Great Things Come in Small Packages

Great Things Come in Small Packages

 

Great progress has been made in the development of ANZRP’s first mobile e-waste factory whose purpose will be to service the needs of regional and rural Victoria.

Neatly fitting in a 40-foot shipping container, this facility will provide onsite e-waste processing capabilities leading to the stripping of materials and processing of plastics.  Assisting ANZRP achieve even greater efficiencies of scale that can ultimately lead to reduced processing and handling costs, the facility will be operated through various sites in Victoria, providing local governments with close and reasonable access to much needed e-waste services.

A first of its type in Australia (if not the world), this ground-breaking approach will revolutionise the management and processing of e-waste providing large and small communities with affordable and dependable recycling and processing services. Additionally, ANZRP is speaking to high profile social enterprises in a bid to staff the service through with their personnel.

The project has achieved a number of critical milestones, including the finalisation of designs, the sourcing of equipment, obtaining liability and property insurance, and selecting a suitably qualified engineering firm to construct the facility.

Its launch has been somewhat affected by the COVID-19 outbreak and has been re-scheduled for September 2020.

 


New Zealand Pilot Program

New Zealand Pilot Program

 

In response to the COVID -19 pandemic, from midnight 25 March until further notice New Zealand took the unprecedented step of declaring a level 4 emergency and going into lockdown until April 22, where it will be reviewed and possibly extended.

Speaking to the people of New Zealand, Prime Minister Ardern said "We need as many businesses as possible to close now if our one shot at beating the virus is to be successful."

Ardern implored people to stay home and act like they have COVID -19. "Every move you make could be a risk to someone else."

As a result of these sweeping changes, TechCollect’s retail collection partner OfficeMax has closed its doors, and will no longer be offering e-waste collections.

ANZRP is closely monitoring this situation and will provide an update to members as the situation evolves.

At this stage, ANZRP has been in contact with OfficeMax, and the New Zealand Government. Information has gone out our social channels advising community of the closure and requesting people temporarily save their e-waste until further notice. Additionally, the New Zealand website has been updated to reflect this temporary suspension.

 


ANZRP Celebrates Net Positive Environmental Impact

ANZRP Celebrates Net Positive Environmental Impact

 

Working with members, collection partners and community, ANZRP delivers outcomes that are not only environmentally but socially beneficial. As a not for profit our focus is simple - to achieve a positive outcome with a net benefit to the environment and to community.

ANZRP is committed to monitoring, measuring and managing the environmental impact of its activities.

Every year, we engage Australian life-cycle assessment research firm – LifeCycles, to investigate the impact of our services. Lifecycles undertakes independent assessment of our program, evaluating environmental benefits across the supply chain relating to carbon emission savings, energy consumption savings, water use reduction and particulate matter emissions from diesel vehicles.

As a valued member, you would have recently received a report highlighting the net benefits your contribution has made to the environment over the past twelve months. At the same time, ANZRP made public its net positive environmental impact since commencing collections in 2012.

Over this period of time, more than160,000 tonnes of e-waste has been recycled by TechCollect. We are immensely proud of this result and would like to share with you its impact:

  • From an energy usage perspective, we have saved more than 2.7 million Gigajoules of energy usage. This is equivalent to the annual energy consumption of 19,725 Australian homes.
  • From a carbon emissions perspective, we have prevented over 190,000 tonnes of CO2 emissions from entering the atmosphere. This is equivalent to planting more than 2.8 million trees.
  • From a water use perspective, we have saved more than 990,000 cubic metres of water. This is equivalent to the annual average Australian household water consumption of more than 4,800 homes.
  • From a particulate matter emissions perspective, we have prevented at least 268,000 kilograms of particulate matter emissions from entering the atmosphere. This is equivalent to removing over 270 million kilometres of old diesel truck travel from Australian roads.

We have developed a slide pack we are happy to share with you and your stakeholders. You can access it here.

 


COVID-19 Update

As we all enter uncharted territory locally and globally, we wanted to provide you with an update on how we’re continuing our e-waste collection and recycling service operationally, with the health and safety of our workers and partners a priority in all our decisions.

