Working collaboratively to promote sustainable practice across the legal sector

News & Views

  • 22 January 2015 10:46 AM | Anonymous member

    Webinar Recording: 

    Creating a Paperless Law Office

    Catch up on this webinar from the which is based in the USA,. 

    During this webinar, Ernest Svenson (aka “Ernie the Attorney“), explained the ins and outs of transitioning to a paperless law office. Among other things, he covered:

    • Benefits & challenges in shedding paper in your firm
    • The roadmap & best practices for going paperless
    • Storing & managing digital documents
    • Myth-busting: “Paperless” is not paper free
    One interesting statistic we learned during the webinar was that 26% of the webinar attendees’ law offices were nearly paperless. Not bad!

    Webinar Recording

  • 21 January 2015 12:46 PM | Anonymous member

    Have you made a change at your firm that increased efficiency, reduced energy use, reduced paper or promoted better waste practices?

    Why not share it with your peers? 

    It doesn't have to be a grand or sophisticated program, just something that made a difference. 

    AusLSA would love to share your stories through blog posts or webinars. 

    You can also send through topics of interest or ideas for guest speakers that we could interview. 

    Email Emily with your suggestions. 

  • 21 January 2015 12:21 PM | Anonymous member

    AusLSA Events
    Welcome back! Hopefully you have had a long, refreshing break and are ready to leap in 2015 with renewed energy. Here are some sustainability events to get you started.
    Sustainability Champions Networks
    Join one of our Sustainability Champions Networks to meet with other legal staff  to discuss the opportunities and challenges of implementing more sustainable operations. In quarter 1, 2015 we will be focusing our discussions on energy efficiency with topics such as lighting, office equipment and Earth Hour. 
    Monday 16 February
    Wednesday 18 February

    Friday 13 March

    LSA Webinars
    AusLSA sister organisations, the Law Firm Sustainability Network (USA) and LSA (UK), are hosting webinars on topics that may be of interest to AusLSA Members. If you can cope with the time difference (!) you are welcome to participate. 
    LFSN: Scanning & Storing Processes
    Thursday 29 January
    More info
    LSA (UK) Carbon Reporting
    21 and 23 January
    More info

    Other Environmental & Sustainability Events

    Future of Environmental Law 
    The Law Council's biennial Future of Environmental Law Symposium focuses on topical issues in environmental law

    Sydney 6 March 2015
    More info
    Taming the File Cabinet: Paperless Essentials for Lawyers
    US-based webinar presented by and Clio on paperless best practice and law firm efficiency

    Online 27 January
    More info
    Masters of Sustainability & Social Change: Info Night
    OASES Graduate School presents an information evening to learn about the school and their Masters of Sustainability and Social Change 

    Melbourne 29 January
    More info
    Selling Sustainability
    A breakfast workshop hosted by Green Steps to help change agents gain the skills to ‘sell sustainability’ by focusing on common business needs, business language and the business case for sustainability

    Melbourne 9 February
    More info

  • 21 January 2015 11:43 AM | Anonymous member
    Did you know that 90 per cent of waste mercury-containing lamps end up in landfill each year?

    FluoroCycle is a voluntary product stewardship scheme that seeks to increase the national recycling rate of waste mercury-containing lamps.

    The focus of FluoroCycle is on the commercial and public lighting sectors, which account for the bulk of all lighting waste. Lamp recycling can help reduce the amount of mercury being sent to landfill. Once mercury is released into landfill it can spread to the wider environment. Mercury is a neurotoxin and is dangerous to humans. The contact details for lamp recyclers and collectors in each state and territory are listed on the FluoroCycle website.

    FluoroCycle awards Signatory status to organisations which commit to implement recycling of their waste lamps.  Signatories are listed on the FluoroCycle website and may be included in media releases, case studies, articles and recognition events. There is no fee to apply. Over 240 organisations have already applied for Signatory status with FluoroCycle. Any organisations with an Australian Business Number (ABN) can apply online at the FluoroCycle website.

    Australian Government Accreditation

    The Hon Greg Hunt MP, Minister for the Environment, officially announced the accreditation of the FluoroCycle scheme at an event held at the Sydney Opera House on 12 September 2014. Please click here for the Media Release.

    Accreditation is the Australian Government’s seal of approval for FluoroCycle. Accredited voluntary product stewardship arrangements are authorised to use the Australian Government’s Product Stewardship logo. FluoroCycle’s use of the logo will signal to business and the community that the scheme represents best practice for an Australian product stewardship initiative. For more information on Voluntary Product Stewardship arrangements please visit the Australian Government Department of the Environment website at the following link.

