We’re Missing the Big Problem of Recycling | Green Building Council on Reflection Friday

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Today is Reflection Friday, and Reclaim has set a mission for it: keep all your waste items and weigh them before disposing of them at the end of the day. Multiply the weight of your waste by 365 days, then consider that for the population of New Zealand.

That’s a lot of waste. So, how we can revolutionise and re-imagine recycling as we progress into the future? How can we get the results we know are necessary?

We spoke to Sam Archer from the New Zealand Green Building Council to find out more about what more we could be doing.

Why don’t you tell us about the Green Building Council?

We’re a membership organisation, we’ve got 500 members from the construction industry. We work collaboratively with our members including some of the biggest players in New Zealand’s construction. What we’re about is best practice in new builds. We run sustainability standards for the built environment, with people designing new buildings and operating buildings and having their efforts rated using the tools that we run.

One of those is HomeStar, our rating system for new build homes, one is Green Star which is for commercial buildings and non-domestic buildings, and our new tool called Green Star performance looks at operational performance in existing builds.

We build a Green Building but does it perform in reality? How is it actually working? Some of it would be around the actual attributes of the building and energy, but mainly it will be the behaviour of the team and the occupants.

What does success look like for you when it comes to sustainability and the future?

I think it will be a building that’s using as little energy as possible. To some extent it would be some onsite renewables, New Zealand has a very low carbon grid so that would be more up to the government. It would be buildings that are using very low amounts of water, that don’t generate much waste in the design of the building and operation.

Why do you think recycling and National Recycling Week are important? What do they mean to the Green Building Council?

For me, an important part of that is that while most people focus on operational recycling the statistics we have here is 50% of waste coming from construction. That’s fairly typical in developed countries.

"While most people focus on operational recycling the statistics we have here is 50% of waste coming from construction."

 

We’d like to see designers designing out waste in the first place, modular constructions, doing things like designing the size of components to avoid offcuts. We'd like to see contractors working with waste to find alternative uses for the waste that comes out of the site; Green Gorilla, for example, have set up construction waste recycling and making use of them turning treated and incinerated timber into cement.


How has your Recycling Week been? Let us know at hello@methodrecycling.com

How Clean Do Our Recyclables Need To Be? | Rinse & Clean Thursday

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With New Zealand’s National Recycling Week in full force, now is the time to renew our motivation and instil healthy habits we can hold on to. But there’s one aspect of recycling that seems to cause more confusion than most: how clean do our recyclables actually need to be?

One thing we don’t want our recyclables to be is contaminated. Contamination can refer to excess food waste still on the recycling, but it can also refer to the wrong materials being put in the wrong receptacles. You’re putting glass into your Plastics & Cans? Consider that bin now contaminated.

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Why does it matter? We spoke to Jeremy from Oji Fibre, whose operation Fullcircle is New Zealand’s only paper recycling service which is able to manufacture paperboard and packaging products for the local packaging industry.

“We don’t accept any products that are contaminated with food,” he said. “Generally when we do the recycling, if it’s plastic or cardboard, once it's sorted there’s different grades - for example 95% or 85%. We tend to operate at 85% at our plant in Wellington.”

The biggest enemy for Oji Fibre’s Full Circle plant is glass. That’s why you’ll notice in Wellington, cardboard is collected separately because when paper and cardboard is recycled back into cardboard, glass can damage the rollers.

If recyclables are overly contaminated, they’ll be removed from the sorting process and sent to landfill, meaning they can’t be recycled.

But, don’t worry. As long as you remember to lightly rinse (no need to use excess water by running through your dishwasher) your recyclables and place them in the right receptacle your recycling can successfully embark on its circular journey.


Are there any other recycling myths you’d like clarification on? Let us know on our social media channels (@MethodRecycling).

Giving Paper a Second, More Good-Looking Life with the Misprint Co. | Reuseable Wednesday

It's National Recycling Week in New Zealand, helmed by Reclaim NZ. Each day of the week has an easy to remember theme that challenges and encourages you to re-think your recycling habits. Today is Reuseable Wednesday, which looks at making informed choices when it comes to what we purchase and what we can reuse.

