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Product Stewardship at Method

This post is part of a series where our co-founder Steven Korner will be talking about a range of topics – from design, to what it’s like to engineer a product in the sustainability space.

It sometimes feels like overnight Method has gone from India, myself and our young family to this international business with almost 30 staff. With the Ministry for the Environment’s Regulated Product Stewardship proposal, it feels like the right time to talk about what product stewardship looks like at Method.

In all honesty, we don’t have an official publicised product stewardship scheme currently, as it’s quite difficult logistically with our bins quickly making their way around the world. Further, as we have a sturdy and long-lasting product we haven’t had many bins returned to us that needed to be recycled.

Essentially, we have processes in place to deal with end of life stock, but it hasn’t been our highest priority to formalise it. Instead, we have focused on projects that have the largest impact now, such as introducing recycled materials in a circular fashion.

We find most of our customers get in touch with us with any concerns, returns or issues. But I’ll say it officially here now, we encourage any organisation that no longer needs their bins, find they have broken bins or otherwise to get in touch with our team here. We have a range of solutions for the end of life of any bins and accessories depending on where you’re located.

Most of the bins we’ve received back have been from organisations that have shut down, otherwise no longer need their bins, or parts that have been damaged due to mishandling in the delivery process. While these bins are no longer suitable for sale, most of them are still fit for use; so we refurbish these bins and donate them to deserving organisations and not-for-profits.

AWADS On world recycling day we gifted Auckland Whale and Dolphin Safari a set of refurbished bins as they continue their great work cleaning up the Hauraki Golf

This is important to us, as while we’re a recycling bin manufacturer we believe in reuse before recycling, as well as giving back to organisations doing good work - such as kindergartens, environmental organisations and support organisations. This happens in all of our locations - New Zealand, Australia and the UK.

Bins and parts are no longer functional, prototypes or production waste is fed back into the manufacturing of new bins in New Zealand. This is by far the easiest and best outcome for any products that can no longer be used. Due to the way the bins are designed and manufactured the plastic is chipped back down and added to the next production run. We’re lucky to have close relationships with our manufacturers and recyclers here in New Zealand, so if you get them back to us we’ll deal with the rest.

Product Stewardship Linked In Image

In Australia and the UK, this is all a little more difficult, as we don’t want to have them returned to NZ; this would generate wasted delivery costs and travel emissions. So we are taking back the bins and working with in-market partners to recycle and find the best possible end-of-life solution for the materials.

We as a manufacturer believe it’s important to have processes in place to ensure the products aren’t ending up in landfills or an incinerator. The materials we use in our products are a resource that should be maintained for as long as possible as we work towards a circular economy.

Profile: Steven Korner

Steven Korner graduated from the University of Canterbury with first-class honours in Mechanical Engineering.

After leading the neonatal care product design team at Fisher and Paykel, and inspired by buying Total Bins, he and his wife India decided to create their own company and their own product.

Steven took an analytical approach with Method – spending weeks researching, prototyping, and gaining customer insights to decipher what could really make a difference in the waste market.

As co-founder and CEO, he has spearheaded Method’s innovative product research, development and design, and is the creator of Method’s award-winning 60L Office Recycling Bin.

Any questions? Get in touch here.

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