At this stage, it is business as usual for TechCollect, with some small changes. We are continuing to provide the service as best we can, considering variabilities across our supply chain and noting that circumstances are changing daily.

Our >250 collection sites currently remain open and are accepting e-waste. Should any site close we will endeavor to update you as soon as possible – however if you are considering dropping any material off, we recommend you contact the site to check they are still open, as we may not know straight away. Please also practice extra levels of precaution – wipe your items with disinfectant before dropping off, and if possible avoid giving your e-waste to a member of staff, and rather ask if you can place it directly in the collection bin. This may not always be possible, so be respectful of workers assisting you.

Currently, all of our recycling partners are operating as normal with some small changes implemented, ensuring all preventative measures possible are in place to protect the welfare of their staff. We have been in touch with them on a regular basis to confirm this, and for now all sites are continuing to process e-waste.

Our logistics providers helping transport e-waste from A to B are also operating as normal, again with some small changes to ensure best practice for the welfare of their staff. Couriers and drivers are not requesting signatures on PODs, rather opting for a name, reference number or even photographic evidence of delivery. For anyone interacting with these providers we ask that you accept and work with this, and any future changes implemented, recognising they are there to protect everyone.

For our collection partners, we ask that you advise TechCollect of any changes in your situation, such as opening hours, delivery/collection restrictions and contingency plans if required to close sites. Conversely, we will of course continue to update you on changes to our service.

Our office staff are now all working remotely from home, and we have moved all non-essential meetings to Zoom and Microsoft Teams. Should you need to contact us our phone lines are still operational, so please don’t hesitate to get in touch.

Working from home is a new thing for many of us, so we’re working to stay connected through regular video calls, and have made our new Employee Assistance Program available to staff via phone, should they need it. There have been loads of resources circulating in the past few days about staying mentally and physically healthy when working from home, and we’re helping our staff to do this in their own way. We’ve also made sure all staff have an appropriate ergonomic set-up.

As we adapt to working from home, meanwhile our regular local small business suppliers of services like catering are taking a hit. We’re thinking of ways to continue to support our local businesses as we recognise they will be doing it tough over the next few weeks, if not months.

The circular economy and the industry in which we operate has really progressed in recent years, and we are committed to continuing to drive recycling and circularity during challenging circumstances. How we adapt will be crucial to ensuring we keep moving forwards, we keep e-waste out of landfills and we continue to protect our environment.


ANZRP introduces Employee Assistance Program

One in five Australians will experience a mental health condition in any given year. PwC estimates that absenteeism resulting from employee mental health conditions costs Australian businesses $4.7 billion per annum, equivalent to 1.1 million days’ sick leave.  91% of workers in Australia believe mental health in the workplace is important.

ANZRP is currently implementing its first Employee Assistance Program (EAP), a voluntary and confidential service to help employees at all levels who have personal concerns that affect their personal wellbeing and/or work performance. This generally takes the form of employer funded counselling sessions for those staff who require assistance.

As a certified B Corporation, we are committed to constant improvement of our practices. Under B Corp certification, workers are a key category against which performance is measured, and we know that employee wellbeing is a factor that jobseekers are increasingly searching for. Engaging an EAP service allows employees access to support from independent and impartial professionals who can better equip them for challenges and change.

Employers face an evolving, fast-paced business landscape, and there are countless benefits to taking a proactive approach to staff wellbeing – not to mention the risks of falling behind.

ROI benefits

A report by PwC and Beyond Blue on Creating a mentally healthy workplace – Return on investment analysis outlined the ROI benefits of implementing mental wellbeing initiatives. It found mental health conditions present substantial costs to organisations. However, through the successful implementation of an effective action to create a mentally healthy workplace, organisations on average can expect a positive return on investment (ROI) of 2.3. That is, for every dollar spent on successfully implementing an appropriate action, there is on average $2.30 in benefits to be gained by the organisation. These benefits typically take the form of improved productivity, via reduced absenteeism and presenteeism (reduced productivity at work), and lower numbers of compensation claims.

Employee retention

Offering EAPs to employees demonstrates the employer is genuinely concerned about the employee’s happiness. It’s reported that 51 percent of employees stay at a job due to positive relationships with co-workers. EAPs can assist with conflict resolution and provide tools to handle workplace challenges.