We took this one step further by looking at repurposing, which extends the lifecycle of materials and adds value by turning possessions into something that can be used again. 

We talk to Jenny from the Misprint Co. about repurposing, responsibility and upcycling. 

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Why don’t you tell us about the Misprint Co.?

At the Misprint Co, we repurpose waste-paper from businesses, organisations and schools around New Zealand. By doing this we save 10 litres of water per A4 sheet, and 130 litres per our standard A5 notebook. 

Like our recycling bins, your notebooks are a vehicle for behavioural change. Why else should people choose to buy your notebooks, or use your service in their offices?

Throughout the years we’ve been in business we’ve seen how much unused paper is thrown away by organisations, or we’ve seen them paying recycling fees for perfectly good paper. A lot of small businesses don’t have recycling bins, so the paper just goes straight to landfill.

When your recycle paper it goes through its own process to break it down, so there’s lots of water and chemicals involved. The main difference for us when it comes to repurposing is we don’t treat or bleach the waste paper, it’s directly repurposed. Repurposing or upcycling is directly turning something into something else you can use. 

Using our notebooks increases the story within people's businesses, and it's also an education tool for people. They can put their paper into something awesome and a cool product can come out of it. It encourages upcycling in all aspects of life.  

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Can you tell us more about your Repurposing in Schools programme?

We’re still working this out, but what we hope to do here in the future is make it part of the school curriculum. We want to be able to go in to more schools and chat to the students about the benefits of recycling and repurposing. We hope to teach them about the circular economy, and the three R’s - reduce, reuse, recycle. 

What does success look like for you?

Our big plans at the moment would be developing a business that can be scalable, so that would mean creating software to help our processes. We’d love to see the Misprint Co overseas. We can create the most impact by getting other sustainable folks onboard to run the Misprint Co hubs in other places - that would be what success looks like for us, and constantly creating an impact on the environment as well. 

How’s the best way for people to champion Misprint Co.?

You can find us on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter. To become brand advocates or get behind us, we’d love for people to spread the word.

We have a couple of different services, one of which is completely free to use! You can choose to just donate paper to us from your business, we do collections for free but the paper needs to be non-confidential as it will be seen by the general public. Our Ecoloop service is where you receive notebooks from your own repurposed paper - this is where behavioural changes are really reinforced. 

"You can choose to just donate paper to us from your business, and we do collections for free."

What’s one recycling tip or trick you have for us?

I don’t know if it’s a tip as such, but with recycling in general it's just good to take part! This is what’s great about Method, you’re making recycling clear for people to understand. I think if you do what you can to repurpose what you have, whether that be paper or jars, and actively think of ways to reduce your waste then you can make a lot of difference. Recycling should be your final step. 

Find out more about how the Misprint Co. can work for your business

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Method's Josephine on How To Go Zero Waste | Waste Free Tuesday

Josephine with one month's worth of landfill waste

Josephine with one month's worth of landfill waste

The Method team are a diverse bunch. We hail from different corners of the globe, we enjoy different pursuits, yet we all have one united interest: making a difference. Josephine, our Auckland Sales & Sustainability specialist, is particularly dedicated to doing good, moving towards going completely Zero Waste while emboldening others to do the same.

With today being Waste Free Tuesday of New Zealand's Recycling Week, it seemed the perfect excuse to sit down with Josephine and hear her story.

Hi Jo, let’s start at the beginning. What first made you interested in moving towards a Zero Waste lifestyle, and since then how has it evolved?

I was inspired a year ago by Lauren Singer from Trash is for Tossers and Bea Johnson of Zero Waste Home. Bea Johnson and her family have been living waste free since 2008. Lauren Singer is in her 20’s living in an apartment in New York and managed to reduce 4 years of landfill trash to a medium size mason jar!

Inspired by these two women I decided to take responsibility for my actions, so to tie in with Plastic Free July I embarked on the 30 Day Zero Waste Challenge as well. This meant for one month I only had a small jam jar for my landfill trash and could only recycle cans and glass. I had to compost my food scraps in my worm farm and take my commercially compostable waste (this includes compostable packaging)  to the actual plant so it would break down in the correct process.

