Previously almost 80 per cent of what is stripped out of the space was sent to landfill – that’s 25,000 tonnes of material a year just from Sydney’s CBD; 55,000 tonnes of waste if you include all commercial buildings in Sydney.
Tragically, much of the material is in still good condition and perfect for reuse, rehoming or recycling. With so many people in need, and businesses struggling to stay afloat, this really is shocking.
The Better Buildings Partnership has spent the past few years working with suppliers and contractors to demonstrate a better path.
Suppliers can now help you minimise waste in your next move.
You can explore the possibilities in The Green List Office Recycling section to find experts.
They can create inventories, identify what can be returned to the manufacturer, what can be refurbished – and they can even identify the latest colour palette. Some items might be remade into new products, which supports a circular economy.
According to Esther Bailey, sustainability program manager for the City of Sydney, successful office recycling is about planning ahead when a building or office is being de-fitted. It’s also about scale.
“It’s no good someone saying I’ll take this lever arch folder home, or this chair,” Esther says. “You need someone who can be there, Tuesday at 5pm, in the right shoes, with the right size truck, to take 500 chairs away – lifting safely from the knees – and rehome them appropriately.
“Through our work we’ve found people who can assist you with every step, and turn it into a simplified process.
“There’s now a whole bunch of skilled intermediaries servicing Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane. And we’re looking for more in Adelaide and Perth.
“If you need someone to help with haulage, storage or inventory – there’s someone there. If you need someone who knows all the charities and schools – because that’s where you want your office defit to go – there is someone who can do it.
“There’s a whole system of providers. For an existing tenant or someone about to commence defit, you can make some calls and know you’ve optimised recycling and re-use.”
In addition to helping tenants and owners to find suppliers, the BBP has produced a guide to contracting for defit.
Available on their website, it includes clauses to incentivise material recovery and a standard report format so that you can measure the outcome.
The good news is that nearly all recovery is cheaper than landfill. Every item reused or rehomed is a disposal cost avoided.
You can derive so many benefits from avoiding wastage and from specifying and using pre-used furniture and materials. If you’re not doing both, it’s time to get with the 80 per cent recovery program.