In July of last year we published a blog on how e-waste was contributing to the global plastics problem. Whilst the subject of climate change is getting a tremendous amount of attention currently, and so it should, the fact is that e-waste and plastics are definitely rated as one of the biggest problems both our planet and mankind face today.
Some of the facts we shared about this problem last time (via Our World in Data) included;
- Global primary production of plastic was 270 million tonnes;
- Global plastic waste was 275 million tonnes (and can exceed annual primary production through wastage of plastic from prior years);
- Plastic waste most at risk of entering the oceans is generated in coastal populations (within 50 kilometres of the coastline); in 2010 coastal plastic waste amounted to 99.5 million tonnes;
- Only plastic waste which is improperly managed is at significant risk of leakage to the environment; in 2010 this amounted to 31.9 million tonnes;
- Of this, 8 million tonnes – 3% of global annual plastics waste – entered the ocean (through multiple outlets, including rivers);
- An estimated 10,000s to 100,000s tonnes of plastics are in the ocean surface waters (several orders of magnitude lower than ocean plastic inputs).
And the facts on E-Waste are just as scary as plastics,
- Each year between 20–50 million tonnes of E-Waste are generated worldwide
- An estimated 700,000 tonnes of which are generated in Australia.
The Goals we Set
As a company, we made some big goals around the area of sustainability action this year, as we believe Calibre One could do better and hopefully inspire others in the corporate arena to join us. We made the goal of collecting more than 1 tonne of our clients’ E-Waste this year and to recycle more than 10,000 pieces of soft-plastic.
The Actions we Took
Calibre One put in place a sustainability team for this very task, and since the time of setting the goal, we have introduced 10 types of recycling programs to all Calibre One offices nationally, including;
- Soft Plastic
- Mixed (Co Mingle) Recycling
- Organic Waste
- Coffee Pods
- Printer Cartridges
With the help of our friends at EcoBin we were able to introduce special coloured bins for each type of recycling, along with signage to provide staff with a clear indication of which bins were to be used for which materials. Our sustainability team has done a great job at keeping team members at each office on their toes in using the right bins.
We also introduced an e-waste and recycling program for our customers where we collect all packaging created from new IT equipment purchased through Calibre One, as well as taking away old equipment and putting it through our e-waste management process.
The Outcomes to Date
Whilst it is still early days, we are now tracking estimates on the materials recycled so far. In just over six months, the numbers include:
- Soft Plastics > 78x 35 litre full soft plastic rubbish bags (estimated 100 pieces of plastic per bag, total 7,800 pieces of soft plastic)
- Cardboard > 236 KGs
- Mixed (Co Mingle) Recycling > 54KGs
- E-Waste > 637.5KGs
- Coffee Pods > 3,250 Pods
- Paper > 1x 60 Litre Bins (estimated 15 reams or the equivalent of 1 tree)
- Polystyrene > 6 cubic meters of recycled materials
- Printer Cartridges > 60 cartridges
We now send less than 5% of all waste to landfill through changes in our practices.
We are really excited by the progress made so far, it shows what good can happen when people apply thought and passion into redesigning systems that are sustainable in nature. We don’t want to just stop here though. We will continue to work on all of our practices to look at how we can become more sustainable.
The other goal we have set ourselves this year is to become carbon neutral. Work is underway to convert to renewable energy sources across all offices as well as a review of electrifying our fleet of vehicles and many other initiatives. We look forward to bringing you more updates on this as time progresses.
If you have any questions about the different programs we are running or how we can help you with you e-waste management in your IT environment, please visit our E-Waste services page.