Working Green

Working Green

Office waste and recycling 

There are different office-based waste and recycling bin options available to you depending on the Campus you are located.   

Wollongong Campus office waste management

At Wollongong Campus the most common reason provided why people are not recycling correctly is that they don’t realise that their under desk bin is for recycling only.  If you are in an individual office space you should have a saddle for general waste (landfill) that attaches to the side of your bin.  If you are in an open plan or shared office space you should have a General waste(landfill)  bin to share.  Your recycling bin should not have a plastic liner bag.   If you have a plastic liner bags in your recycling bin or need additional bin in your area please contact environment_team@uow.edu.au  to discuss.

More information on the indoor office based waste and recycling bins at Wollongong Campus visit  the Wollongong Campus Indoor recycling program webpage.

Do you really need a bin at your desk?

Many workplaces no longer have bins at office desks.  Understanding and taking note of what you individually dispose of everyday highlights the amount of rubbish you generate and how much of it is recyclable and how much goes to landfill.  Simply by getting up from your desk and taking your rubbish to a bin helps to highlight how much rubbish you individually generate everyday.  Simple changes such as using a BYO cup for purchasing hot beverages, bringing and using a reusable drink bottle and purchasing items with recyclable packaging are important steps to reducing waste to landfill.  Consider voluntarily surrendering the recycling and/or General waste (landfill) bin at your desk.  Instead dispose of any waste using a shared waste and shared recycling bin elsewhere your work space.   Try using the shared bins for a week.  If you decide that it is something you want to do on a permanent basis then contact environment_team@uow.edu.au

Common problems with office recycling

Waste audits and visual inspections of recycling bins in office spaces at Wollongong Campus have identified some common items that should not be placed in recycling.  These items include:

·  Half eaten lunches and other food items

Food items cannot be recycled.  They can be composted.  Place them in your general waste (landfill) bin (preferably in your kitchen area to reduce smells and vermin issues).  Some kitchen areas have a bokashi bin which is a great composting system  that are managed locally by staff in your area.  Food waste bins are also being provided, where possible, in office kitchen areas.  

·  Tissues and paper towel

Although tissues and paper towels are a paper item they are a low grade paper product and are unable to be recycled.  Place them in your Food waste or General waste (landfill)  bin.

·  Drink containers (that are not emptied)

Please use the kitchen sink to empty the remaining contents of soft drink, water or juice before placing the empty bottle into recycling.

·  Soft plastics

 Plastic bags, soft plastic food wrapper and soft packaging plastic cannot be recycled via the normal recycling processes.  The recycling bins here at UOW are processed just like the recycling bins at home.  Soft plastics cannot be disposed and recycled via these bins.  They can be recycled but require a separate collection service.  UOW has a number of soft plastic bins at Wollongong Campus to collect this sort of plastic.  If you work in an area that generates large quantities of soft plastic and would like a soft plastic bin in your area please contact environment_team@uow.edu.au. If you generate large quantities of soft plastic on an occasionally basis please collect it and contact the environment_team@uow.edu.au to find out where you can place it for recycling.

Office Kitchen Food waste (Organics) Bins

Following a trial in several office kitchen areas, food waste collection services are being provided in office kitchen locations across Wollongong Campus to assist in diverting more of our waste from landfill. Waste audits have shown that our bins contain a high proportion of food waste and other organic materials. The food waste and other organic materials that are collected will be reprocessed into garden and landscape materials and high quality compost and contamination must be avoided so that the material can be used for this purpose.

The bins are lined with a lime green compostable bag. These bags are made from food starch (not plastic) so will compost with the food waste.

Please check signage on and above the bin and seek advice if required. A copy of the signage is available for download - Food Waste poster (pdf)

The food waste bins are serviced by the cleaners in the morning on a daily basis.   Staff can help by:

  • not over filling the bin
  • keeping the food inside the bin
  • closing the lid so not to attract pests or create odours

Please report any issues that you notice and provide feedback about this new bin to the Environment Unit environment_team@uow.edu.au so that we can address any problems.

 

Green Office Toolkit - Waste and Recycling 

Need more information on how to recycle or reduce waste in your work area?  How is your work area performing in regards to waste and recycling? The following documents have been prepared as part of a toolkit of resources for environmental champions and other interested staff to enable and support the office area to become more sustainable. 

How to conduct a visual waste audit (pdf)

Waste audit checklist (pdf)

Guide to plastic recycling (pdf)

Where does the waste and recycling go? (pdf)

Waste Bin poster  (pdf)

Recycling Bin poster (pdf)

Paper Bin poster (pdf)   

Food Waste Bin poster (pdf)

Recycling guides in different languages (brochures prepared by NSW Office of Environment and Heritage)

See also UOW Recycle Right webpage

Last reviewed: 24 August, 2017