My Instagram following is still very small but it has evolved into an educational platform and I have been asked to do a few talks about the why and how of my Zero Waste lifestyle choice.

@TrashIsForTossers

@TrashIsForTossers

What’s one thing people often get wrong about Zero Waste?

It’s too hard! Until June 2017 I was an over-consumer - it just took some organisation, and personal motivation to leave no trace, for me to embark on this new lifestyle. I wouldn't go back to my old habits now, my new lifestyle is actually quite fun!

Zero Waste is defined as a philosophy that encourages the redesign of resource life cycles so that all products are reused. In theory, no trash is sent to landfill or incinerators. I interpreted this as:

  • Reducing overall consumption
  • Bulk buying
  • Refilling
  • Home composting
  • Recycling cans, glass and paper only
  • Only accepting commercially compostable packaging and taking this to the commercial composting plant
  • Using mindfulness

If I can do it so can you!

"I wouldn't go back to my old habits now, my new lifestyle is actually quite fun!"

 

What would your advice be for people that would like to go Waste Free? Where do you find your inspiration, and what would you recommend to others?

Start a compost! 

Diverting your food scraps from landfill will help the planet reduce the amount of methane being released into the atmosphere. If you don’t have a garden there are plenty of online resources.

Reduce your overall packaging and single-use plastic consumption.

Invest in an essential Zero Waste kit! This includes the BIG FOUR: reusable bag, reusable cup, reusable bottle and straw. I don’t think the straw is essential but it’s creating awareness around the fact these are not recycled and end up in landfill or flying off into our oceans.  You could also add a reusable container to this so when you fancy sushi, for example, you take this as your takeaway container rather than having to use unnecessary packaging.

Check out where your nearest bulk food store is.

I actually have such fun taking my glass jars or reusable bags to get refilled for my weekly shop and overall it’s cheaper!

Ask questions.

If you work in a corporate environment and want to recycle or compost food scraps then talk to your facilities or office manager about implementing an office recycling solutions in your office, I’d say Method bins are the best but I’m biased!

How does working for Method align with your passion for sustainability?

Working with Method has given me an in-depth knowledge of New Zealand's waste industry and makes me even more passionate about encouraging workplaces to better recycle and compost with Methods good looking internal office recycling bins.  

When I embarked on my Zero Waste challenge I set up a Method station at home. These wonderfully coloured Method bins enabled me to keep a track of my cans, bottles, paper and commercially compostable waste. They are easily portable and meant I could take these to the commercial compostable and recycling plant once I had finished my challenge to really find out what happens behind the scenes.

My workplace had a Method station and their service provider is Reclaim so this was great as I could compost at work and recycle without having to take this home.

What’s one recycling tip or trick you have for us?

Place smaller pieces of plastic into bigger pieces of plastic. For example, plastic rings around milk bottles need to go into the larger plastic item to actually get recycled otherwise they fly off into the ocean or landfill.  

Check numbers on plastic containers and try and buy PET #1 plastic, as this gets recycled in New Zealand. If a container doesn’t have a number on it and it's the size of  a coffee cup lid or smaller as far as I know these won’t get recycled in New Zealand. 

Where do you see yourself on this mission in the future? What does success look like for you?

I would like to inspire others to do the same and educate those who are unsure about how to even start.  Success would look like reducing my landfill waste to a mason jar over 2018!

Watch this space or follow my journey on Instagram @zerowastejosephine.

Josephine (R) with our co-founder India (L) at Facilities Integrate earlier this year.

Josephine (R) with our co-founder India (L) at Facilities Integrate earlier this year.


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Kōkako Kicks the Conventions of Packaging | Procurement Monday

It’s officially Procurement Monday, which marks the beginning of New Zealand's National Recycling Week. Are you taking part?

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Today’s mission is to push consumers to make more considered decisions when it comes to their waste, by purchasing items they know are recyclable. It's essential for us to take accountability for what we’re procuring.

So, how can we do that? What companies can we trust to serve us both sustainable products in recyclable packaging? We spoke to change-makers, whose values are closely aligned with our own about what they’re doing to look after our planet.

