How to ... use
Avoiding waste is at the top of the waste hierarchy in the Waste Avoidance and Resource Recovery Act 2001 Section 3(b) and the NSW Waste Avoidance and Resource Recovery Strategy 2007. Avoiding waste has economic, social and environmental benefits. The WRAPP reporting guidelines section B3 offer a number of suggestions on how you can avoid waste. Developing better ways to use existing resources saves money, improves efficiency, streamlines an agency's operations and significantly reduces wastage. Some ways to improve resource use include:
- Use less: Eliminate or minimise the need to use a material e.g. use emails to replace paper copies.
- Adopt better technology: Use more efficient or effective technology to reduce waste or extend the useable life of equipment; e.g. electronic document transfer systems.
- Be innovative: Turn waste into a useable resource e.g. use fly ash in concrete
- Improve management systems: Integrate procurement and waste management decisions e.g. consider disposal implications when purchasing new products.
More efficient use of materials and equipment is the best way to avoid creating waste. Extending the life of equipment or reusing materials where possible is also important.
- A waste audit or waste assessment will help to identify what materials are ending up in your waste and help you to determine what actions need to be taken to reduce your waste.
- Understand how materials and products are used by your organisation. Who uses them? What quantities are used? Where are they used? What happens to them at the end of their useful life? This can be a complex task - particularly if you are in a large organisation - so simplify this by tackling a few items first.
- Identify opportunities to better use materials. Prioritise these, get systems and practices in place and then move on to bigger things
- Involve people who are using the materials and work with them to come up with innovative ideas to better use them. Get senior management endorsement of what you are doing.
- Foster innovation - find unique uses for waste materials and turn them into a resource for your organisation.
- Quantify and document how materials are being used more effectively. Measure this in dollar terms. This is critical if you are going to get the ongoing support of senior management.
- Promote strategies to better use materials within and outside your organisation if appropriate.
Page last updated: 27 February 2011