Two years of collecting used toner cartridges has seen Ricoh Australia making park benches for a variety of schools, universities and local councils all over Australia.
Now the vendor has launched a ‘green partnership scheme’ in an attempt to establish long-term relationships with partners, suppliers and customers that will help the environment.
The Commonwealth Bank and Melbourne-based Close the Loop have already been recognised as green partners — the bank because more than 1000 of its branches are registered in the Ricoh toner cartridge ‘Takeback’ program; Close the Loop because it converts the plastic cartridges back into raw materials.
“This [relationship with Commonwealth Bank] is a brand new concept. I’m not aware of anyone else signing a major customer to help them with a recycling program,” Ricoh quality environment manager, Neville Cooper, said.
“Customers usually want to know what’s in it for them with a project like this but Commonwealth were happy to take it right across the organisation.
“We won’t be handing out green partnership recognition like packets of cornflakes — it will only be given to those customers making a significant contribution to the environment.”
Ricoh claims eight tonnes of waste otherwise destined for landfill has been put to good use, with more than 11,500 imaging consumables being collected and recycled during the past two years. There are 2500 collection bins registered in the scheme.
Cooper said Ricoh had “a self-imposed goal” to eventually implement a “zero waste to landfill” strategy.
“You are never going to get 100 per cent, especially when Ricoh is not the only source of its own cartridges, but we would hope to reach 50 per cent by 2005,” he said.
The benches produced through the ‘Takeback’ scheme are donated or sold at cost to a wide range of recipients that has included the National Park and Wildlife Service, Blue Mountains City Council, Allamby Heights Public School in NSW and areas of Canberra affected by bushfires.
Ricoh hopes to rubberstamp a design for waste paper bins within a month and will order 1500 as soon as it is approved.