Why Going Paper Free Is a Good Green Office Move

So, you think your office’s act has reached perfect Green status? You’ve brought in the recycling bin for paper, plastics, glass and food, and even replaced every light bulb with energy saving bulbs.

That is excellent work, but there is still more to do!

The perfectly Green Office is one that has reduced its carbon footprint to practically nil, and the best way to achieve this is to rid the office of paper completely. The paper-free office is more than just green, it is also considered one of the most efficient working and administrative environments around.

Practical and Financial Advantages

Of course, there are very positive practical and financial aspects to switching to a paper-free system.

Consultants are not shy to highlight the fact that storage issues are all but erased thanks to storage on hard drives, servers and on USB and discs. Filing cabinets can then be replaces by office trees.

Since paper is not needed to print and store in a physical administrative folder on some shelf, there is no paper consumption and, therefore, no paper supply to replace.

Figures from the US indicate that an office worker uses around 10,000 sheets of paper per year, while the cost of actually using the paper can be as high as 31-times the cost of purchasing the paper. In fact, Citigroup, the international financial services corporation, has estimated that if their employees conserved one sheet of paper per week, they would save a total of $700,000 per year.

Environmental Advantages

The whole idea of going Green is to improve the environment and lower your office’s carbon footprint. The truth is that arguably the greenest policy is to remove paper from an office completely.

The reason is simply that the impact is far greater.

Figures have consistently shown paper and cardboard products to occupy the largest share of landfill refuse.

In 1994, for example, they represented 40% of the total solid waste generated in the US, and but it has only fallen to 28% according to 2009 figures from the EPA. And once in the landfill, paper takes an surprisingly long period of time to decompose (15 years) and creates a methane gas, one of the most destructive greenhouse gases, some 21 times more heat retaining than CO2.

And, of course, tree likes you! Why? Well, while paper recycling is a good thing, there is still a requirement for some virgin wood pulp to be used in the process – so some trees do need to be cut down.

If no paper is used (not even recycled paper), then zero trees need to be cut.

Despite the awareness we have of global deforestation, the rate of deforestation has actually increased over the last 4 decades, by a staggering rate of 400%.

According to ecology.com, an estimated 4 billion trees – or 35% of the world’s harvested trees – are used in the paper industry.

Needless to say, if every office in the world was to reduce its paper dependency to almost zero, the rate of tree-felling would, well… fall dramatically!

So, yes, those trees will definitely love you for it!

Cloth Towel Dispensers

Now that you know the benefits of going paper free, here is a simple way that Alsco can help you achieve that.

Research shows that most people prefer to dry their hands using cloth towels.

Continuous cloth towel  also offers significant environmental benefits: it has the lowest environmental impact of available hand drying systems. Research has also shown cloth towels to be the most effective hand-drying technique at removing bacteria. Hygienic hand drying is an important step to clean hands.

For more information, Alsco’s friendly representative will be happy to serve you.

Sources:

  1. “Facts About Paper” (1996), Printers’ National Environmental Assistance Center – http://www.pneac.org/sheets/all/paper.cfm
  2. “How Does Recycling Paper Help Landfills”, lovetoknow.com – http://greenliving.lovetoknow.com/How_Does_Recycling_Paper_Help_Landfills
  3. “Environmental Impact of Paper”, Wikipedia – http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Environmental_impact_of_paper
  4. “Become a paper-less office”, reduce.org – http://156.98.19.245/paper/index.html

Image Courtesy: Kai Hendry

Good Energy Saving Habits – Pretty Lights Poster

There a many little and easy things we can all do to help the environment and save money.

Be reminded of these things on a daily basis with a handy A4 or A3 poster ready for download, printing and hanging on a wall.

Download A4 poster [PDF 258 KB]

Download A3 poster [PDF 1.1 MB]


Alsco Continuous Towel

An global study has shown that maximum number of the people choose to dry their hands using cloth towels than using paper alternatives. Alsco Continuous Cloth Towel dispensers provide also offers important benefits with less impact in the environment.

Let’s start our greener future. Talk to an Expert! Alsco representatives are just phone call away.

 

Image courtesy: Paul Cross

Safe Staff Are Happy Staff

Alsco Hamilton is very work safe focused

365 days of no lost-time injuries. A fantastic result!

