The study was conducted as part of the Circular Offices project, which helps companies to put the principles of the circular economy into daily operation. For the proposed changes to be effective, it is necessary to analyze the material and energy flows in the complex, which help to identify which areas of operation need to be addressed.
“We know that circular traffic is not only more environmentally friendly but also more economical. This has been confirmed several times in the study, ”says Laura Mitrolios, Chief Financial Officer of INCIEN, who is behind the Circular Office project.
INCIEN employees spilled the contents of several mixed waste containers and sorted their contents according to where they should ideally end. The analysis showed that 30% of the weight of the garbage was biodegradable waste and 21% was paper, plastics, glass, metals and beverage cartons – a recyclable material. If this waste were properly sorted, 153 tonnes of waste would end up in a landfill or incinerator annually. At the same time, the company could save money on waste collection fees. At present, it costs CZK 129 for one 1100-liter bin, while the cost of transporting sorted waste is lower. Plastic costs 76 crowns, paper only 29.
The blame is bio-waste and paper towels
By replacing paper towels with a hand dryer, the production of mixed municipal waste could be reduced by a further 31% to just 55.6 tonnes compared to the original 302 tonnes.
“Resolving paper towels is a simple step. Just install electronic jet dryers and this kind of waste disappears completely. It will be a bit more challenging with bio-waste, ranking second with 30% in the analysis. ”He explains the changes that CTP-led offices are facing Laura Mitrolios, CFO of INCIEN. “Bio-waste has not yet been sorted in office premises, so we recommend that you buy bio-waste containers for each kitchen in the entire complex,” adds Mitrolios.
Free-standing mixed waste bins reduce the rate of waste separation
At the same time, in order for the solution to be effective, it is also necessary to phase out the self-standing waste bins to ensure that employees actually sort out. “It’s easier to throw the trash into your trash bin than to get up and bring it to the hallway and sort it. The decision to separate waste is not enough, it is necessary to change the infrastructure so that the separation is effective, ”adds Lucie Pečinková, adding that it is also necessary to educate employees and explain to them what the changes are good for.
Requirements for better separation of waste should also be included in lease contracts. Under the contract, tenants are obliged to separate waste “only if separate waste containers are placed in designated places”. More specific instructions in the contracts are missing. Better sorting could also be helped by the introduction of waste fees according to the amount produced, the so-called PAYT system. Now tenants pay a flat rate for waste according to the area of rented space.
In addition to waste, the study also focused on water and energy
In order for the office to be truly circular, it is necessary to focus on other material and energy flows. Therefore, the study also provides recommendations on energy and water consumption. As the study is already under way for the built complex, the proposed solutions focus mainly on the steps that can be implemented in existing buildings at affordable economic costs.
In the case of water, for example, the installation of dual flushing in toilets and economical aerators on taps. This could reduce drinking water consumption by up to 15%. If the toilets were replaced with water-saving ones, which consume only 2.5 liters of water per flush compared to conventional 8, up to 30% of the drinking water consumed in the complex could be saved.
In the energy sector, INCIEN recommends replacing energy-saving tubular fluorescent lamps with energy-saving LED bulbs, purchasing solar panels or motivating employees to turn off the lights when they leave the office without leaving the electronics in stand-by mode.
There is also a restaurant in the Spielberk office complex, which the waste management manages on its own and the study has therefore focused on it indirectly. Based on the experience of the Circular Café project, a list of recommendations was compiled for both the restaurant and office center as the landlord.
“Most restaurants do not sort bio-waste, which, like office waste, forms the bulk of the volume of mixed municipal waste. By using resources efficiently and avoiding food waste, the amount of bio-waste can be significantly reduced, ”says Barbora Kebová, Project Manager for Circular Cafes. “Unfortunately, however, there are no means of requiring sorting of bio-waste in the restaurants operating on the premises. We therefore recommend that CTP include this condition in the lease, ”he adds.
What are the next steps of CTP on the road to circularity?
At the moment, the project is in a phase where the results of the study were presented to CTP Invest, which will set up follow-up solutions to improve the status and move to the circular operation of office operations. In particular, what will be planned and what other expectations you will find in an interview with Stefan de Goeij, director of the Property Management Department, which we are preparing at Zajimej.se.