The AEC's National Electoral Education Centre (NEEC) recently joined an elite group of businesses in the Australian Capital Territory which have achieved ACTSmart Business accreditation for their recycling programs.
ACTSmart Business is an Australian Capital Territory Government program to assist private and public sector businesses to reduce the amount of waste they send to landfill. As well as benefits for the wider community, more effective recycling and waste management delivers benefits to the business, such as reduced costs for waste disposal; reduced harmful impacts on the environment; improved staff morale; and favourable client perceptions.
The program includes a step-by-step guide, templates, assistance with training, promotional materials and other resources. The NEEC decided to take part when it identified a need to expand its existing paper-recycling practices to cover other materials – for example, the many plastic bottles that students bring to education sessions.
With support from the Australian Capital Territory Department of the Environment, Climate Change, Energy and Water, the NEEC organised recycling collections, put collection points throughout the centre, and monitored its waste to see how much was going to landfill, and how much of an improvement in recycling was being achieved. One staff member received training through the program, and developed customised training for the whole NEEC team.
The NEEC staff team found that:
The NEEC's goal of reducing waste sent to landfill was achieved very successfully. A comparison of waste audits conducted before and after implementation of the program showed that the amount of waste sent to landfill by the NEEC had been reduced by more than 80 per cent, lowering the average from 17.47 cubic metres to 2.91 cubic metres per year.
Following a formal inspection, the NEEC was formally accredited under the program in February 2011, becoming one of the first 16 businesses to achieve ACTSmart Business accreditation. The NEEC is committed to maintaining the standards required to achieve reaccreditation every year.