The thing so many people don't understand about managing waste is that it involves much more than just installing a colour-coded system with labels. If it were that simple, we would have no issues.

Suzannah Morrison, Sustainable Site Maintenance at McConnell Dowell.

First in class Recycling System by McConnell Dowell

McConnell Dowell, a partner on the Western Program Alliance (WPA) Level Crossing Removal Project in Melbourne, are the first infrastructure construction company in Australia to establish a 5-stream Method bin recycling system across their WPA project sites.

The industry-leading construction company are always looking for ways to improve their operations and have sustainability at the core of their decision-making as part of their commitment to continuous improvement. The recycling stations are designed to minimise waste going to landfill and increase recycling. Extensive work is being done to ensure they’re installing a system to create an effective mechanism for positive behavioural change.

20201016 143138 Bins and signage on-site

More Than Bins

Their Environmental and Sustainability Teams recognise that it’s not just about bins and labels. They were determined to establish a waste management system that would cover as many recycling streams as possible in the workplace. A system that could be replicated across many of their work sites. The bins are only one aspect of the waste management system.

To achieve the best results, they considered the end destination of each waste stream produced onsite. This involved understanding the waste management supply chain, working with more than one waste management company to ensure as much waste was recycled as possible.

Going this extra mile to ensure extra waste streams can be recycled was initially a challenge. However, once they had ascertained a clear picture of barriers facing successful recycling in Australia, and how the waste processing facilities needed waste and recycling to be separated, they were able to confidently establish additional bins for segregating materials that would otherwise be ‘comingled’ or ‘landfilled’. Also focusing on maintaining the quality of the separated materials meant they could then begin to educate the team through targeted specific signage on how to successfully use the system. Method bins are used for paper, hard plastics, soft plastics, landfill and organic waste streams.

The Team admit that the reality is recycling can be complex, with many ambiguities that lead to confusion. Subsequently, bins get contaminated and recycling is wasted (pun intended) with financial and environmental implications.

The Results

Within the first week of rolling out a 5-bin system, their waste to landfill was reduced by approximately 80%. In particular, the customised signage above the bins, education and encouragement around recycling has exceeded expectations. The intuitive bins have reduced contamination rates to an incredible 2%.

The Team are also aware that their largest recycling stream, organics, achieves a twofold benefit. Firstly, harmful methane and carbon dioxide (CO2), two potent greenhouse gases, are reduced. Secondly, the organics are sent to be transformed into a rich soil enhancer to grow more food - so it’s no longer waste. Often forgotten, organic waste in a landfill produces Methane, a greenhouse gas 30 times more potent than CO2, accounting for 17% of the world's greenhouse emissions.

These amazing results have allowed McConnell Dowell to continue to roll out the system across their sites and set even more ambitious targets on waste reduction and recycling, setting them on their journey to the ambitious target of zero waste to landfill.

Why Method?

We love learning and growing from our customers sharing their experiences with us, particularly those who are leading in their industries. It’s clear that McConnell Dowell is committed to making a difference, so we asked why Method compared to other offerings? Their response cited that the deciding factor for investing in a Method bin system was that it offered a hugely flexible recycling system which could be customised to their individual needs.

"Working with a company like Method has been a game-changer in helping raise the quality of recycling. It’s been a successful collaboration leading to a tailored recycling system which, if required, can be adjusted over time."

The Environmental and Sustainability Teams at McConnell Dowell believe that “for any organisation serious about waste reduction and clean recycling, Method is in a class of its own.”

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