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Clean Up Australia Day 2016

This year, Toxfree Kwinana and Henderson branches helped their local community by participating in Clean Up Australia Day. We interviewed Craig Parfitt, Sales Manager at Kwinana, on the role Toxfree played.

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The Toxfree team on Clean Up Australia Day.

For those who don’t know, what exactly is Clean Up Australia day?

Clean Up Australia Day started in 1990 in which 300 000 people participated in picking up rubbish in their local communities all around Australia on a certain date. 16 years later the program has been responsible for picking up 288,650 tonnes of rubbish that would have been left to damage our environment.

Why did you decide to get involved?

I have always been one of those people that find littering unacceptable and I thought it would be a great team event getting outside and helping the community and the environment in the Rockingham Beach area.

How was Toxfree able to help?

We were able to form a group of people from the TES Kwinana & WS Henderson branches to provide labor and a rear lift compactor truck to pick up the bags of rubbish from the Rockingham Beach and surrounding areas.

What was the best part of the day?

We had some great feedback from the public as we picked up rubbish on the beach.

Was there any strange waste you didn’t expect to see?

We did find some stolen mail and parcels from an apartment block, which we reported to Australia Post.

For more information on Clean Up Australia Day visit: http://www.cleanupaustraliaday.org.au
For more information on Toxfree visit: http://www.toxfree.com.au

Supporting Indigenous Communities

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The Toxfree Reconciliation Action Plan (RAP) was recently updated and re-launched to the public. Our RAP focuses around building beneficial and lasting relationships with indigenous communities. Toxfree aim to hire indigenous staff where possible and provide them with training and support within our industries. Our RAP also looks to increase awareness around the indigenous culture and help all employees better understand the indigenous way of life.

The RAP is an integral element of Toxfree’s approach in delivering improved outcomes for both Toxfree and Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities. Toxfree has Indigenous employment initiatives, education and partnership agreements in place as well as promoting respect for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander cultures. The RAP will help to sustain reconciliation initiatives as a core focus for our company.

On March 9 we launched our 2015-2017 Reconciliation Action Plan at our Coopers Plains site. We were fortunate enough to have a representative from Reconciliation Australia attend and speak about the importance of companies having a RAP. We were entertained by Shannen Ruska, Traditional Custodian of the Brisbane Regions and The Nunukul Yuggera Dancers who provided the ‘Welcome To Country’ and performed traditional dances and demonstrated how to make fire with sticks and dried grass.

You can view our full RAP here.

Photo: Nick Badyk with the The Nunukul Yuggera Dancers.

Recycling with Perth Zoo

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The Toxfree Kwinana Team have proudly donated an unused fire hose reel from site to the Orang-utan enclosure at Perth Zoo.

Orang-utans’ are extremely clever and very strong, so fire hoses are one of the very few items that they won’t destroy quickly. The fire hoses are a great way of providing more complexity to their habitat while increasing the amount of usable space in their enclosure.

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Donated fire hoses can be used to create structures such as platforms, hammocks and hanging ropes. The fire hoses provide opportunities to climb, swing and nest high above the ground as many primates would in the wild.

Perth Zoo will kindly be hanging a plaque near the enclosure in thanks for Toxfree’s generous efforts.

New community recycling centre

Karen McKeown(Penrith Mayor) Wendy Xing(WSROC) Jesse & Ian.jpg

The issue
There are a wide range of products that we use in our homes every day that are potentially harmful if they are not disposed of correctly. These materials, known as ‘problem wastes’, include items like paint, car and household batteries and gas bottles. Old, leftover and unwanted materials like these require special treatment and processing because they cannot be placed in our kerbside bins.

The solution
Toxfree has recently signed an agreement with Penrith City Council to open a Community Recycling Centre (CRC) at the Toxfree St Marys facility for local residents to drop off problem wastes free of charge.