Risks

Legal Considerations

Employers have a duty of care under workplace health and safety legislation, including the Occupational Health & Safety Act (2004) (Vic) , to provide and maintain (as far as is reasonably practicable) a safe workplace. These statutory and common law duties extend to risks to employees’ psychological safety, as well as their physical safety.

Absenteeism

Given that untreated mental health conditions (including workplace stress) result in over 6 million lost working days and 12 million days of reduced productivity every year in Australia , providing access to professional support through an EAP can help employees resolve workplace stress and prevent burnout before issues become overwhelming and potentially result in lost working days and reduced productivity. Based on a current Australian workforce of 13 million this equates to an average of 1.38 days of lost productivity per employee, per year.

Presenteeism

Presenteeism, where people are less productive in their role due to factors like workplace stress or a mental health condition, is estimated to cost Australian business $6.1 billion a year. This cost is based on the assumption that workers are 50% less productive. This figure is then multiplied by the amount of time the person is assumed to be working but is less productive than normal.

The business case is clear

The business environment is rapidly changing, and the speed of this change in some areas can catch even the most resilient of workplaces by surprise. Aside from ‘seeming like the right thing to do’, providing proactive mental health initiatives makes business sense. Many businesses fund physical preventative health initiatives like ergonomic assessments, equipment and flu vaccinations, and mental wellbeing programs are no different.


ANZRP recognised as a “Best For The World” B Corp

 

ANZRP has been named a Best For The World honouree by B Lab in recognition of its significant positive impact in its innovative governance structures to protect the mission of our business. Ranking in the top 10% of all B Corps for our governance impact, ANZRP earned this honour because of our overall mission, ethics, accountability, and transparency.

Best For The World recognition is administered by B Lab, the global nonprofit that certifies and supports Certified B Corporations, which are companies dedicated to using business as a force for good. Today there are 3,000 Certified B Corporations across 64 countries and 150 industries, unified by one common goal: to redefine success in business.

B Corps meet the highest standards of verified social and environmental performance, public transparency, and accountability to balance profit and purpose. B Corp Certification doesn’t just evaluate a product or service, it assesses the overall positive impact of the company that stands behind it.

“We’re incredibly proud of this year’s Best For The World honourees,” says Anthea Kelsick, Chief Marketing Officer of B Lab. “These inspiring companies represent the kinds of business models and impact-driven business strategies that are building a new economy—one that is inclusive, regenerative, and delivers value to all stakeholders, not just shareholders.”

ANZRP was measured on whether it has adopted a social or environmental mission, and how it engages its employees, board members and the community to achieve this mission. This section of the B Impact Assessment also measures employees’ access to financial information, customers’ opportunities to provide feedback, and the diversity of the company’s governing bodies.

ANZRP made this list thanks to our mission being inherently in the interest of the environment – engaged in product stewardship and promoting recycling. Social and environmental performance is also built into formal board decision-making processes and board and staff KPIs, and our formal governance processes are transparently managed by the board and its three sub-committees.

1,000 B Corps from 44 countries were named to the 2019 Best For The World lists, including Patagonia, Beautycounter, Dr. Bronner’s, TOMS, Seventh Generation, and Greyston Bakery. The 2019 Best For The World honourees are determined based on the verified B Impact Assessments of Certified B Corporations. The full lists are available on https://bcorporation.net/.  ANZRP’s B Impact Report can be seen at https://bcorporation.net/directory/australia-and-new-zealand-recycling-platform.

 


ANZRP receives certification just in time for B Corp Month

ANZRP is excited to announce it recently attained B Corporation certification.

It is the first e-waste recycling organisation in Australia to be accredited as a B Corp certified service provider.

Certified B Corporations meet higher standards of social and environmental performance, transparency, and accountability, balancing profit and purpose.

CEO Warren Overton said that perseverance through the rigorous certification process will set the company apart from other players in the industry.

“Our team worked tirelessly over months to complete the assessment and provide the evidence required to achieve certification, and we are thrilled to have that effort rewarded,” Warren said.

“The process however really began seven years ago upon inception of the business, as ANZRP’s mission and governance procedures built from the beginning paved the way for the impact we have been able to achieve.”

