Elegant office waste recycling bins small part of Kathmandu sustainability strategy

 Papa Kainga, Kathmandu Base Camp a five-star Green rated Building in Christchurch’s Innovation Precinct  

Papa Kainga, Kathmandu Base Camp a five-star Green rated Building in Christchurch’s Innovation Precinct  

Everyone has a part to play in waste recycling, rather than merely observing it,” says Oliver Milliner, Kathmandu Sustainability Coordinator.

“For our office-based staff, having slick looking easily identified bins encourages us all to think about how waste recycling works, and the small actions required to achieve it,” he says.

Kathmandu’s head office named Papa Kainga, a one year old five star green star rated building for efficiency and sustainability in Christchurch’s Innovation Precinct has installed Method Recycling’s 60 litre, 100% recyclable polypropylene bins. Three stations of three MR bins are strategically located on each of the headquarters’ three floors.

The colour-coordinated waste-stream bins are an aesthetically stylish way for Kathmandu staff to separate and sort paper, metals, glass, landfill and food scraps as the rubbish is created. In turn Method’s system makes it easy for cleaners to allocate the full bin liners to appropriate recycling streams.

Kathmandu’s adoption of Method’s New Zealand-made, modular system ties in directly with the sharemarket-listed company’s publicly stated and reported-against Sustainability Strategy.

Oliver Milliner a Global Reporting Initiative (GRI) trained coordinator says the company works hard to continually reduce the social and environmental impacts of the manufacture, distribution and sale of its outdoor clothing and equipment.

It is the only Australasian company which backs these impacts by incorporating the Higgs Index. This is an apparel and footwear self-assessment standard for measuring environmental and social sustainability throughout the supply chain.

“Our sustainability strategy is the driver behind all the different areas of our business, and we use it across many different projects being carried out by our materials and projects teams,” says Oliver.

“Our annual Sustainability Report is investor facing, and communicates how we’re operating in those areas. It is also circulated widely within the business, and helps ensure that our strategy is used, assessed and incorporated across everything we do.”

He says that as an outdoors-oriented company, 

Kathmandu realises the importance of doing the best it possibly can to protect and enhance the environment in everything it does.

For example it ensures that cardboard packaging in its retail shops is recycled, while soft plastics such as bubble-wrap now joins a soft plastic recycling scheme to upcycled into the likes of park benches. Kathmandu is a member of the NZ Packaging Forum which aims to recycle and reuse glass, soft plastics and public place rubbish.

 Method Office Recycling Station - out and proud as part of the communal workspace

Method Office Recycling Station - out and proud as part of the communal workspace


General waste bins ditched

When Kathmandu’s new office opened in early 2016, it originally had general waste bins, along with desk bins for individual workers.

The use of Method’s utility stations, including locations at each floor’s kitchen, means staff have to walk a small distance to sort their rubbish. “But it is not viewed as a huge problem,” says Oliver.

“It is all about engagement, awareness and communications. A few really passionate team members from our Customer Services team have really helped drive this awareness and reduction in the office. There a lot of education involved, a lot of internal communications. 

He says that Kathmandu is a member of the USA-based Outdoor Industry Association (which also has the likes of Patagonia, North Face and Colombia). This association meets twice-yearly to discuss, and share answers to the industry’s big issues. Oliver says Method’s answer to sorting office waste is elegant and easy - and will probably be mentioned at an upcoming association meeting.

“Method’s slick solution is part of our wider sustainability strategy and ethos,” he says.

“It enables us all to play a small role in reducing our individual footprint and living up to Kathmandu’s values.”

Method co-founder India Korner says Kathmandu’s use of its injection-moulded bins is a perfect example of an environmentally aware company making it possible for staff to do the right thing.

“The other advantage of our system is that in activity- based and collaborative workspaces such as Kathmandu’s, by taking away individual desk bins and enabling people to walk to our bins, you provide the opportunity for them to bump into each other,” she says. “That’s how new ideas are generated.”

Method’s bins also allow much more flexibility of design, and changing around of layout within an office. If special cabinetry needs to be built (which usually hides away other less attractive types of waste recycling bins), then any office changes are much more problematic says India. Method’s standalone bins (with lock together connectors) can adapt and grow with any office changes she says.

India says that Method’s bins are also liner bag agnostic, though colour coded liners (same at the bin lid) are available. No matter which liners are used, the patented mechanism which locks liners into place, and ensures no ugly liner overhang is another feature enjoyed by cleaners and staff alike.

She says Method’s system, developed using design-led principles, means no rubbish can get between the liner and the bin.

“We’ve made sure our system is infallible,” she says.

“It is good for Kathmandu , and good for us that we are able to help such a progressive company achieve its sustainability goals.”

 Papa Kainga, 201 Madras Street, Christchurch, New Zealand

Papa Kainga, 201 Madras Street, Christchurch, New Zealand

Steven Korner

115 Tory Street, Wellington, Wellington, 6011, New Zealand