EPA's main waste goal in coming years is to work on waste avoidance and reduce the overall waste produced per staff by implementing projects such as:

  • swipe printing, so that staff must swipe their employee pass to release print jobs, eliminating unnecessary printing
  • transitioning to electronic document management
  • increasing the number of paperless meetings
  • embedding EPA’s sustainable procurement policy, which focuses on eliminating unnecessary purchasing.

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Page last updated on 6 Mar 2014