Hi Everyone From Chief’s Country

Hamilton branch production department celebrated 365 days of no lost-time injuries.

Alsco Hamilton is very work safe focused – a reflection of this fantastic result. We celebrated this milestone with a staff lunch where we gave each staff member a goody bag which included a t-shirt with the logo “Working Safely 365 days a year”.

The teams at Alsco Hamilton start each day with a Greenroom meeting and high on every agenda is a discussion around accidents, near misses and hazards identified.

Healthy and Safe Staff are Happy Staff

Hamilton’s Health and Safety committee meet once a month and manage any concerns or near misses. Our staff are the Alsco Hamilton family and as everyone knows family safety is at the top of the list. Healthy and safe staff are happy staff.

We take health, safety and the environment very seriously and our next goal is to make it to the 31st of December 2014 without any accidents. We have called this “Project 14” because it has been scientifically proven that giving something a cool name substantially improves your success rate.

 

Carpet Manufacturer Shows The World How To Reduce Carbon Emissions and Water Usage

Back in 1994, Ray Anderson, the founder of Interface – one of the world’s largest carpet manufacturers – challenged his employees to pursue a bold new vision: to “be the first company that, by its deeds, shows the entire world what sustainability is in all its dimensions: people, process, product, place and profits – and in doing so, become restorative through the power of influence”. Using the inspiration its designers found in the natural world, Interface developed its ‘Mission Zero’ campaign, which aims for zero emissions, zero waste and zero oil by 2020.

During the last 20 years progress has been steady. Interface was there as the fledgling voluntary carbon offset market was established and in 2011 became the first carpet manufacturer to launch a product with 100 per cent recycled yarn. Since then the company has looked at ways to reduce not only the environmental impact of its own operations, but the full lifecycle of its products.

The Effect of Waste Reduction

Waste reduction efforts have resulted in a 84% decrease in total waste to landfills from Interface carpet factories since 1996 and, as of 2012, seven of nine factories operated with 100% renewable energy and 36% of total energy usage was from renewable sources.

More recently, the European division of Interface has achieved some ground-breaking results: carbon emissions cut by 90% and water usage reduced by 95%. The trailblazing sustainability targets were achieved last month at Interface’s European manufacturing facility in Scherpenzeel in The Netherlands.

The carpet manufacturer also unveiled that it was sourcing 100 per cent of its energy from renewable sources and had achieved zero waste to landfill at the Dutch site.

The Director’s Comment

Commenting on the milestones, Ramon Arratia, European Sustainability director at Interface, said: “Today, at Interface Europe, we are announcing that we are reducing our carbon by 90 per cent and water by 95 per cent from January 1st 2014. It is possible, it’s here and it has happened in a carpet industry, which one could say is an extension of the petrochemical sector.”

Green Innovation

Arratia said Interface Europe had achieved the reductions through a number of innovations, including the switch to green gas. He said the company was paying a premium for the gas, but it was a cost the company could afford because of a series of efficiencies it had already implemented.

“We are achieving the 90 per cent carbon reduction with 60 per cent efficiencies and 30 per cent renewables, not the other way around,” he said.

The green gas is being produced by anaerobic digestion of fish waste, which is then being turned into natural gas and pumped into the gas grid. The other main innovation adopted at the Dutch manufacturing facility to improve efficiencies has been a water recirculation system through closed loop piping.


EcoSafe Solutions

How does your business compare? How could sustainability be improved?

At Alsco we are committed to reducing the environmental impact of our business and to finding more sustainable ways to serve our customers, through means such as our Evolution Recycled Rubber Mats range and the Ecosafe Parts Washer.

Our revolutionary Evolution Mats are made from recycled eco-friendly materials. The Alsco Ecosafe Washers are water based and exists in its own environment where oil and grease are transformed into water and carbon dioxide.

Interface’s success serves as inspiration to continue our efforts to create a greener Alsco.

For any of the above, all you need to do is ask Alsco. If that green office is one of your priorities, then why delay?

