2020 Performance Highlights
The GPT Environment Data Pack details the full performance of our portfolio, funds and assets since 2005, including building ratings and attributes.
Background and Policy
We seek to minimise waste, leveraging the full life cycle of materials and avoiding the overconsumption of raw materials and resources. Ultimately, we aim to achieve closed loop resource use, meaning waste materials are recovered in a way that enables them to re-enter the same production cycles and used for the same purpose. We believe we can reduce the impacts of waste generation and resource depletion, in particular in the management of occupants' waste. Waste sent to landfill is also the principal source of Scope 3 emissions from our building operations, so our approach to waste management also benefits our climate change commitments.
Managing waste and resources responsibly enables:
- reduced waste costs;
- preparedness for emerging regulations and increasing community expectations; and
- contributing towards a world that uses resources at rates that can be replenished and disposes of waste at rates that can be re-absorbed without harm.
GPT's Materials and Waste Management Policy contains our complete policy background and commitments.
Our methods for delivering real outcomes in waste management
- A-grade recovery meets the closed loop objective and includes recovery processes that can occur repeatedly, for example fibre and metals recovery, as well as food waste processing to a standard that produces a product with no end-use restrictions. We set targets for closed loop recovery, but not for diversion from landfill (B- or C-grade recovery). To remain consistent with industry, we will continue to report lower-grade outcomes, but for targeting purposes, we will remain consistent with our objective to recover 98% of materials leaving our buildings in a closed loop manner.
- B-grade recovery is applied to processes described as down-cycling. An example of downcycling is the use of mixed food-grade plastics to produce packaging, non-food grade plastic. This does not meet the GPT closed loop objective but avoids landfill disposal. B-grade recovery is for downcycling items to lower value commodities.
- C-grade recovery is for processes that have a one-off end of life re-use that does not meet GPT’s closed loop objective; for example, Organic growth medium (OGM) from a mixed source waste that is produced in an alternate waste treatment facility or mine site rehabilitation. It may only be allowed to apply the product once.
This work has influenced the property sector as a foundation to the release of the Better Buildings Partnership's Operational Waste Guidelines and Stripout Waste Guidelines, the renewal of the NABERS Waste tool and the introduction of its Material Recovery Score and the release of the GECA Waste Collection Services standard, which certifies waste contractors that provide leading practice services with strong data integrity.
- With our data integrity and monitoring capability, we maintain contracts to collect and recover materials best placed to meet our objectives, such as fibre from paper and cardboard and organics.
- In 2019 we rolled out a dedicated organics diversion to a local commercial composting facility at Charlestown Square, diverting unavoidable food waste for processing back to compost.
- We maintain partnerships with programs such as OzHarvest to support local families needing food relief, which also averts food waste ending up in landfill.
- We work in partnership with our cleaning and waste contractors to continuously monitor and improve the source separation, recycling streams and tenant engagement programs to maximise diversion opportunities.
- We benchmark our office towers against similar buildings using NABERS Waste and use this information to identify improvement opportunities for better source separation and recovery.
- We maintain a rigorous site management system designed to avoid generating hazardous waste. Asbestos registers are maintained at each site with well-developed management protocols.
- Site Fit Out Guides and House Rules control the use of chemicals on site by tenants and contractors.
- In general, GPT does not have operational control of waste from development sites; however, GPT does influence how contractors and suppliers manage waste through its Development Guidelines and Plan that include requirements for material selection and waste management, including
- requirements on our contractors to maintain waste management plans as part of project design and implementation,
- project-specific separation, reuse, recycling and diversion targets in line with Green Star standards, and
- education, engagement and other tools such as incentives for encouraging revaluing and recycling materials that could otherwise go to landfill.
- In example:
- Our development at 4 Murray Rose in Sydney Olympic Park, completed in 2018, required our contractors to divert more than 90% of construction waste from landfill and was awarded the relevant credit in its Green Star rating.
- Our current development contract at 32 Smith Street in Parramatta requires greater than 90% of materials to be diverted from landfill throughout the development process.
Challenges and Outlook
Optimising material recovery quantity and quality depends heavily on the waste management facilities available in the proximity of each asset and tenant processes and behaviours. With recent macroeconomic changes to the waste industry, including policy changes to the import of materials for recovery in China and Queensland, GPT’s focus on a full understanding of the outcome of materials leaving its buildings prepares us to continue to seek out closed loop recovery solutions and facilities; whilst we are impacted by the broader availability of facilities in the states in which we operate, we have analysed and are working with waste contractors and facilities to ensure the continued acceptance and recovery of material from our buildings.As GPT has been the leading adopter of outcomes-based reporting, working with waste contractors to change their processes and to improve their understanding of GPT’s systems and objectives, is resulting in a growing capacity to find solutions for the upstream tenant processes and behaviours as well as the downstream processing facilities to achieve the best outcomes.
Our focus on education and engagement is resulting in improved tenant processes and behaviours and best practice waste treatment processes are becoming increasingly commercially viable once the product they receive has lower contamination and consistent tonnages. Waste composition analysis has shown that it is possible to achieve the 98% closed-loop recovery objective and aforementioned positive feedback loop will provide the pathway forward in the coming years to move towards the target.