B Corps are leaders of the global movement of people using business as a force for good. There are over 2,700 Certified B Corporations from more than 150 industries in 60+ countries with one unifying goal – to redefine success in business.

The certification comes just in time for B Corp Month, an awareness campaign promoting B Corporations and what it means to be part of the community.

ANZRP joins an impressive community of global for-purpose brands including Patagonia, Ben & Jerry’s, Australian Ethical, Intrepid Group and Klean Kanteen.

The performance standards B Corps meet are comprehensive, transparent and verified. Unlike traditional corporations, Certified B Corporations consider the impact of their decisions not only on their shareholders, but also on their stakeholders (e.g., workers, suppliers, community, consumers, and the environment).

As a not-for-profit organisation operating to the highest health, safety and environmental standards, ANZRP’s vision is to ensure maximum amounts of precious resources are captured and used in the manufacture of new products, and materials are handled in a way that does not cause harm to the people managing them.

Warren says this certification also means recognition among new markets.

“As a multi-industry benchmark of performance known and understood beyond the e-waste industry, attaining B Corp certification will open doors for ANZRP.”

Key activities which contributed to certification include:

Governance

Mission – We are a not-for-profit company and the objects of our constitution focus on being a Co-reg under the Product Stewardship Act, performing product stewardship and promoting recycling. If the company winds up, any surplus funds are to be transferred to a similar organisation who applies profits to similar objects.

Decision-making – Social and environmental performance is integrated in Board decision-making processes and Board and staff KPIs.

Ethics and transparency – We employ formal governance processes managed by the Board and the Board’s three sub-committees (Audit, Risk and Governance sub-committee, Sustainable Business Growth sub-committee and Nomination and Remuneration sub-committee).

Community

Diversity, equity and inclusion – We celebrate a diverse team of staff in terms of gender, age and ethnicity, and strong female representation at the Board level.

Local suppliers – High proportion of suppliers are local with a significant amount employing workers who are disadvantaged (low income communities, long-term unemployed, disability sector).

Advocacy – Strong advocacy program at the Federal and State level to improve and implement product stewardship and recycling programs and improve industry standards.

Supply chain – Rigorous supplier evaluation, selection and due diligence program.

Environment

Product stewardship – Collection, transport and recycling of e-waste across Australia through our TechCollect program.

Resource conservation – Independent life cycle assessment of our supply chain demonstrates significant avoided greenhouse gas emissions, energy and water usage and particulate matter emission as a result of our TechCollect program.

 

As the B Corp program focusses on continuous improvement, the recertification process plus the guidelines, templates and tools provided by B Corp will help ANZRP to continue to improve its performance and impact.

Check out ANZRP’s Impact Score card here: bcorporation.net/directory/australia-and-new-zealand-recycling-platform

To find out more about B Corporations and B Lab, go to bcorporation.net.

 


The year of the waste ban - a step in the right direction for Australia's recycling industry

A year on from the start of China’s National Sword policy, recycling industries and governments across the world are still adjusting to the new and rapidly changing market conditions. Policies are also evolving: by early 2019, China will prohibit the import of low-grade copper scrap (specifically small motors and insulated wires), and it has signaled its intention to ban the import of all solid waste by 2020. While many in the recycling industry have been holding out hope for a policy reversal, it is unlikely that the industry will ever be able to go back to business as usual.

As other key countries in South-East Asia follow suit with their own waste import bans, Australia (along with the EU, North America, and other developed nations) is under significant pressure to develop its own materials processing capacity, or at least improve material sorting and quality, and reduce contamination levels. While household recyclables were the main focus for state government support in 2018, e-waste has been designated as a priority stream for funding in NSW, and Victoria’s e-waste ban which comes into force in July will likely drive further opportunities for investment in the sector.

The next few years are likely to be challenging for recyclers as downstream supply chains reorganise and regulatory risks remain uncertain. However, as stated by the European Electronics Recycling Association last year, this is an opportunity for the transition to a circular economy, and Australia is no exception. The combined effect of the National Sword and greater public awareness of waste issues (in part thanks to the ABC’s War on Waste) is creating an environment which can drive much-needed innovation in the resource recovery sector, for example:

  • The microfactory recycling model, which uses innovative methods to maximise value recovery from waste without relying on economies of scale;
  • Low-energy and low-impact metal recovery and purification (e.g. low temperature methods such as environmentally friendly hydrometallurgy, or biohydrometallurgy);
  • Development of automated and robotic dismantling and sorting techniques, driven by exponential growth in AI technologies.

