Becoming a zero-waste business


In a retail environment, producing waste is an inevitable part of doing business. From product packaging to disposing of faulty or broken items, reducing the amount of rubbish that gets sent to landfill takes creative thinking, dedication, and a shared commitment from team members and suppliers to see waste in a new way, and turn rubbish into resources. 

To do its part in tackling the waste problem, Officeworks is committed to designing out waste in the first instance, and embracing the values of ‘reduce, reuse, repair and recycle’, whenever and wherever possible. In other words, finding new, innovative ways to give what was once rubbish a second life. 

During the year, Officeworks made good progress by reducing landfill waste by 32 per cent and recycling a record 91 per cent of all operational waste. This was achieved by its ongoing strategic approach to waste management, that includes having a deep understanding of their waste streams, supported with data analytics to identify the most appropriate solutions. Officeworks targeted problematic landfill streams including single-use pallets by transitioning to reusable pallets, damaged goods such as furniture by sending items to a repair site, and bulky items like polystyrene by implementing a centralised polystyrene recycling program, diverting 14,600 kgs of polystyrene from landfill during the year. These changes not only reduced the amount of waste sent to landfill, but also the physical size of bins its teams use and the associated waste expenses.   

Achieving its goal to become a zero-waste business relies on the everyday decisions each of over 8,000 team members make when they dispose of an item. Therefore, Officeworks continued to invest in behaviour change programs, including launching its ‘Becoming a zero-waste business guide’ that outlined the Four Steps to Less, with all team members completing an online training module aimed at identifying ways to design out waste. Additionally, Officeworks store teams’ recycling performance was integrated into their balanced scorecards as a key performance indicator to encourage consistently higher recycling results.   

These initiatives have helped Officeworks embed a culture of zero-waste in which team members are empowered to identify and implement innovation solutions. During the year, this resulted in trials such as implementing centralised metal recycling collection hubs, changing default receipt printing settings to on-demand to reduce unnecessary receipt waste, and setting up arts and craft repurpose bins to encourage customers to use offcuts for craft projects.  

Next year, Officeworks will continue to ensure its high standards of waste management are maintained and encourage its team to identify further opportunities to design out waste. Officeworks will complete a review of its current recycling streams and ensure all services and corresponding bins are optimised as it continue to work towards the goal of becoming a zero-waste business.