The lockdown: don’t waste a golden oportunity

29 Apr 2020

While the lockdown has some obvious and significant drawbacks, one area where it offers an opportunity is waste management. All those near-empty buildings provide a blank canvas on which a masterpiece can be painted! Edge Environment outlines six opportunities that you could put into practice.

1. Back of house upgrades – waste docks and other back-of-house facilities are usually in constant use, meaning that making improvements can be difficult and disruptive. Why not use the lockdown to review whether new equipment could be added to facilitate new recycling streams such as organics or soft plastics?

2. Improve bin design and layout – current circumstances will only accelerate the shift towards flexible working and hotdesking. Why not ride that wave and use this time to remove out-dated under desk bins in favour of enhanced, centralised waste and recycling facilities?

3. Improve signage – we often find that even the best infrastructure and systems fall down for lack of suitable signage. If you do decide to add new recycling streams and/or change bin provision, you’ll need to make sure that people know where to find the right bins, alongside unambiguous information on what can/can’t go in them.

4. Create education materials and campaigns – on a similar note, now is the perfect time to step back and make sure that building occupants understand how you’re managing waste in the building. Why not create a learning module, video or downloadable guide to help ensure people know what you’re trying to achieve and what facilities are available to them?

5. Engage with waste contractors and cleaning teams – while things are quieter, you have a great opportunity to work with some of those stakeholders that are critical to successful waste management. Arrange discussions to talk through how cleaning practices could be tweaked to aid diversion rates and consider whether there is scope for greater collaboration with your waste contractor.

6. Waste avoidance through better procurement – moving up the hierarchy, why not grab a cup of coffee and jump on Zoom with your procurement team and building managers to consider what could be done to reduce the amount of materials coming into the building, and/or to improve its recyclability.

These are just a few examples of the opportunities we’ve identified during this unprecedented time. Watch this space for a series of upcoming videos that dive into the detail on these initiatives. And, of course, let us know if you need any help putting them into practice.

Edge Environment is a consultancy that helps clients to ingrain sustainability into their cultures, both for responsible and commercial performance. Helping client companies deliver business value that is both impressive and inspiring for communities, Edge has supported the Green Building Council of Australia through their membership since 2009. To learn about Edge and their award-winning services, visit their website.

Thank you to Edge for contributing this timely article to our monthly newsletter, Green Building Voice. If your organisation would like to contribute to Green Building Voice, let us know by emailing