The Community Recycling Centre will be a permanent drop-off facility, open year round, for the safe disposal of paint, gas bottles, motor and cooking oils, car and household batteries, fluorescent tubes and globes, and smoke detectors. Many of the materials collected can be recycled if they undergo special treatment and processing. Community Recycling Centres are currently being established across NSW. Toxfree is working with the NSW EPA to deliver these services across NSW.

The outcome
The Community Recycling Centre will be complemented with Household Chemical CleanOut events to ensure the safe disposal of household chemicals.

Toxfree provides a safe, reliable and sustainable collection, transport and disposal service of potentially hazardous chemicals and wastes. Toxfree has a strong relationship with NSW EPA and will continue to provide support in their initiatives to safely dispose of problem wastes in NSW.

This project was supported by the Environmental Trust as part of the NSW EPA’s Waste Less, Recycle More initiative, funded from the waste levy.

(Header image – L-R: Karen McKeown (Penrith Mayor), Wendy Xing (WSROC), Jesse Brown and Ian Parkes of Toxfree)

Toxfree staff complete vacuum awareness course for work on Rio Tinto sites

Toxfree Waste Services for Rio Tinto have just completed the one day Vacuum Awareness Course, which is an IFAP approved course. The course is a unique training experience developed through extensive industry consultation. Toxfree assisted in piloting the course within their service streams to contextualise to their business needs.

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The course places a strong emphasis on positive job arrangements and covers all aspects of vacuum loading, namely:

  • the types of vacuum equipment;
  • safety and hazard management;
  • undertaking of vacuum loading operations;
  • transport requirements;
  • selection of equipment type; and
  • fault finding.

This course is the first to be conducted on a Rio Tinto site nationally and was well received by all participants.

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If you would like further information on the training course please contact Jane Walther, HSEQ Facilitator – Waste Services: j.walther@toxfree.com.au

Toxfree innovates with underwater high pressure water blasting

The issue

Unmanned platforms that were once oil wells still stand five hours off Lakes Entrance in the Bass Strait. The ‘Perch’ and ‘Dolphin’ platforms are required to be maintained to ensure they remain safe and do not cause a hazard in the ocean.

Part of the maintenance process involves checking the pipes that reach the ocean floor for wear and tear, specifically around their welding joints. In the past, divers have been sent down with high pressure water blasting equipment to blast away all the build-up on the pipes by hand. When the build-up has been blasted off, weak areas can be found and repaired to avoid any hazards.

The solution

Tommy Daly and Trevor Mathieson from Toxfree worked with Dive Works to provide high pressure water blasting on the pipes with the use of a robot. Dive Work Solutions provided a Sea Eye Leopard ROV and a Sonomatic Mag-Rov, these were combined with the Toxfree high pressure water blasting equipment to complete the work. The robot removed the need to send down divers and by using a camera the entire process, which occurred 15 metres under the water, could be safely monitored and controlled from dry land.

Toxfree equipment being loaded on to the boat, ready to be taken out to the platform.

Toxfree equipment being loaded onto the boat, ready to be taken out to the platforms.

During the process, a 2 metre section of pipe was found to be covered in calcium build-up, which is particularly difficult to remove. To overcome the issue, Toxfree combined the high pressure water blasting water with garnet, this created an abrasive solution that could cut into the calcium. The abrasive water was used on the pipe in a crisscrossing motion to break up the calcium, after that the normal high pressure process was used to remove the chunks of calcium, revealing the smooth pipe underneath.

The outcome

Together, Toxfree and Dive Works provided a safer and cheaper option to maintaining the dry wells compared to methods used in the past.

The client was very happy with the outcome and that it was completed in a safe and well organised manner. The success of this project has led to further projects that are currently going ahead offshore.

To read more about Toxfree projects, visit our case studies page here.

Are you living in a toxic environment?

City of Sydney Clean Up Day

Jesse Brown at the City of Sydney clean up day.

In 2012, 75% of Australian households disposed of at least one potentially hazardous household item. The use of harmful chemicals is not just confined to industry application. Almost every household across the country will have some form of hazardous material lurking under the kitchen sink, in the garage or the garden shed. At the point when these chemicals are no longer required, Toxfree has the solution.

