HUNTER WATER

Hunter Water Corporation (Hunter Water) implemented the Plastic Police® program at its Honeysuckle Head Office in an effort to waste less and recycle more. The organisation is committed to environmental sustainability, with sustainable management and conservation of nature’s most precious resource, water, at the heart of everything it does. Rhys Blackmore, Environmental Scientist at Hunter Water, is the driving force behind the organisation’s recycling initiatives. “Soft plastics are an obvious environmental issue. Our staff are very socially and environmentally aware, so implementing Plastic Police® was a logical solution to this issue.”

The Plastic Police® program was implemented at Hunter Water in 2017, and less than 12 months later the business has diverted almost 1 tonne of soft plastics from landfill. This equates to approximately 250,000 pieces of plastic. Due to the success of the program at its Head Office, the program was expanded to their depots located in North Lambton and Tomago. Beyond waste reduction, the Plastic Police® program has encouraged positive behaviour changes amongst staff members. “People are separating their soft plastics at home and bringing them into work. It’s making them realise how much waste they produce and this is inspiring people to come up with solutions for reducing their waste – at home and at work.” Rhys said.

Hunter Water are investigating options for customised products to be made soft plastics to offset what they have collected. In particular, the organisation is focused on identifying products that could be made from soft plastics that could replace virgin resources, such as timber. Rhys says this is very important and that “…our staff trust that their soft plastics are actually being recycled because products made from soft plastics are coming back into the organisation.”

Hunter Water has integrated the Plastic Police® program into its cleaning contract, to streamline the company’s waste management initiatives.

Outcomes
✓ 1 tonne of soft plastics diverted from landfill
✓ 250,000 pieces of soft plastic collected
✓ Waste reduction
✓ Sustainable procurement of products
✓ Educating staff about the circular economy
✓ Staff education and engagement
✓ High participation rates amongst staff members
✓ Encouraging new recycling habits – staff separating soft plastics at home and bringing them to work to be recycled