As the only not-for-profit, industry-for-industry Co-regulatory Arrangement operating under the NTCRS, ANZRP is in constant discussions with businesses at the forefront of such technological development. We are also formally advocating for Government to assist in the development of downstream markets within the country, so that Australia can reap the environmental and economic rewards of keeping materials in a closed manufacturing loop.

China’s decision is the consequence of market failure and prolonged unsustainable business practice; however, with strong leadership, government support, and innovation across the supply chain – both upstream and downstream – the waste sector can evolve and develop into a more resilient and more sustainable industry.

 

Dr Rob Hewlett, Program Assistant


ANZRP to build world’s first commercial e-waste plastic micro-factory

ANZRP is excited to announce its plans to build the world’s first commercial e-waste plastic micro-factory after receiving a $250,000 grant from Sustainability Victoria.

In partnership with UNSW SMaRT Centre and e-recycler TES, the micro-factory will process up to 500,000 kilograms of waste plastic per year. This will be recovered from e-waste recycling and reformed into 3D printer filament for retail sale. Worldwide demand for plastic 3D printer filament is estimated to triple during the next four years, reaching a value of more than USD$1,965.30 million by 2023[1].

With the upcoming e-waste ban in Victoria and growing restrictions on exports of mixed e-waste plastic, options to reduce the cost of recycling and keep these materials out of landfill are important. This project aims to reform a waste stream (e-waste plastic) that’s currently shipped overseas for processing.

“The e-waste plastic micro-factory is a truly circular economy approach that ensures materials are kept in productive use,” says ANZRP CEO, Warren Overton.

“We’re so pleased to be supporting Australian innovation from UNSW and TES that helps improve e-waste recycling.

“As the volume of e-waste continues to increase, technologically advanced approaches such as micro-factories will play a key role mitigating the impact of old televisions and computers.

“By working alongside industry and internationally recognised research hubs, ANZRP is committed to ensuring all e-waste is managed responsibly. This reduces environmental impact and creates employment.”

Victorian Minister for Energy, Environment and Climate, Lily D’Ambrosio says, These grants will help develop a circular economy that maximises the reuse of materials and reduces the amount of waste that goes to landfill. These exciting projects across Victoria will stop waste, boost the resource recovery industry and create jobs.”

With construction due to start early next year, the micro-factory will be housed at the TES e-waste recycling facility in Somerton, Victoria. This portable factory has the potential to be moved and process recovered e-waste plastic in other areas.

“The micro-factory has the potential to scale and accommodate the 6,000-tonne plastic feedstock that is currently produced each year from the e-waste recycled through the TechCollect program. We have taken the first step with a scalable solution that has guaranteed feedstock, strong environmental benefits, as well as economic benefits through the creation of employment opportunities in regional and metropolitan parts of Australia,” concludes Warren Overton.

[1] 3D Printing Plastics Market by Type (Photo polymer, ABS, Poly amide, PLA), Form (Filament, Liquid/Ink, Powder), End-Use Industry (Healthcare, Aerospace & Defense, Automotive, Electrical & Electronics), Application, and Region - Global Forecast to 2023, MarketsandMarkets


A recipe for a successful national e-waste recycling program

As New Zealand considers the benefits of product stewardship and its impact on e-waste recycling, ANZRP CEO Warren Overton sets out the critical elements for a successful national e-waste recycling program based on the Australian experience.

 

Last month we launched our TechCollect pilot e-waste recycling program just across the ditch in New Zealand.

Operating through the OfficeMax retail network, TechCollect provides 16 drop-off points across New Zealand where people can take their unwanted e-waste for recycling completely free of charge.

Already we've had an astounding level of interest, with hundreds of visits to our new website and enquiries rolling in by the dozen. This is indicative of the New Zealand public's appetite for responsible and accessible e-waste recycling, a void that has to this point not been filled. Unlike its Australian and overseas counterparts, the country has struggled to better manage the increasing volume of e-waste generated annually - a recent report from the International Telecommunications Union shows kiwis are among the world's worst offenders, producing an estimated 20kg per person per year.

