Why should businesses go green?
According to a report by Griffith University, Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) and green procurement remain high on the agenda for many companies and organisations operating in Australia and worldwide.
With consumers becoming increasingly more conscious of environmental issues, adopting sustainable business practices can help you stand out from the competition and be recognised. As well as the obvious environmental benefits.
Producing waste is an inevitable part of almost any business, but how Melbourne Business School, one of Asia-Pacific's Top Ten schools, manages waste produced on its on-campus foodservice outlets is making a big difference.
How Melbourne Business School are reducing negative environmental outcomes with compostable packaging
Melbourne Business School (MBS) wanted to reduce the negative environmental impacts associated with single-use disposable packaging sold via campus foodservice outlets.
They recognized that the appetite for single-use disposables isn’t likely to diminish, and looked for a more environmentally-friendly alternative that would align with their sustainability strategy.
MBS have greened their foodservice offering by switching to BioPak compostable packaging and joining the BioPak Compost Service – which facilitates the collection of used BioPak compostable cups and packaging, along with food and organic waste produced at MBS.
Looking for a more sustainable solution
As part of their overall waste management strategy, MBS always looking for innovative ways to reduce waste. And the current recycling crisis in Australia made MBS look at the whole supply chain in the context of the circular economy.
‘At MBS, we need to be responsible and accountable for the waste we produce and dispose of, as well as providing our staff and students with the option to use more sustainable alternatives’, says Facilities Manager, Mark Edmonds.
Single-use disposables are used at on-campus foodservice outlets, and with the appetite for single use items unlikely to diminish and MBS needed to consider the life cycle and impact of that item when making selections as a business.
When Mark researched this further and found out more about the BioPak product range and services, and learned that composting infrastructure and technology is already available, it was clear compostable packaging was the logical solution.
Making the decision to switch
As advocates for sustainable business practices, MBS wanted to lead by example and reduce the waste produced that leads to a landfill. Switching to compostable single-use disposables and the BioPak Compost Service is part of their sustainability strategy and complements existing recycling services.
Environmental sustainability was a given, so it was also important to look at the practical things – like easy ordering, fast delivery, and great range of products.
Mark says ‘BioPak offer a circular solution and from a business perspective made it so much easier to move into this area.’ His concerns around sustainable packaging still ending up landfill were addressed by the BioPak Compost Service.
Implementing a composting program
When MBS decided to implement a composting program, the motivation was certainly to try and reduce waste-to-landfill. ‘Reading about programs operating successfully in San Francisco and other parts of the world, it’s hard to see why Australia lags so far behind.’
Forward-thinkers, MBS felt in the near future composting programs would become the norm and possibly mandatory for all businesses. As a business school, MBS wanted to set an example.
Having had some experience with composting and gained exposure to permaculture principles and gardens along the way, Mark developed a keen interest in waste minimisation.
Mark says ‘At MBS, colleagues were already arranging to take the coffee grounds off-site to local community gardens. Individuals were making big efforts, so as a business it was time to develop a robust strategy.’
MBS were using a compostable BioCutlery and trialling a compostable BioBowl in the new MBS Hub cafe. Mark really wanted to test this and see how far we could take this in a commercial sense on a much larger scale at MBS in reducing our waste on site. And with that, all the pieces were in place to launch a commercial composting program. ‘It was a natural progression and with BioPak, it became a really easy transition to make’, says Mark.
How the program was received
While initially there was some trepidation, following the launch, the composting program was received really well. Mark says ‘it’s a testament to the people involved, especially in unseen areas like our kitchens with support from chefs and catering staff, who were willing to try new things and change habits’.
‘I think showing people the benefits and bringing them along promotes staff investment in what we’re trying to achieve. They then, in turn, became advocates. I think we can also take pride in this.’
Diverting resources from landfill
Currently, MBS are diverting between 2,000 and 3,000 kilograms of compostable waste, that previously went to landfill, each month. By simply doing this MBS are preventing the creation of harmful emissions, reducing waste-to-landfill, and removing the need for conventional plastics within the business.
Where to next? Mark says ‘what would be really great is to reach a point where landfill makes up a fraction of our waste and as technology and new products emerge compostable waste will increase’.
At BioPak, our vision is a world without waste. Join our movement towards zero plastic, choose compostable packaging and sign up to the BioPak Compost Service which can turn your packaging and food waste into nutrious soil within 8 weeks. biopak.com/compost