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What can you do?
Toxfree offers a service for the collection and disposal of hazardous household chemicals. Disposing of hazardous household chemicals is achievable throughout our network of national facilities. Through a combination of mobile collection events to permanent facilities, householders can confidently deposit their unwanted items and drive away with the confidence that their waste will be managed with the utmost respect for the environment and surrounding community.
Specialist equipment is provided to cope with the collection of small items handed in by the public. Typical wastes are oil, paint, solvents, pesticides, cleaners, batteries, acids, alkalis, pharmaceuticals, pool chemicals, brake fluid, coolant, aerosols and photographic chemicals.
All items are received by experienced operators specifically trained to understand the complexity of waste types and packages. The sorting is performed by industrial chemists who segregate the various waste types into compatible types for transport to the Toxfree disposal facility.

Find out what Toxfree can do for you: http://www.toxfree.com.au

Source: ABS

Toxfree and AgSafe

Toxfree has been the preferred service provider for the national ChemClear program managed by Agsafe for over 10 years. The longevity and success of this contract for Toxfree has been through embracing a partnership approach where we work closely with our customers, providing a first class and tailored service to consistently exceed their needs.

Toxfree recently attended the 6th Australian Landfill & Transfer Stations Conference with AgSafe to promote household hazardous waste recycling, including the ChemClear initiative.

Lisa Nixon (AgSafe) with Tim Sheldon-Collins (Toxfree) at the Landfill & Transfer Station Conference.

Lisa Nixon (AgSafe) with Tim Sheldon-Collins (Toxfree) at the Landfill & Transfer Station Conference.

“On establishing our waste reduction project in 2003 ChemClear was seeking a waste contractor that had the ability and foresight to grow with us as our national initiative rolled out across Australia. Since 2003 the team have provided their excellent skill and knowledge to the program and continue to be an integral part of the ChemClear success story.”

Lisa Nixon, National Program Manager – Industry Waste Reduction Schemes – drumMUSTER | ChemClear

For more information or to find out when your next ChemClear collection is, click here: chemclear.com.au
For more information on Toxfree and their range of services, click here: http://www.toxfree.com.au

Toxfree’s top 10 tips for having a sustainable office

Paper bin Phone charger water bottle Coffee dregs Double sided Ink cartridge lights off lunch box mobile photos Office Plants

Toxfree’s sustainable workplace

The Toxfree Kwinana Recourse Recovery Center is a seven star energy rated building. The Toxfree office facility is the first commercial office facility constructed from R Control SIP’s in Australia, built by JWH Group. Toxfree is proud to have invested in emerging energy efficient construction which also lessens the impact on the environment and creates greater comfort of occupancy.

For more information about Toxfree and our services, click here: http://www.toxfree.com.au

Abrolhos Islands clean-up

An interview with Errol Beere and Rick Bryant of Toxfree.

The Houtman Abrolhos (often referred to as the ‘Abrolhos Islands’) is a chain of 122 islands and associated coral reefs, in the Indian Ocean off the west coast of Australia, about 80 kilometres west of Geraldton.

It is the southernmost true coral reef in the Indian Ocean and one of the world’s most important seabird breeding sites. It is also the centre of Western Australia’s largest single species fishery, the western rock lobster fishery. A group of retirees from Perth Friends of the Abrolhos (PFA) have been progressively recovering rubbish from the islands over several years.

This year Toxfree supported the clean-up with 12 volunteers as well as resources required for the clean-up and total removal of rubbish from 8 of the islands. The quantity of waste was 4.08 tonnes, and was contained in 407 Toxfree branded, biodegradable rubbish bags.

Kelly Morgan-Bryant, Rick Bryant, Nikki Hunt, Kelly Smith, Harry Buck, Errol Beere, Chas Hewson and Pascoe Murison.

