Clayton Utz Brisbane Takes Responsibility to Reduce its Environmental Footprint.
Product Stewardship is a concept that we are going to hear a lot more about as the corporate world, both large and small, focus more on environmentally sustainable development.
Product Stewardship is taking responsibility for what happens both up and downstream to materials that an organisation consumes. Office paper is one of the largest components of those materials, making up more than 50% of the average office waste.
Australian law firm Clayton Utz has certainly taken the ‘Product Stewardship’ bit between its teeth as part of its ‘Footprints’ program in its Brisbane office at Riparian Place.
Clayton Utz is passionate about decreasing its ‘carbon footprint’ and is currently implementing the ‘Footprints’ strategy across all its offices with two clear objectives: to decrease consumption of purchased resources, and to increase the ‘product stewardship’ of the resources it buys in through its recycling initiatives.
When you consider that producing paper from virgin pulp takes considerably more energy than producing paper from clean recovered waste paper, the rationale for capturing this valuable resource at the source is clear.
In the Brisbane office, paper is collected for recycling through a unique ‘at source’ recycling bin, produced by Australian company Paper To Paper™. The compact, two-compartment bin fits neatly under each of the 300 desks in the Brisbane office.
The easy separation of the paper straight into the lower compartment of the bin means that used paper is kept flat and clean and is protected from contamination through other waste, which is put in the top compartment. This ensures that the waste paper can be recycled back into office paper retaining its embedded energy, rather than being ‘down cycled’ into cardboard and lower grade papers.
To guard against fraud and identity theft, Clayton Utz treats all discarded paper as sensitive and has it all collected for secure destruction. After secure industrial destruction through an accredited service provider, the paper is then sent for recycling.
An impressive 31 tonnes of paper is collected in one year from the Clayton Utz Brisbane office alone, for secure destruction and then recycling. This is 31 tonnes of used paper which is diverted each year from landfill or from being ‘down cycled’ to cardboard, and which can be reused as clean office paper.
The Paper To Paper™ bins are also strategically placed at multifunction printing, fax and photocopy centres, to capture waste paper generated here.
Operations staff members then transfer waste paper at these centres from the Paper To Paper™ bins into secure document transfer bins on each floor. The secure bins are then collected by Grace Records Management Services for secure destruction.
It is a simple strategy that makes a lot of sense in the ever more important quest to recover resources and live more sustainably. It also demonstrates Clayton Utz’s commitment to ‘product stewardship’ and minimising as far as possible their ‘ecological footprint’.