First up is Kōkako a Kiwi coffee business with a difference. All of their products can be found in durable, recyclable or compostable packaging, and they source their coffee from Fairtrade organic coffee cooperatives in Papua New Guinea, Sumatra, Honduras, Colombia, Uganda, Ethiopia and Guatemala, with more origins and offerings being evaluated on a weekly basis.

Company director Mike Murphy had this to say:

Why don’t you tell us about Kōkako and what it is that you do? How did the idea come into being?

We were first established in 2001, and we’ve been going for 16 years as Auckland’s first organic coffee roastery. I purchased the business in May 2007 and my focus since then has been on growing a really strong speciality coffee business which has environmental and ethical values. We have focused on supplying high-quality speciality coffee for the hospitality sector. We’re not in lots of supermarkets, but rather we tend towards more high-end cafes.

We focus a lot on quality and innovation. One of the parts of the business that’s important to us is Kaizen, which translates as ‘continuous improvement’ in Japanese. What that means is we’re never complacent. We’re always looking to innovate with our coffee and our packaging and the rest of our merchandise as well.
 

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"One of the parts of the business that’s important to us is Kaizen, which translates as ‘continuous improvement’ in Japanese."

Why should people choose to drink your coffee, or do business with you?

If you’re a hospitality business then we go above and beyond a typical coffee/ supplier relationship. We take a really considered, comprehensive approach to doing business. We look at the relationship like a partnership; we look at social media, marketing, design, operational flow - all of the things that make a business work. For consumers, we’re a trusted brand so they can rely on our third-party certifications (we’ve been certified organic by Biogro, and certified Fairtrade) - we’ve got independent auditors to verify that and that’s an important consideration. A lot of our customers are interested in recycling and composting our packaging.

What does success look like for you when it comes to sustainability and the future?

We want to be and continue to be a trailblazer in sustainability. In 2016 we released our inaugural sustainability report, with which we wanted to show that it's not about the size of your business, but it's about what you can do. We’re not a follower; we want to be a leader.

How does design play into Kōkako?

Design is in an integral part of our DNA and aesthetic. We’re always thinking about the user experience of our brand. The kōkako is a native New Zealand bird, we’ve taken references from the bird and used them as our core brand values.

What’s the best way for people to champion Kōkako?

You can go on our website and find our outposts - that’s who stocks our coffee. If you’re in New Zealand, you can set up a coffee subscription ordering directly from our roastery, or you can follow up on any of our social media accounts: we’re on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. We also have our blog the Kōkako Chronicle, which shows our commitment to provenance and the stories of our coffee farmers.

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What’s one recycling tip or trick you have for us?

From a business perspective, it’s about making sure you have a good system set up so it's easy for your staff to know what products they can recycle. We recycle soft plastics, glass, and we have different receptacles for each. We also have dedicated compostable pick-ups as well, so it’s important to have that designation. If you make it easier for your staff, it makes it easier for them to get involved.

"If you make [recycling] easier for your staff, it makes it easier for them to get involved."

 

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Method's beautiful recycling bins can help you sort your waste at the source

From Cabinetry to Visible Recycling Bins: Case Study - IAG

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Background

IAG (Insurance Australia Group Limited) is the leading general insurance provider in Australia and New Zealand, with a growing presence in Asia, across both the direct and intermediated channels. They date back almost 160 years and sell insurance under many leading brands including NZI, Lumley, State and AMI (New Zealand); NRMA Insurance, CGU, SGIO, SGIC, and Swann (Australia); Safety and NZI (Thailand); and AAA Assurance (Vietnam).

1 Fanshawe Street, one of Auckland’s most sustainably-designed buildings, is the home of their New Zealand head office. It was awarded a 5-star base building Certified Rating for energy use, and a 5 Green Star rating at the time of construction for fit-out and design. Features include a distinctive double skin façade with automatically controlled blinds to moderate glare and sunlight, and exposed concrete ceilings to help moderate temperature.

Their professed purpose is to make your world a safer place, and their sustainable mission makes it better, too.

Implementation

IAG had previously implemented waste recycling, organics, and paper recycling in their kitchens, but hidden inside cabinetry. The design was ugly, and the bins were quickly made unclean and unhygienic; they also weren’t being used to their full potential.