Image courtesy: Ian McKellar

Go Green Posters – Green Fingers Aren’t Just for Gardeners

Alsco Go Green Posters: Green Fingers Aren't just for Gardeners

Do you find yourself frustrated at finding rubbish in the wrong bin at work? Download, print and hang this helpful reminder and there’ll be no more excuses for food scraps in the recycling bin!

 


Alsco Ecosafe Washer

Alsco offers variety of solutions to help make your workplace a greener environment like our and Ecosafe Washers. Our Alsco Ecosafe Washers are water based and exists in its own environment where oil and grease are transformed into water and carbon dioxide.

Grab yours now! Contact Alsco! We will be happy to give you all the details.

 

Image courtesy:  FOOD FOR GOOD HK

 

Safety at Work: How the WHS Act Affects the Volunteer

Volunteers are highly prized figures in our communities, putting their own time and skills to use that benefits us all – and for no payment. But even without any salary, volunteers are effectively at work, facing the same occupational hazards we all do. The new WHS Act addresses volunteering, something generally seen as a grey area.

The WHS Act defines a volunteer as someone who works without payment or financial reward for an organisation that also engages paid workers. But the act has established that volunteers are entitled to the same level of protection against accident and injury as paid workers, with the organisation they volunteer for responsible for providing that protection. Continue reading “Safety at Work: How the WHS Act Affects the Volunteer”

Safety at Work: How the WHS Act Affects Australian Businesses Engaging Volunteers

All across Australia, volunteers lend their time and expertise to community and charity activities. But while they may not be ‘employed’ by any organisation, they are entitled to operate in a safe environment. According to the new WHS Act, the organisations for which they work must ensure their environment is safe.

Crucially, under the WHS Act, there is a difference between organisations that engage volunteers, and volunteer associations. A volunteer organisation conducts a ‘business or undertaking’ (whether for profit or not) and employs staff as well as volunteers. These organisations owe duties to their volunteers.

Volunteer associations, on the other hand, do not have any paid staff on their books, and so they do not owe duties to their volunteers.

An organisation can exercise its duty in a number of ways. For example, they can ensure relevant policies and procedures are distributed properly to all of their volunteers, and they can regularly consult with volunteers to ensure they are fully informed. Volunteers should also have access to any relevant training to ensure they carry out their work safely.

Of course, these duties can only be done to a degree that is reasonably practicable. So, certain factors will be taken into account by the authorities, such as the type of business or undertaking it is, the type of work the organisation carries out, and the nature of the risks associated with that work.

Clearly, it would be easy to get confused over the specifics of the WHS Act. But The Essential Guide to Work Health and Safety for Organisations that Engage Volunteers, published by Safe Work Australia, provides clear and detailed information.

Below, you can read extracts from that guide, but to read the full version simply click on the link above. Alternatively, visit the Safe Work Australia website for access to the full range of fact sheets relating to volunteer organisations.

Some Fact Sheets:

Do the Model Work Health and Safety Laws Apply to Your Volunteer Organisation?

A volunteer organisation owes duties to its volunteers under the WHS Act, where it:

  1. conducts a ‘business or undertaking’ (whether for profit or not), and
  2. is not a ‘volunteer association’ as defined by the model work health and safety laws

This means that the model work health and safety laws do apply if your volunteer organisation employs staff as well as volunteers to carry out work for the organisation. However, the model work health and safety laws do not apply to a ‘volunteer association’ (whether incorporated or unincorporated). Page 4 of this fact sheet sets out the definition of a volunteer association.

What is a ‘Volunteer Association’ Under the Model Work Health and Safety Laws?

A ‘volunteer association’ is defined as a group of volunteers working together for one or more community purposes where none of the volunteers (jointly or alone) employs any person to carry out work for the association. Volunteer organisations range from small informal community groups to large incorporated organisations. They may be unincorporated and incorporated associations. The WHS Act makes it clear that a ‘volunteer association’ does not conduct a business or undertaking and therefore does not owe duties under the WHS Act.

The main factors in determining whether a volunteer organisation is a ‘volunteer association’ are whether the organisation:

  • conducts a business or undertaking, or
  • its volunteers employ people to work for that business or undertaking

If not, the volunteer association is not covered by the WHS Act and will not owe duties to its volunteers under it. Nevertheless, even where the volunteer organisation does not fall under the work health and safety laws, it is prudent to comply with general work health and safety duties. The general law duties of volunteer organisations and volunteers are well established and Australian courts have long recognised that volunteers are owed a general duty of care by the people and the organisations they support.

