Reducing waste and increasing recycling rates in Dundee City Council offices.

Dundee City Council

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Addressed Challenges:

  • Carbon emissions
  • Waste

Action Areas:

  • Circular Economy 

Initiative Purpose:

  • Mitigation

The Story

Office bins in kitchen

The Waste Strategy Team carried out an audit of existing waste facilities at Dundee House and City Square to establish what additional resources and communication changes were required to increase recycling rate and reduce contamination. Following the audit, the following revised container provision was installed within the buildings on 19th February: dual unit for general waste (black lid) & mixed metals, plastics & cartons (burgundy lid) - 1 or 2 units per kitchen, depending on number of staff on floor; counter-top food waste caddy; single unit for mixed paper & card (blue lid); single unit for mixed glass (green lid).

In total, the number of locations within Dundee House which featured recycling bins increased from 8 to 21 with City Square increasing from 10 to 15 locations. In each location bins were clearly labelled, posters displayed to show what each bin should be used for and a “Frequently Asked Questions” booklet left beside the bins which contained information on using the services as well as contact information for the Strategy team.

Facilities staff were consulted extensively pre-installation to determine the most appropriate means of emptying the containers and storing the material and the main bin stores in each building were also reconfigured to ensure adequate containers on a suitable emptying frequency were provided.
Training Sessions

The Waste Strategy team held a total of 42 briefing sessions over a 3 week period in February 2019, reaching a total of 689 staff – this represents approximately 65% of those targeted. Sessions were booked via MyLearn and were advertised on a specially created intranet page which featured information about the services, contact details for any queries and an informative animation created by the Corporate Comms team which shows the items in a standard lunch “meal deal” broken down into their recyclable components to help get the message across.

For the briefings themselves a detailed presentation was compiled which focussed on the costs to the Council of not using the containers correctly & explaining the reasons why certain materials could not be recycled. Feedback from sessions was largely positive with lively discussions during the Q&A sessions which followed. Since running the sessions, the Waste Strategy team have received a number of requests for information and additional briefing sessions for those who were unable to attend initially & have provided the same level of detailed information to these staff via email.

The Waste Strategy Team reached an agreement with the Sustainable Transport Team to jointly fund an initiative to promote the reduction of single use plastic within Council properties alongside sustainable travel in the workplace. DCC-branded reusable coffee cups and water bottles were therefore purchased and supplied to staff at the briefing sessions.

Advice for others looking to do something similar

For behaviour change in staff, briefings and training should be mandatory.