    Approved FluoroCycle Signatories have full use of the FluoroCycle logo to be used in conjunction with the Australian Government Product Stewardship logo for their communication material.

    Lighting Council Australia, the peak body for Australia’s lighting industry, is the Administrator of the FluoroCycle scheme. For more information contact FluoroCycle on, 03 9859 4545 or via email,

  • 21 December 2014 10:44 AM | Anonymous member

    Dear {Contact_First_Name}

    Kelvin O'Connor and I would like to thank you for your support of AusLSA in 2014 and wish you a relaxing and rejuvenating holiday. 

    2015 is already shaping up to be an exciting year with new programs and new goals.
    We look forward to working with you again next year. 

    Tips for a more sustainable holiday  
    For the Boxing Day party or just if you're sick of cold turkey...(from

    Wrapping paper mountain  
    Make sure your pile of wrapping paper goes in the recycling bin (or even better, saved for next year). You don't even need to remove sticky tape for most council's recycling facilities!  Don't buy foil or plastic wrapping papers - they have to go into landfill - FAIL! 

    Your holiday mission (should you choose to accept it): 
    10 best books of 2014 

    With best wishes for a peaceful and joyous New Year,
    Emily Wilson
    AusLSA General Manager



  • 18 December 2014 11:35 AM | Anonymous member

    AusLSA GreenThemes: Waste
    In this Issue:
     *  Harder to recyclable items  - a list of items being recycled at Australian law firms
     *   Recycling Go/No Go - a quick summary of what can and can't be recycled  
     *  Product Stewardship - buying the right product can simplify its end of life  
     *  Food - Food storage tips to reduce food waste  

    According to the 2014 AusLSA Report, AusLSA Member law firms have increasing facilities for recycling - this year the provision of organic waste facilities increased by more than 30%. It is also great to hear that building managers are taking a more pro-active approach, facilitating more recycling and even producing waste reports for tenants.

    But what more can we do? What else can we recycle? How do we recycle more of what we have?

     Harder to recycle items
    Law firms are recycling many things other than standard paper, plastic, glass, metal and organics. At our recent Sustainability Champions Networks we generated this list of harder to recycle items being repurposed in Australian law firms.

     Food    OzharvestBokashi bins
     Mobile phones    Mobile Muster or your local Zoo
     Spectacles    Lions Recycle for Sight and Rotary
     Work attire    Dressed for Success Fitted for work - workplace clothing swaps
     Printer cartridges    Close the Loop
     Lever Arch Files    Admiral Plastics (NSW) recycles their own lever arch files. 
     Electronic Waste    GiveNowTechCollect
     Batteries    Close the Loop
     Light globes    Fluorocycle - signatory program that facilitates fluorescent light recycling
     Furniture    Charities, staff auctions (for charity)
     Letterhead    Remade into A5 notebooks
     Computers    Donated to charities, schools, staff. Staff auction (for charity)
     Books    Workplace book swap  

    GiveNow   Provides a list of charities that accept donations 'other than money' including furniture, electrical, food, et al.

    Good360   Social Enterprise that helps companies to re-purpose office furniture and equipment by connecting businesses that have goods with charities who need them. 

    Reverse Garbage (NSW) 

      A community organisation that promotes reuse of items
    GreenCollect (VIC)    A social enterprise that collects office waste for re-use, upcycling and recycling. 

    Planet Ark Business Recycling   Good searchable database of recycling options.
    Givit   GIVIT is a grassroots charity that connects those in need with those willing to give.

     Recycling: Go - No Go
    What can or can't be recycled is often difficult to define, largely because it depends upon the facilities in each council. Generally, the guidelines below will apply, but please check with your local council if you have any questions.  

       Go No Go 
    Paper /
    • Envelopes (even those with windows)
    • Small amounts of food residue (eg empty pizza box)
    • Manila folders
    • Phone books
    • Newspapers and magazines
    • Staples and sticky tape are OK, but better it is better if they are removed. 

    • Waxed Cardboard - the wax doesn't dissolve
    • Tissues, paper towel and serviettes - are too weak for paper recycling (but can go in Organic!)

    •  Plastics labelled 1 -3 (definitely) and probably those labelled 4 - 6 
    • Bottle Lids
    • Liquids - OHS risk for waste staff
    • Soft plastics - bags, cling film - they get caught up in conveyor belts
    • Polystyrene
    • Plant pots - fertiliser contamination

    • Aluminium drink cans
    • Tin/Steel food cans
    • Small amounts of food residue
    • Aluminium food trays
    • Aerosol containers
    • Large balls of foil
    • Food remnants - it contaminates the trucks and facilities. But things don't have to be spotless. 
    • Coat hangers, pots, pans
    • Small pieces of Aluminium foil - but you can collect it together into a ball and then recycle it!