What is a ‘Community Purpose’ Under the Model Work Health and Safety Laws?

The WHS Act does not apply to ‘volunteer associations’ where a group of volunteers is working together for one or more community purposes.

The term ‘community purposes’ is not defined in the WHS Act but is intended to cover things such as:

  • philanthropic or benevolent purposes, including the promotion of art, culture, science, religion, education, medicine or charity, and
  • sporting or recreational purposes, including the benefiting of sporting or recreational clubs or associations.

How do you Tell If Someone is ‘Employed’ by a Volunteer Organisation?

An employee contributes labour and expertise to the business or undertaking of an employer and is usually employed to perform specific duties. Under Australian law, an ‘employee’ is usually (although not always) someone who has a ‘contract of service’ with their employer to perform such work.

‘Contract of service’ and ‘contract for services’ are common law phrases that are used to distinguish between the nature of services provided by a worker to an employer. A person who is employed usually performs work under a contract of service. There are many other indicators of whether a person is likely to be considered an employee. These include:

a. whether there is an employment contract in place, even though a person may be paid a nominal amount in return for the work they are performing, this may still be sufficient to indicate that there is an employment contract in place

b. the level of control or right to control that the employer may exercise such as over the manner in which the work is performed, the place of work and the hours of work

c. whether the worker performs work for others (or is entitled to do so)

d. whether the worker has a separate place of work and/or advertises their services to the world at large

e. whether the worker provides and maintains significant tools or equipment

f. whether the work can be delegated or subcontracted

g. whether the putative employer has the right to suspend or dismiss the person engaged

h. whether the worker is remunerated by periodic wage or salary

i. whether the worker is provided with paid holidays or sick leave

j. whether income tax is deducted from remuneration paid to the worker

k. whether the work involves a profession, trade or distinct calling on the part if the person engaged, and

l. whether the worker creates goodwill or saleable assets in the course of his or her work.

A contract for services however, refers to a relationship where a person provides services as an independent contractor. People who work under a contract for services generally have their own business, may provide their services to more than one client at a time and usually provide their own insurance cover. If so, they will be contractors and will not ‘employed’ by the volunteer organisation under the model WHS Act.

For more information regarding the duties of PCBU volunteer organisations under the model work health and safety laws, refer to the fact sheet How volunteer organisations can comply with the model work health and safety laws [393KB].

Does your organisation have volunteers too? Then you need to get compliant with the WHS Act. Alsco first aid kits are designed to help you achieve this objective. What more, our representative our happy to conduct a free first audit of your workplace towards achieving this goal. So get in touch with Alsco now.

 

Image Courtesy: Joe Loong

Energy Saving Reminders – Aren’t you Forgetting Something?

Alsco Energy Saving Reminder: Aren't you Forgetting Something?

Forgetting To Turn Appliances Off Is Easy To Do.

Why not make remembering a bit simpler with a reminder poster? Simply download, print and hang either an A3 or A4 version and make it easy for everyone to do the environment a favour.

 


Continuous Cloth Towel

The continuous Cloth Towel also offers important benefits with less impact in the environment. Use cotton towels which are an environmentally friendlier option than paper.

This is the solution for greener future. Talk to an Expert! Our representatives are waiting for your call.

 

Image courtesy: Pixabay

Alsco Wins Australian Mobile App Award

Alsco wins App award at the Australian Mobile and App Design Awards

A Dedicated Mobile Application For Our Sales Executives

The new Alsco Sales App has won the award for the best application in the Sales Force category at the Australian Mobile and App Design Awards.

With advances in Apple’s iPhone and iPad technology, Alsco identified the need to increase productivity and improve the quality of information readily available to our Sales Executives through a dedicated mobile application.

We approached app developer ‘Alive’ who demonstrated how harnessing the power of mobility could significantly improve the way we did business. “Alive educated us about the power of mobility and proved how the world of apps – in conjunction with mobile devices – can transform your business,” says National Sales and Marketing Manager David Petrie.

