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Key departmental publications, e.g. annual reports, budget papers and program guidelines are available in our online archive.

Much of the material listed on these archived web pages has been superseded, or served a particular purpose at a particular time. It may contain references to activities or policies that have no current application. Many archived documents may link to web pages that have moved or no longer exist, or may refer to other documents that are no longer available.

WIN Television Vic Pty Ltd
Cleaner Production - Waste Minimisation: Reduce, Reuse, Recycle

The three R’s - reduce, reuse and recycle - was the battlecry used by the Ballarat-based Television Victoria (now WIN Television Vic Ltd) in its fight against waste during 1994. Through simple but effective waste minimisation measures, the company achieved its goal of reducing waste production by 50% within only four months, two months ahead of time. The company has shown that while recycling is the most commonly used method of cleaner production, the reduction and reuse of waste are of equal, if not, greater importance. These simple measures are models for other organisations, including those in other industries, wishing to minimise waste production.

Background

The project was conducted at Television Victoria's Head Office in Ballarat (now WIN Television Vic Ltd). The site houses approximately 80 staff in different departments. Production of television programs is a large part of the operations. The project was funded by a grant from the Recycling and Resource Recovery Council as part of a comprehensive strategy to reduce waste going to landfill by 50% by the end of the decade.

The project focused on achieving best practice in waste minimisation within the television and radio industry. The measures were designed to be used as a model for others in the industry wishing to minimise waste production. Television Victoria was selected for the project as it was already committed to becoming environmentally responsible.

The process

On an annual basis (prior to the commencement of the project), the Television Victoria site was producing 312 cubic metres of waste, which was collected at a cost of $3,900 per year.

A Waste Minimisation Committee (WMC) was formed to investigate the source of the waste and to draw up a waste minimisation strategy. It was composed of staff members from different departments.

After the formation of the WMC, VIC TV employed a facilitator for the project to contribute environmental knowledge and ideas. This was found to be very helpful. Initial staff involvement was through the dissemination of a questionnaire which served to increase awareness of the Waste Minimisation Strategy and to encourage participation in the project.

Cleaner production initiatives

The project aimed at a 50% reduction in the amount of waste disposed of by the end of 1994 (a six-month period from July to December). The Waste Minimisation Committee made 15 recommendations to achieve this aim.

The recommendations revolved around the three R's - Reduce, Reuse and Recycle. While recycling is perhaps the most recognisable and commonly used method, the reduction and reuse of waste are of equal or greater importance. The actions recommended by the Committee have been divided into these categories, in order of importance.

Reduction

Reduction of waste at its source is crucial to any waste minimisation strategy. Examples of this include redesigning product packaging to use less material, modernising outdated and inefficient equipment to use materials more productively and replacing disposable products with durable alternatives.

The importance of reduction was brought home to the Committee by a comment from a member of staff from another organisation undertaking a similar project:

"...recycling is being used as an excuse to use excess paper, i.e. people seem to think that it doesn't matter how much paper is used as long as they put it in the recycling bin..."

Some of the initiatives listed below were already practiced in some parts of VIC TV. The project aimed to make all offices aware of them to ensure the maximum level of staff participation in as many initiatives as possible.

Reuse

Reuse of a product more than once in its original form is the second level in the waste management hierarchy after source reduction. Reuse differs from recycling because products and materials are not reprocessed, saving resources and energy.

Recycling

The most common materials used in recycling are wood fibre, metals, glass and plastics. In most cases, manufacturing from recycled materials requires less energy and results in a reduced environmental impact when compared with using a virgin or primary resource, provided the recycled materials are collected and processed efficiently.

Used tape reels. VIC TVA, along with Complete Video Services, have launched a program where credit is accumulated for old spot reels collected. For every 1250 old spot reels, 100 new ones are supplied free of charge.

Paper. The recycling system introduced at VIC TV Ballarat consists of small desk trays for individual paper waste and larger floor bins into which they are emptied. The floor bins are in turn emptied into a bale bag in the shed, which is collected by a recycling company.

