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Make recycling count in the office

The practicalities of recycling within a business are prominent in my thoughts this week. As has the distance many of us have to go, including my own employers, to be smarter with used materials.

First the good news: the current issue of the magazine is printed on 100% paper for the first time in seven or eight years, and I think it looks really good. We did it as a trial with Denmaur, which has taken on and reintroduced the popular Revive brand. Our current plan is to stick with that, especially as it is carbon offset.

I realise not all of MRW’s sister brands will be able to use this type of paper. The size and resolution of photographs used by Architects’ Journal, for example, requires a higher quality virgin pulp. Advertisers promoting their wares in Retail Jeweller expect glossy pages to do so. But not all the brands are in this position, and I hope our example will contribute to a more sustainable company.

MRW is part of the wider Ascential group which has just published its annual report – in a smart virgin pulp booklet. There is a section on sustainability that includes energy efficiency, recycling and travel.

I know senior managers are striving to improve what we do in these areas, but it isn’t always straightforward. Take the offices in which we work. Most are shared and all have landlords. Segregation of waste streams could always be better, but it needs more buy-in from landlord and tenants combining to press for better custom and practice. Our dry recycling bins, for example, are similar to the general waste bins and I am not sure that many people know the difference.

This is not a criticism of my employer but a social comment highlighting a general lack of awareness in the facilities management sector. It is improving but it has a long way to go. However, that theme is for another day.

MRW Towers has also implemented a helpful ‘spring clean’ today with black bags for all the clutter that accumulates in any office. But the danger is that recyclable materials will be lost without a more targeted approach to the clutter.

It has prompted me to circulate an email to colleagues asking them to be discriminatory when delving into the dark recesses of their lockers. I’ve also asked them to be mindful of the message when they dispose of the annual report after reading it. After all, it can have six more lives if recycled properly.

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