    • Drinking bottles
    • Food bottles
    • Leaving the labels on is OK

    • Other types of glass - drinking glasses, light bulbs, mirrors, windows - have different melting temps and contaminate recycled glass. 
    • Broken glass - waste is often sorted by hand
    • Lids
    • Liquid/Food stuffs
    • Food waste
    • Paper and cardboard heavily contaminated with food waste
    • Paper tissues, towel and serviettes
    • Meat, dairy, liquids - makes things smelly.
    • Onion, garlic, citrus - depending on composting method as worms don't like these. 
    Please note this is a guide only and tries to represent what is common practice in Australia...general disclaimers apply. 

     Product Stewardship
    Product Stewardship places more onus on producers to manage the impact of their products over the entire lifecycle of the product, not just during their manufacture. Examples include, South Australia's bottle deposit scheme.  Purchasing products that have good product stewardship from their manufacturers, can extend their lifespan and simplify disposal at end of life.  

    Here are a few examples - 
    Office equipment   FujiXerox have an zero waste policy including 'end of life'. Their resource recovery centre remanufactures or recycles 97% of products, printer cartridges. 

    Coffee pods   Nespresso Capsule Coffe Brigade recycle the plastic, coffee grounds and aluminium in coffee pods. 

     E-waste   - TechCollect - An organisation established by the technology industry to recycle e-waste, particularly TVs and computers.
    - Mobile Muster An organisation established by the mobile communications industry to recycle e-waste

    Carpets   InterfaceOntera and Cavalier Bremworth all have recycling schemes for their products

    Jeans   Nudie jeans offers a free of charge repair service (or will send you a repair kit)

    And in the spirit of Christmas - which is all about over-indulgence, isn't it? - here are some tips to reduce your food wastage. 

      According to this fantastic infographic, each year, Australia wastes:
    • $8 Billion worth of food equivalent to 4,000,000 tonnes
    • 345kg of food per household costing over $1000
    • 20% of all food purchased
    So what can you do to reduce food waste? Buy less is the first step.  But there is more.
    Check out these tips for food storage:
    • Store leafy greens and soft cut herbs in a vase
    • Cut up melon and put in a container
    • Store carrots, cucumbers, broccoli in separate containers

    Still Tasty
      This website provides useful info on best before and use-by dates and makes an important distinction between safety and quality. For example, frozen meat is safe to keep and eat indefinitely, the 3-6month recommendation is only about quality. 

    The site also provides some great tips on storage - did you know that rice, honey, white vinegar, cornflour, sugar and liquor NEVER go off??

  • 10 December 2014 5:10 PM | Anonymous member

    The 2014 Annual Report from AusLSA - Legal Sector Environmental Insight: Report of AusLSA Members 2014 - was launched in Sydney last Thursday by the Honourable Rob Stokes, MP, NSW Minister for the Environment. 

    Mr Stokes congratulated the legal sector for its commitment to sustainability and for taking steps to minimise the environmental impact of legal practice. He also stressed that sustainability was key to successful business as it promoted efficiency. 

    The event was held at Norton Rose Fulbright in Sydney. 

    An Summary of the Report and a copy of the Report is available here

  • 20 November 2014 3:51 PM | Anonymous member

    Levitt Robinson Solicitors is proud to be the latest of 41 members of the Australian Legal Sector Alliance (ALSA), an industry association working collaboratively to promote sustainable practices across the legal sector.

    Stephanie Carmichael, a Senior Associate at Levitt Robinson, said that, “The team at Levitt Robinson is dedicated to transforming the way we practice law in order to limit our environmental impact and to improve the sustainable management of resources.

    “Our new focus on sustainability will meet the increasing demand from clients on their lawyers to operate in a way that is environmentally friendly and socially responsible.”

    Ms Carmichael added that, “Being at the vanguard of environmental and socially sustainable practices in the practice of law will also complement Levitt Robinson’s existing reputation for promoting equality, diversity, access to justice, and human rights, as well as for being a responsible corporate citizen.”

    Levitt Robinson will be attending the launch of AusLSA’a “Legal Sector Environmental Insight Report” on 4 December 2014.

  • 10 September 2014 5:38 PM | Anonymous member

    AusLSA is pleased to announce that Baker & McKenzie have joined AusLSA.

    Here is some info on the Global Sustainability programs.

    As one of the first global law firms to establish a Climate Change Practice, our commitment to renewable energy and sustainability extends to how we do business. We understand that being responsible global citizens means protecting our environment.