IAG were looking for a way to boost their sustainability, but also something that would look aesthetically pleasing and be kept consistent in each of their offices.

Testimonial

“Sometimes we’d have steel metal bins, some offices had other styles: it was a shambles. We wanted something that could be for all sites, that looked good but still had the three options we needed. We finally found Method through our cleaning company, and installed them in our three big sites - the NZI Centre in Auckland, 1 Willis Street in Wellington, and IAG in Christchurch. Now every time we open a new site or office we always use Method.”

- Jessica Morrison, Properties and Facilities Coordinator, IAG.

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Can we help you make the switch? Contact our New Zealand sales and sustainability experts here or here for Australia. 

Jonathan Custance's Golden Rule of Sustainable Design

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Jonathan Custance

is a multi-award winning New Zealand architect and fellow of the Designers’ Institute of New Zealand, who founded his firm Custance over 25 years ago. His feedback was invaluable for our Method recycling bins.


When it comes to Custance, there's a personal connection for Method. It isn't that our offices were crafted by their skilled hands, or that our kitchen boasts their signature open plan, social styling. Rather, it was the gift of their wisdom.

During the three years of research, focus groups, and even cleaning night-shifts that it took to form our recycling bins, India and Steven were proud to be given creative feedback by Jonathan. A master of design, he inherently knows how people work, so when he spoke we listened.

Humans and their wellbeing provide the root of everything Custance does, especially on the esteemed projects with huge names they’ve completed, such as Accenture’s Wellington office, Fisher & Paykel’s Sydney HQ, NZ Institutes of Chartered Accountants, and the NEC Innovation Centre. His practice revolves around the intersection of design and sustainability - here we talk to him about his processes, and how it pays to be future-focused.

 

Custance x Churches of Christ

Custance x Churches of Christ


"The golden rule of design would be that form follows function"


What does design mean to you?

Design is digging deep to find out what you’re trying to achieve in a spatial point of view; it’s understanding an organisation’s business strategy and aligning a space to facilitate it. The golden rule of design would be that form follows function, which means understanding the functionality of what you’re trying to accommodate and then finding the form to fit it.

 

Talk us through your process when it comes to designing a space.

The design process is extracting, observing, talking through to get insights into the organisation. How you tackle it depends on different factors - there’s an aspirational aspect and a flexibility aspect. Where’s the company going? What’s driving a move? These are all things you need to facilitate with form.

 

Custance x Corporate Express Australia

Custance x Corporate Express Australia

How do the issues of waste and sustainability fit into your design?

How do we look at sustainability? There’s a series of levels, one is the planning point of view. How sustainable is our planning related to the adaptability of the structure? How sustainable in a lifecycle, durability, timelessness, wearability point of view are the materials we’re using?

The biggest aspect of sustainability is the materials we use in the construction of the fitout. We’re always being mindful of the extremity of green buildings, as we’re professional members of the Green Council. Future-proofing a building is paramount; we’ve got flexibility within the elements we put into the building that can adapt in future generations with minimum alteration. It may be more of an upfront cost, but it facilitates the future.

 

Fisher & Paykel Design Centre

Fisher & Paykel Design Centre

What results have you seen from installing Method bins in your office?

We want to segregate our rubbish at source, which is an important thing... Making the selection earlier in the chain is always better. It’s given us with ease the ability to emphasise the visibility of recycling. I think it’s an educational tool, if you want to change people’s habits you’ve got to make it simple. What your bins have done, is by having the design focus, is you’ve made people consider their actions. 

 

Custance x Minter Ellison Rudd Watts

Custance x Minter Ellison Rudd Watts


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Method x Sherwood Hotel, Queenstown

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Sherwood Hotel, set on the alpine hillside in Queenstown overlooking Lake Wakatipu and the Remarkables range, oozes both cool and calm.

Dining here focuses on fresh, seasonal, soul food taken from Sherwood’s own kitchen gardens, orchards and surrounding farms. Activities include yoga, pilates, meditation and massage, plus  live music, film, writers and artists in residence.