Kelly Morgan-Bryant, Rick Bryant, Nikki Hunt, Kelly Smith, Harry Buck, Errol Beere, Chas Hewson and Pascoe Murison.

Where does all the rubbish come from?

EB: Us humans! The majority of the rubbish recovered during the clean-up was plastics which can cause harm to a variety of fauna i.e. turtles and birds due to entrapment or ingestion. Whilst there was a lot of fishing rope and floats found, the amount of plastic drink bottles and discarded oil drums was concerning considering the damage these items can cause to the environment. Many of the plastic bottles found were so brittle that they disintegrated when touched, which caused a mini environmental disaster of small bite sized pieces of plastic, and took a concerted effort to remove every fragment.

RB: It would appear that the bulk of the rubbish falls off, or is discarded from commercial and recreational boats, and it is assumed that with the current flows into the coral group, that the rubbish comes from a very wide area of the Indian Ocean.

Why did you, personally, decide to be part of the clean-up effort?

EB: Having been a part of many Toxfree emergency response tasks, I looked forward to performing a clean-up task on a bunch of islands basked in sunlight as opposed to a busy heavy traffic corner covered in ammonium nitrate at night. However, the PPE requirement was much the same! I’ve always enjoyed the teamwork and experience gained on clean-up tasks such as this. Not only was it a great opportunity for team building, but it is always a proud feeling when you’ve been a part of a volunteer effort giving back to the community and environment in which we are all a part of. Very rewarding!

RB: Having been involved with a client who has a significant focus on the environment, the opportunity to participate in a very personal way to clean up a virtually untouched part of the world, for the benefit of the environment, was a fantastic opportunity. I immediately saw the benefits of building a relationship with the client within an area which is important to their ethos. In addition; to foster a team building activity that binds the team with a personal common goal – that is to say that environmental issues are very topical and we have actually gone out and done something that makes a difference. We also took advantage of a unique opportunity to harness a follow up media story about the waste activity, with the hope to broaden the company’s brand.

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What was the best part of the experience?

EB: Seeing the differing geology and landscapes between the islands as well as the local seal population. One island had a beach made entirely of bleached coral pieces, probably 2 metres deep and ten metres wide in some spots, which stretched for a couple of hundred metres. The locals also took interest in our work, with some team members being followed along the coast line by inquisitive seals.

RB: I am completely overwhelmed by the attitude and commitment that my team gave to this excursion. The team maintained a high professional demeanour throughout the activity and rewarded me daily with the commitment to the task at hand. The resulting bonds that were forged on this excursion will pay dividends well in to the future.

Were there any bad parts of the experience?

EB: There really weren’t any bad moments, but I guess the moment when a 3m bronze whaler shark showed up minutes after our Chevron Contract Manager had been for a brief swim around our boat was a little concerning at the time.

RB: Aside from seeing the shark only one metre from the boat, minutes after I had climbed out of the water; the ocean voyage from Geraldton to the islands and return was not the most fun…. Let’s just say I was thankful for the magic sea sick tablet!!

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Was there any strange waste you didn’t expect to see?

EB: Intact light globes, the old style, and we found many of them! How a light globe stays intact after washing ashore across reef and onto beaches made predominantly of rock was a surprise to me. It made you think of how many didn’t make it.

RB: And not just intact globes… there were a small handful of intact fluoro tubes! We also plucked a couple of tyres, and a surprisingly large number of jandals!

Is there anything else you would like to add?

EB: The exposure Toxfree has gained from this initiative has been fantastic and it was a wonderful opportunity for all involved; the PFA, the boat crew, the Toxfree team, as well as the wider community.

RB: This entire activity was absolutely rewarding from beginning to end. I feel extremely privileged to have led this amazing team on an activity that presents multiple benefits across multiple areas, including the team, the client, Toxfree and the environment. I am extremely grateful to the team who also gave up their own time to work damn hard collecting small pieces of rubbish in a very isolated and uninhabitable, but beautiful, part of the world.

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