    In our offices around the world, we continue to implement initiatives to reduce our environmental footprint. In London, for example, our lawyers and staff participate in a building-wide recycling program, dine in a cafeteria that provides sustainable food options and have access to bike racks and lockers to encourage green commutes.

    Our Australia office buys green electricity and has shifted to energy efficient lighting. Many of our offices also purchase carbon offsets for air travel of lawyers, staff and clients to help reduce greenhouse gas emissions. And we have numerous “Go Green” strategies, which include engaging our staff to conserve energy and resources.

  • 07 July 2014 11:11 AM | Anonymous member

    GreenThemes: Paper

    In this issue
    ~   Paper Management Survey ~  Saving Paper at home
    ~  Paper facts and Resources ~
     AusLSA Events
     Environmental Impacts of Paper
    In 1975, the head of FujiXerox Research predicted that the Paperless Office would be the norm within 20 years (ref). Nearly 40 years on, the introduction of electronic documents has merely fuelled the use of paper (one recent report calculated an annual growth rate of 25% for paper use by an average company).

    In the Australian legal sector, each person uses an average of 122kg of paper each year (and that is down by 11% since 2010!). See the AusLSA Report. 

    While there are definite advantages to using paper and there are also impacts from greater use of electronic devices, there is clearly scope for the legal sector to use less paper. Australian government employees use nearly 3 times less paper than legal!

    So with the start of our Paper focussed GreenTheme, here are some tips, facts and resources to help you start reducing paper at your firm. 

    Paper Management Survey
    • How does your firm manage and monitor paper practices? 
    • Do you print double-sided by default or by choice? 
    • Is the electronic file the file of record? What document management software do you use? 
    • Where is your firm on the path to paperless?
    The AusLSA Paper Management Survey is 11 quick questions that will provide insight into the common paper practices at Australian law firms. 

    • Have you changed a paper practice at your firm?
    • Have you introduced a paper change that you our proud of?
    Tell AusLSA and let us share it with others!

    Paper facts and resources

    Financial impacts   Using less paper saves money. 
    Switching to double-sided printing can reduce your paper bills by up to 40%. But did you know that the actual costs of using paper can be 10 TIMES the cost of purchasing paper because you will also be reducing:
    • Printer and copy inks and toners
    • Printer wear and tear
    • Associated stationery like folders
    • Storage space in the office and archiving
    • Postage costs
    • Manual handling costs, including in the office and retrieval from archiving. 
    Environmental Impacts  
    On average, each tonne of paper removed from commercial correspondence saves (ref):
    • 18 trees
    • 67,500 litres of water
    • 9,500 kWh of power
    • 3,300 kg of greenhouse gas emissions (CO2e)
     Useful websites  
    Print and post these messages to encourage your colleagues to think twice. 

    AusLSA Paper Posters
    Each person in the legal sector uses 122kg paper. Do you really need to print that?

    World Wildlife Fund
    Save Paper Save money Save Forests
    Environmental Impacts of Paper    How to minimise
    Climate Change
    The paper industry contributes 9% of total global carbon dioxide emissions derived from manufacturing and is often cited as the fourth largest industrial user of energy.

    Paper manufacturing also produces other greenhouse gases like Sulphur and Nitrogen oxides. 

    Carbon Neutral Paper Paper made from virgin pulp can be produced with zero net emissions from offsetting or if waste from the manufacturing processes is used to fuel the paper mill. 

    Look for manufacturers that have certified Environmental Management Systems (EMS) and publish Sustainability Reports. 

    Harvesting wood to produce paper inevitably impacts on wildlife and ecosystems.

    Producing pulp and paper involves significant volumes of water which can allow pollutants to enter water systems. 

    Harvesting wood can also impact on water catchments areas. 

      Paper made from recycled content or other waste reduces the need for pulp from forests. 

    One of the aims of good forestry management is to minimise their impacts on water catchments and animals. Look for FSC  (Forestry Stewardship Council) labelled products. 

    Again look for paper producers that have an EMS and publish reports on the sustainability of their practices. 

    When paper products end up in landfill they have a greater impact on the environment than if they were burned. When paper breaks down in landfill it produces methane, which is 23 times more potent than CO2 as a greenhouse gas.

      Make sure that all your paper products enter recycling waste streams. 

    Increase the value of recycled products and thereby encourage more recycling by purchasing more products made from recycled paper. 

    Saving paper at home                
    Get a free 'No Junk Mail' sticker Add your address to the
     'Do not mail' list
    Get the catalogue not the paper
       5 August  Discussion on e-filing and document management systems
       Sydney  7 August Let's talk about paper certifications, brands and environmental issues
      Brisbane 19 August General paper discussion and an opportunity to take a look at Telepresence 


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