Each room has locality at its core; custom wall art and hand woven furnishings adorn the walls, a thick woollen blanket courtesy of South Island flocks comes with each of its 78 rooms, and New Zealand made manuka honey & myrtle bodywash inhabits every washroom.

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On the roof of Sherwood you’ll find 248 high efficiency multi-crystalline solar panels. It’s one of the largest private solar installs in New Zealand, and generates so much energy it actually returns excess back to the grid -- how about that for a carbon footprint.

With a mission as clear as this, every aspect of the aesthetic had to be carefully considered when Sherwood was renovating. That’s why Method’s visibly beautiful recycling bins became the natural fit for to amplify their conscious choices about waste.

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Liane Leesment, Sherwood’s Operations Manager, initially invested a first run of Method recycling stations and was astonished with the results.


“We have achieved almost 100% diversion of waste from landfill in our restaurant by focusing on specialised waste collection and on site separation,” Leesment said.
 

We’re excited to see what the future holds for Sherwood as they install more of our Method recycling stations across their ethically-minded, luxuriously cool site. We’ll check back in with them early next year.

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Why Your Office Should Recycle

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We know that we should recycle at home, but oftentimes we forget about the environmental impact our offices can have. Think about it: 100 employees, 100 lunches worth of waste. That’s why it’s imperative that we help divert as much as we can from landfill by giving workers a visible, simple system to help them recycle. With a little effort, a big difference can be made.

Saves Money

As our Financial Case Study shows, huge savings can occur when switching from Individual Desk Bins to Method Recycling Stations. You can drastically reduce cleaners fees by reducing your number of bins, as well as the amount of liners you’re using.

Improves your Corporate Social Responsibility

Starting a recycling initiative improves your Corporate Social Responsibility and your company’s image. More and more consumers are realising the necessity of environmental responsibility, and shifting their allegiances to ‘greener’ brands that encompass these moral values. Setting up recycling within your office, especially in such a visible way as with Method bins, will boost your employees’ morale through the efforts you’re making.

Atlassian's Sydney offices

Atlassian's Sydney offices

Changes Behaviours

By incorporating recycling into your office environment, you are spearheading a campaign to change your workers into change-makers. By giving people accountability for their actions, you are reinforcing positive behaviours which will then be translated into their home lives, too. Our recycling bins provide education and motivation to become more impassioned about recycling and reusing in all aspects of life.

Protects the Environment

Would you like to protect the world from harmful chemicals and greenhouse gasses? How about reducing the need for raw materials so that habitats need not be destroyed? It’s been reported that for every ton of paper you recycle, 26,500 litres of water and 17 trees are saved. We think you'll agree that that's astronomical number, and something we just cannot ignore.

 

Head in the right direction today with Method Recycling.


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The Future of Open Plan Offices

The Future of Open Plan Offices

There are three characteristics we believe help Method Recycling stand out from the crowd when it comes to modern design-thinking in the workplace.

Here’s how we will shape the open plan offices of the future:

Don’t Waste Your Lunch: Method Recycling at Britomart Place

Don’t Waste Your Lunch: Method Recycling at Britomart Place

They say the best conversations happen over lunch, but we’d argue that trash talk is even better. Every lunchtime last week Jo from our Auckland office took to Britomart Place, as part of their Better Month campaign, to showcase our Method bins and what a visible difference they can make.

Ethical Manufacturing: Team Trip to our Whanganui Factory

Ethical Manufacturing: Team Trip to our Whanganui Factory

Last week our Wellington office took a road-trip to Whanganui, the home of the sacred Whanganui river, art deco architecture, delicious cafes, and - last but not least - AXIAM factory. Our mission for the day was to show the new members of our team the manufacturing process behind our beautiful Method bins.

Method Making a Visible Difference in Kindergartens

Method recycling bins have been praised for instilling a consciousness around recycling in children at kindergarten. Beach Haven Kindergarten, an enviroschool with a heavy emphasis on sustainable habits, is using Method bins to teach children how to separate their waste at source and divert a great amount of landfill to compost and recycling.

Check out the article below to see how Beach Haven Kindergarten is using Method Bins to teach children how to look after our planet. 

 

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