Ban the Bag: Learn how your business can be more sustainable

14/08/20184 Minute Read

The popularity of the “Ban the Bag” initiative in Australia and New Zealand suggests the tides are turning when it comes to sustainability. It wasn’t long ago most people didn’t even think twice about carting groceries home in heaps of plastic bags, but once it was recognized that plastic bags are highly polluting and harmful to wildlife, the Australian and New Zealand governments implemented legislation against the commercial use of lightweight plastic bags. Soon, the ubiquitous plastic shopping bag will be dead and gone.

The “Ban the Bag” initiative is only one of many eco-friendly movements spreading around the world. People—from customers and business owners alike—are realising the importance of sustainability and doing everything in their power to make the planet healthier. If you’re interested in getting both yourself and your business involved in more sustainable practices, take a look at the current state of sustainability in Australia and learn how your business can join the battle to protect the planet.

How is Australia tackling sustainability?

Australia poses quite the conundrum when it comes to environmentally sustainable practices. On the one hand, Australia has a global reputation as being clean and green through its booming eco-tech startup sector that focuses on renewable and sustainable energy. Australia even allowed Elon Musk to road test the world’s largest lithium ion battery down under, which was designed and constructed in a record time frame.

On the other hand, the entire region emits a load of carbon. Australia was the first nation to axe carbon tax not long after it was introduced, and its lax environmental regulations are rarely enforced. Take e-waste, for example. Granted, no nation has come up with a perfect solution to this problem yet, but many countries take it seriously and go to significant lengths to encourage e-waste recycling and the use of sustainable technology.

What’s Australia’s general approach? There are laws on the proper disposal of e-waste, but few people know what they are or simply ignore the regulations. A recent report by University of NSW noted, “The scope of what is considered e-waste under Australian law is not broad enough. There is a lack of clarity over the role of stakeholders which are responsible for the majority of e-waste collection . . . [and there are] accessibility issues, with consumers in some regional locations in Australia needing to travel more than 100km to recycling depots.” The author went on to say, “Until Australians stop seeing waste as an ‘out of sight, out of mind’ problem, the issues with e-waste will continue to grow exponentially.”

Get serious about sustainability best practices

Enough talk, though. Sometimes, the best way to create change is to start small. Here’s exactly how you can go about making your organisation cleaner, greener, and leaner—in three easy steps:

  1. Maximise renewable and sustainable power sources. Ensure your organisation is maximising renewable and sustainable energy sources. This will both reduce your carbon footprint and play a small but significant role in speeding Australia’s switch from dirty to clean power.
  2. Upgrade to sustainable technology. The next time you upgrade office equipment, take time to search online for the latest energy-efficient devices. For example, HP PageWide business printers consume considerably less energy than laser printers1 and conserve energy, with only a fraction of the packaging waste. You can also return the used cartridges to HP for recycling, completely free of charge.
  3. Get serious about recycling. While it may not be quite as easy as dumping busted PCs in the skip, many manufacturers often try to make it as simple as possible for you to ship and return equipment at the end of its lifecycle. Even if you’re not near a recycling depot, you can turn to e-waste recycling services, like TechCollect, which partners with councils and waste-management companies across Australia to make it easier for businesses to dispose of unwanted technology and devices.

If you really want to play a part in preserving the planet, demand your suppliers improve their sustainability practices—if they haven’t already—and assist your customers with professional advice on how they can actively participate in reducing e-waste. Change starts when individual voices join together, so if you begin practicing sustainability at your company, chances are other businesses will follow suit. Eventually, Australia will see its carbon footprint reducing bit by bit on this beautiful, wide, and brown land—and the whole world will be on its way to fostering a healthier planet.

Sources:

  1. Excludes first set of ISO test pages. For details, see hp.com/go/printerclaims.

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