Glass, aluminium cans, PET plastics and liquid-paperboard (milk cartons etc). At VIC TV a complete cans, glass, PET plastics and liquid-paperboard separation and recycling system was established. These containers of different materials are collected together and put in bins to be collected by a recycling company when they come to collect the cardboard and paper.

Laser cartridges. Buying recycled cartridges has been a financial benefit to VIC TV. A company has been found that will pay $10 for all used cartridges and will supply high quality recycled replacements for half the price of a new one.

Printer ribbons. The original method of recycling ribbons was to re-ink the used ribbon, but now the ribbon is actually replaced. While there is still waste in the disposal of used ribbons, the plastic casting is re-used, resulting in notably reduced waste and cost savings.

One-inch tape reels. One-inch tape reels are made of aluminium and can therefore be recycled. Some VIC TV offices were selling all used reels to a scrap metal yard, reducing the amount of waste going to landfill and economically benefiting the organisation.

Batteries and toxic substances. Nickel Cadmium (Ni Cad) batteries are used in news rooms and elsewhere around some networks. Barillium Oxide and PCB oils are highly toxic substances found in transmission equipment. Although the quantities of processing solution used in the graphics departments may not be excessive, its responsible disposal is imperative. The graphics department in Ballarat had stored the used chemicals, being unsure of elimination techniques. A company was found that provided appropriate disposal.

Some negative films and papers used in the graphics department contain a small quantity of silver. After the developing procedure, the silver is left in the processing solution, which is used for a period of time and then replaced. This silver can be extracted. There are companies which offer chemical collection services wherein the used solution is collected in bulk for a small fee. This cost is offset by payment for the silver content of the chemical.

Advantages of the process

As the Waste Minimisation Committee’s recommendations were implemented, the amount of waste produced noticeably decreased, achieving the initial aim after 4 weeks. Waste production fell by 50% within only four months, two months ahead of target. In addition to waste reduction, the project also realised cost savings.

Cleaner production incentives

Television Victoria had been implementing sound environmental practices at the head office in Ballarat. The project funding from the Recycling and Resource Recovery Council presented an opportunity to maintain the staff’s high level of enthusiasm for cleaner production measures and to adopt additional measures. For example, the Waste Minimisation Committee has concentrated primarily on the reduction of solid waste, but it has identified other areas that could be investigated to reduce other environmental impacts.

By achieving the waste minimisation targets, the company would be assisting the Victorian Government's goal of a 50% waste reduction by the end of the decade statewide. This aim was compatible with those of all Waste Minimisation Strategies. Waste reductions of at least 20% in the first 6 months, and 50% over 18 months, are specific waste minimisation goals that should be achievable by all organisations of this type, depending upon present operations.

Being involved in the WMC was an important learning experience for many participants, leading to greatly improved understanding of environmental issues and concerns. Through this it is hoped that staff begin to address these issues in every aspect of their lives.

Following is a hyperlink to information on the Staff Involvement and Education Program used at Television Victoria in 1994 - Staff involvement and education

Further Developments

Since the inception of this initiative in 1994, all waste reduction plans have been instituted and maintained - air conditioners now operate only during work hours and/or in areas which require air conditioning for operational reasons; paper and other recyclable products continue to be collected for recycling; organic wastes are composted; and biodegradable cleaning products are used wherever practicable.

Lighting is monitored to minimise unnecessary consumption and usage of paper is being reduced with the application of electronic communications such as email wherever possible. However, further attention is being directed to the levels of paper consumption and methods of restricting unnecessary printing.

Videotape usage has been significantly reduced with the introduction of hard disk based file serves for the storage and transmission of commercials.

Contact

Norm Baker
WIN Television Vic Pty Ltd
PO Box 464
Ballarat VIC 3354
Ph: (03) 5320 1320
Fax: (03) 5333 1889
Email: bakern@atwinvic.com.au

Implementation: 1994
Casestudy initially prepared: 1998 with assistance from the Recycling and Resource Recovery Council
Last modified: June 2001