Working collaboratively to promote sustainable practice across the legal sector

Clayton Utz: Co-mingled Recycling

25 January 2011 2:46 PM | Anonymous member

Clayton Utz: Co-mingled Recycling

Cost to implement

Purchase of new 3 in 1 bins (approx $3000)

Cost savings

It is hard to accurately measure and calculate the cost saving as it will be included in the buildings waste cost as part of the outgoings.  

As part of the waste review process, we monitored the use of our secure destruction bins more carefully and reduced the amount of pick-ups each quarter saving approx $6000 pa

Environmental impact/savings
  • Reduced landfill waste
  • Increased recycling, which means less paper, plastic and glass production
Implementation Issues


Introducing co-mingled waste services is a simple way to reduce your firm's impact on the environment and to encourage staff to consider their personal impact.

Programme details

In late 2007, Clayton Utz (CU) Melbourne commissioned Green Collect to carry out a waste audit, which involved collecting and labelling all of our tenancy waste for one typical office night for review by the Green Collect team. We had a sample of all waste including bins from under desks, kitchenettes, commercial kitchen, utility areas and paper recycling bins.

The main results of the audit included:
  • 60% of our waste going to landfill was paper based, including confidential paper;
  • 25% of our waste going to landfill was co-mingled recyclable;
  • 15% was considered landfill waste;
  • the few recycling bins we did have were not being used properly and had landfill waste contamination; and
  • the amount of general office waste (not including organic waste from the main kitchen, as we had outside food brought in for in-house catering purposes) going to landfill per floor each night was approximately 480 litres (ie 2 x 240 litre bins per floor).
We then reviewed our waste management and introduced new co-mingled recycling bins on all floors, new non-confidential paper recycling bins were located next to the existing secure paper destruction bins and a new 3 in 1 bin system replaced the 10 litre office bins under all desks. We also reduced the size of the communal landfill waste bins.

We communicated clearly to staff about the purpose of the bins and how they were to be used.

The following 24hr sample result was recorded 6 months later:
  • 0% of our landfill waste was paper;
  • 10% of our landfill waste was recyclable;
  • 10% of our landfill waste was organic (mainly from the commercial kitchen producing in-house catering which wasn’t in operation at the time of the 2007 audit);
  • 80% was considered landfill waste;
  • our recycling contamination was lower; and
  • the amount of general office waste (ie not organic waste from the kitchen) going to landfill per floor each night was reduced to approximately 40 litres (ie one garbage bag per floor) – less than 10% of the amount of landfill waste in 2007!
The new 3 in 1 bin system was the main reason for these improvements.

The smaller landfill bin forced staff to think about their waste and having a co-mingled and paper recycling bin under their desk made it easier to recycle.

As a result of our changes, we have a small increase to our weekly cleaning costs to support our 3 in 1 bin collection and a fortnightly contractor charge for our co-mingled content removal.

Engagement with building management is another factor in establishing a new waste collection system. Building management support us with e-waste collection and cardboard recycling. Organic waste is not supported by building management at all, but we plan to review the organic waste issue in 2011.

We have carried out three similar waste audits and spot checks since 2008 and it is pleasing to say these improved systems are still working and are now part of the Melbourne office culture.

More information

  • Green Collect:
  • Your building management, cleaning services and waste contractor
Prepared by

Jason Molin
Operations Manager
Clayton Utz

© 2018  |  Australian Legal Sector Alliance Limited  |  ABN 84 149 507 577  |  8 Exhibition Street Melbourne VIC 3000     |  T: 0407 676 575

Powered by Wild Apricot Membership Software