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COMMONWEALTH BANK: Tackling Lunchtime Food Waste

Team Compost Connect, 20 July 2022
COMMONWEALTH BANK: Tackling Lunchtime Food Waste
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Commonwealth Bank of Australia (CBA) is one of Australia’s largest employers. They care about the impact made now and into the future and understand that small changes add up and can make a real and lasting difference.

That’s why CBA have a strong focus on sustainable behaviour change – with more than 40,000 employees, the commercial buildings can create a lot of green waste, including organics, packaging and food waste from the internal cafes and meeting facilities.

By partnering with BioPak and Compost Connect, this waste is being turned into a nutrient-rich compost – a smart investment if you ask us!

As part of a progressive waste management plan it has also supported CBA’s journey to carbon neutrality, by focusing on reducing emissions.

Not everyone has the time to sit down and have lunch these days, so purchasing a ‘grab and go’ meal from one the multiple catering, cafes and food service facilities in each building is a popular option for many people.

That’s where our compostable takeaway packing comes in: managing organic waste in offices, no matter the size, is totally possible, and BioPak and Compost Connect can help.

The Challenge

Every day, CBA’s Lee Hardy and his catering team have the responsibility of providing employees delicious and nutritious food options that are available for purchase within the 4 Sydney commercial buildings cafes, and internal conference and meeting facilities. With such large scale operation they realised they had one problem – the packaging for the food produced a lot of waste!

Did you know regular plastic and paper containers cannot be recycled once they are contaminated with food? Think greasy curry, stir fry or oily salads. These leave a film of food contamination on packaging that’s not easy to rinse and render these materials unable to be recycled.

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The Solution

As early adopters of BioPak’s Compost Connect, CBA implemented ‘green bins’ throughout their Sydney buildings to ensure all food waste and compostable BioPak packaging was being collected and composted. They installed signage and organised information sessions for their team to ensure their new ‘Eco Disposal’ system was being used correctly.

What is Compost Connect?

Compost Connect helps businesses connect with Compost Partners to collect food waste and compostable packaging, transport it to an industrial composting facility and turn it into rich compost soil.

The Result

By signing up to Compost Connect and switching to BioPak compostable packaging, Lee says they’ve drastically reduced what they send to landfill by collecting their food waste and packaging to be turned into compost.

“We’ve gradually gone from a couple hundred kilos a week, to 1 tonne (1,000 kilos) a week now of organic compostable waste.”

Not having to separate the food waste from the packaging is the key. Employees at CBA simply enjoy their lunch in a compostable BioPak container and dispose of any leftovers and/or the container in any of the green bins around the building (and there are a lot).

Composting can often be a cheaper disposal option that is undoubtedly better for the planet. The compost produced can also be bought back by the company, restaurant or cafe to be used in herb gardens and more – very cool!

Collectively across the CBA commercial buildings, they divert 7 tonnes of organic waste from landfill a month, they expect this will increase to 10 tonnes as employees continue returning to the office. This means they will be diverting 120 tonnes of organic waste a year from landfill! This will in turn create 84 tonnes of compost per year, equalling 8,400 10kg bags of compost a year. This avoids the creation of 61,200 kg of carbon emissions, which is equal to the removal of 17 cars from the road or driving a new car 230,311 km which is the equivalent of 9 laps around Australia.

This diversion means the organic waste will break down much faster than it would in landfill and also won’t produce methane – a potent greenhouse gas that contributes to global warming.

There you have it! Managing organic waste and compostable packaging in the office is easy-peasy-lemon-squeezy – just make sure that lemon ends up in the green bin!

Interested in getting your team and office on board? Schedule a chat with our team here.

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