 

Product stewardship is key

Australia's approach to managing the growing issue of e-waste is founded on the notion of product stewardship. This concept acknowledges that those involved in producing, selling and using products have a shared responsibility to ensure that those products or materials are managed in a way that reduces their impact, throughout their life cycle, on the environment and on human health and safety.

A key pillar of Australia's National Waste Policy is the Product Stewardship Act 2011. Established under the Act, the National Television and Computer Recycling Scheme (NTCRS) was Australia’s first producer responsibility arrangement. Under the scheme, more than 1,800 collection services have been made available to the public and 230,000 tonnes of TV and computer e-waste collected and recycled. 130,000 tonnes of that has been managed by ANZRP's flagship program TechCollect.

In recent years, the New Zealand Government has twice investigated e-waste product stewardship and on both occasions was unable to establish a long term industry funded program.

Technology industry ready to participate

Despite New Zealand's lack of regulatory enforcement, major players in the electronics industry have just committed to funding our TechCollect pilot e-waste recycling program. Microsoft, Toshiba, HP, Epson, Dell and Canon have all pledged funds to the pilot, which has been a major driver in getting the program off the ground.

The quick commitment from these world-leading organisations shows their eagerness to uphold their corporate social responsibility status, and position themselves as leaders on this issue. They understand the importance of environmental and social sustainability to their brand and are ready with their cheque book to support initiatives that shine a light on their commitment.

Key elements of a successful e-waste recycling program

Fundamental to a thriving e-waste recycling program is a model where industry covers costs of collection and recycling. The ideal approach is through a liability-based fee in a competitive environment that encourages cost competition.

Other critical factors include:

Government funding — Sufficient government funding for e-waste product stewardship is required to ensure effective program management, audit and enforcement of requirements, and promotion of the program to the whole community. Underfunding allows liable parties to avoid compliance and diminishes community engagement with the program.

Competition — Competition is good for logistics and recycling yet is counterproductive for collection as it can create duplication and inefficiencies. Due to the small size of the New Zealand market, the number of organisations engaged to deliver an e-waste product stewardship program should be limited to reduce administrative costs.

Scope — To gain the benefits of scale, for both logistics and processing, as wide a scope as possible is recommended for an e-waste product stewardship program. Under Australia’s NTCRS, only televisions, computers, printers and computer peripherals are accepted. Even though this created a pool of easily identifiable parties, making it easier to manage, inclusion of all waste electronic and electrical equipment (WEEE) would increase the amount of liable parties and exponentially increase the volume targets, guaranteeing greater economies of scale.

Collection network — Vital to its success, a collection network must include a broad spectrum of partners, including local councils, retail providers (such as electrical goods retailers) and private recycling owner-operated sites and community facilities. Aside from maintaining the reach of the service, they also serve an important role helping educate the public through their regular interactions.

Education — It’s important for people to understand the process of recycling e-waste and where they can responsibly dispose of it, knowing that it will be managed to the highest standards in accordance with the regulatory and legislative requirements. To achieve this, a simple and consistent approach is necessary — only government can fill this requirement. After seven years, the Australian public still does not have a strong understanding of e-waste and what can be done. Government needs to take the lead and project clear and consistent messaging.

Recycling partners – Competition is good and should not be limited to a few. Strict standards need to be enforced, ensuring downstream vendor due diligence and material traceability is achieved. All recyclers who serve the program are required to meet certain standards such as compliance to AS/NZS 5377:2013 and HSE legislation, and are regularly audited to ensure reporting volumes are correct.

 

Now entering its seventh year and despite some issues that need to be ironed out, Australia's NTCRS has been acknowledged as a resounding success. Product stewardship underpinned by accessibility, collaboration, transparency and trust — these are the critical elements that form a successful e-waste recycling program.

ANZRP would welcome the New Zealand Government’s participation into our pilot program, and the prospect of matching program funding to help lengthen and facilitate its ongoing success.

To find out more about our TechCollect pilot in New Zealand go to www.techcollect.nz.