“We worked with Alive to develop a mobility action plan that involved interviewing staff and working with our sales executives. Alive went on the road with them and mapped the existing process. Importantly, this was all before we even talked about technology,” says David.

These key insights enabled Alive to deliver a dedicated mobile CRM iPad application tailored to the Alsco sales process. It has given our sales executives access to customer data and sales collateral and enabled them to prepare standardised proposals, all whilst being 100 percent mobile.

With this sales app, our executives are sure to be better equipped. Give them a call on 1300 659 892, they are waiting for you armed with their knowledge and their app.

 

Lucy Davies in Alsco

I love the challenge of opening people’s minds to health and safety concepts.

Tell Us About Your Job

As a Health and Safety Coordinator (Alsco Perth WA) I am responsible for the management of any workplace injuries and workers compensation claims, as well as hazard identification and control.

This is done through a variety of processes, including:

  • Risk assessments
  • Audits
  • Unsafe condition reports
  • Observations

I am also responsible for inducting new staff, training on safety procedures and the development of SWP’s and JSA’s.

What Does a Typical Day Involve?

The majority of my day is spent managing any injuries or Workers Compensation claims. This means attending doctors’ appointments, constructing Return to Work plans and speaking with various medical professionals.

I also conduct risk assessments, safety audits and complete hazard reports. Often throughout the day I will receive hazard reports from different areas of the branch. I will then investigate the hazard, speak to the people directly involved and identify control measures to be put into place.

No day is ever entirely planned out in health and safety, as hazards and injuries may arise at any time.

What Part of your Job do you Enjoy Most?

I love the challenge of opening people’s minds to health and safety concepts, and the satisfaction of seeing others getting positively involved in making their work areas safer. It is nice to see people brainstorming and actively contributing to problem solving.

Is There anything You Find Challenging?

Health and safety is a relatively new concept for many people, and sometimes it can mean a big change for those who have done a job one way for many years.

It can occasionally be difficult to get people positively involved in workplace changes, but ultimately satisfying to know that they are safer because of this.

What Is The Most Interesting Thing About Your Job?

I never quite know what the day will have in store for me. I have the opportunity to work in different areas with a wide range of people, and am learning new things constantly. It is really interesting to work alongside someone who has done a job for years, and see things through their eyes.

Who Do You Typically Work Closely With?

Within the company I work very closely with department Managers and Supervisors, to ensure they are fully involved in the return to work process with their employees.

I also work with a range of people outside Alsco, including:

  • Medical professionals
  • Injury consultants
  • Insurance case managers

Who Has Been The Most Inspirational Person You Have Worked With?

The most inspirational person I have ever worked with is definitely my father. I worked with him before coming to Alsco, and he was the one who got me interested in the health and safety sector.

My dad was always fighting to make the workplace a safer environment, and wasn’t afraid of making his voice heard. I owe my enthusiasm to him!

How Long Have You Worked At Alsco?

I have been with Alsco for almost two years now, and spent the entire time in the OHS Coordinator position. I have tried to spend some time working in each department to better understand their roles and the potential hazards involved.

Where Were You Born?

I was born and raised in Mount Maunganui in the north Island of New Zealand, but moved to country Victoria during high school. Despite having lived in Australia for 10 years I am still very much a Kiwi at heart!

Tell Me About Your Family

I come from a large family, with a lot of brothers and sisters!

We are all fairly spread out now, living in New Zealand, Australia and London.  Even though we are all in different time zones, I still make an effort to call them as often as I can.

What Do You Like To Do In Your Spare Time?

Anything fun I can find! Markets, festivals, art galleries or just a cold beer on the beach. I also spend a lot of time painting and sketching.

Where Do You Go For Holidays?

My partner and I have recently travelled to Thailand and Bali. We are keen to do more overseas travel, mainly in America and Europe. Although my family would be stoked if there was a New Zealand trip thrown in there too!

What Are Your Future Plans?

I plan to complete a Diploma of Work Health and Safety, and gain more experience in Injury Rehabilitation.

Lucy (and her colleagues) would love to help you with your OHS requirement. For any OHS related requirements, first aid kits requirement, call Alsco today! Lucy is waiting to assist you.