The European is a medium-sized business located in the Melbourne CBD.
The European consists of a number of businesses including a restaurant, late night bar, wine shop and bar, event space, wholefood grocer, gelati and cheese store, all located in two adjoining terrace buildings. It operates seven days a week.
The European's management believed that to ultimately deliver waste reduction they must adopt a holistic approach and review materials management as a whole, which will then drive resource efficiency.
The key issues for this business were:
In 2013 Sustainability Victoria provided funding to cover 75% of the cost of a material assessment. The assessment report made five key recommendations involving various technologies for onsite treatment of food waste, reducing waste packaging and minimising the space required to handle waste such as opportunities to work with neighbouring premises to share waste management.
'The program provided the motivation to put a lot of ideas we've had about the business to the test with the help of outside assistance. Being guided and having to pay such close attention to the components of the business that are always "nice to do" but aren't always things that you find the time to do as part of all the operational pressures of running things day to day.
Benefits we've already seen so far are working with one of our key suppliers to deliver product in insulated cardboard rather than polystyrene, resulting in a lot less bin space being taken up and a recyclable material being returned to the materials stream rather than going to landfill.
It just makes you drill down to the basics of considering every item that you use in the building and considering an alternative way of doing things – quite often you do things just based on price only or convenience only. If you can give the time to re-evaluating purchasing and how it relates to operations on a regular basis it can make the running of the process a lot more cost effective and efficient. We've certainly got a long way to go, but the initial signs have been encouraging in taking these first steps and our staff are very keen to see it expanded and working in all parts of the business.'
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