Stationery and office supplies giant Officeworks announced that it has launched a new customer recycling program targeting two of the products it sells that most commonly end up in landfill.
The free initiative allows customers to drop off batteries at its stores, as part of a partnership with Envirostream.
According to the retailer, the program was trialled in five of its stores — three in Victoria and one each in NSW and Queensland — and is now rolling it out across its network of 167 stores nationally.
It will be fully operational in all stores by the end of 2020.
Officeworks said that just 3 per cent of batteries used in Australia are currently recycled at the end of their life. It hopes the recycling scheme “provides a significant opportunity to make recycling batteries accessible for more Australians”.
Its other recycling initiative is for that of the humble pen.
A separate partnership with BIC will see the majority of Officeworks stores collecting used pens and markers to be recycled. That initiative is due to be in place “within the next year”.
The new schemes build on Officeworks’ 2012 Bring it Back campaign, giving its customers the chance to drop off used computers, laptops and accessories, mobile phones, cables, charges and DVDs/CDs to be recycled.
Since its launch, the retailer said it has collected over 4,800 tonnes of e-waste from customers that would otherwise likely have found its way into landfill.
“We know our customers want to dispose of their unwanted items such as batteries responsibly, and that they appreciate there’s value in recovering and reusing the materials. Providing our customers with convenient and effective recycling programs that make a real difference is really important to us,” said general manager, corporate affairs, Alexandra Staley.
Officeworks also said that it is making progress towards its goal of generating zero waste from its own operations, increasing the proportion of its waste being recycled to 82 per cent last financial year, up from 76 per cent the previous year.
Coca-Cola embraces recycled plastics
Also coinciding with National Recycling Week, drinks maker Coca-Cola Australia announced that 100 per cent of its drinks bottles of 600mL or less in size are now made from 100 per cent recycled plastic bottles.
That covers the Coca-Cola, Fanta and Sprite soft drinks as well as its Mount Franklin and Pump brands of bottled water.
“The plastic waste crisis is one of the most pressing issues of our time — one that we’re committed to help solve,” said director of sustainability Russell Mahoney.
“We know actions speak louder than words, which is why together with Coca-Cola Amatil we have made a landmark investment in recycled plastic in Australia to help support a viable domestic recycling economy.”
The company said that its juice and dairy brands will soon follow suit, in line with its commitment to making 70 per cent of its plastic bottles from fully recycled plastics.
Peter West, managing director of Australian Beverages at parent company Coca-Cola Amatil, said the company is on track to achieve this goal, which he said is a first for it in any country.
“Today we are well on track to meet that target and become a market leader in innovation as the first country in the world where all Coca-Cola bottles 600mL and under are made from recycled plastic,” he said.
“We’re meeting our target to bring our total use of recycled plastic to 16,000 tonnes this year.”
National Recycling Week 2019 runs from Monday, 11, to Sunday, 17 November. The program was launched in 1996 “to bring a national focus to the environmental benefits of recycling”, according to its website.
Both Coca-Cola Australia and Officeworks are sponsors of the initiative.
Earlier this year, the Australian Packaging Institute urged businesses against embracing compostable alternatives until widespread collection and composting infrastructure is put in place.
Meanwhile, 40,000 plastic bags were among the various items recycled and turned into new asphalt at a housing development under construction in WA, with the roads laid in June this year.