LaunchPad War on Waste

We’re interested in figuring out how to reduce our impact on the environment, so we asked the community to vote on four areas in which we could focus – what happened next surprised us.

At LaunchPad we’ve been interested in how we can reduce our impact (footprint) on our environment, both in the resources we consume and the waste we produce.  Coworking spaces are interesting because their members are often engaged people who are interested in their contribution – positive and negative.

There seems little point trying to impose changes onto the community as the space owner, instead, we should be trying to influence (in a positive way) the community’s behavior.

So, we decided that we’d ask where we should focus first – this would give us a good idea as to where the community wanted us to go – it would also be a path of least resistance for changes – at least initially.

Creating a poster, we wanted our community to vote for one of four areas: Recycling, Waste, Electricity or Transport.  Areas that we could tackle as initiatives in the coming months.

We didn’t expect much more than ‘ticks’ against each category that we could count up and figure out a winner – but what we got was very different.

While we received 5 ‘tick’ votes for items, a significant number of people spent time writing down what they wanted to see.  In some cases, they ran out of space and created boxes and arrows linking ideas together.  As we watched people spending a good chunk of their lunchtime putting down their thoughts, we were struck by the level of engagement.

We’ve had lots of questions over the past few months that we’ve put up on community notice boards and asked for feedback.  Some generate lots of engagement, other questions people hardly notice.  What is interesting about this question is the breadth of ideas and detail.

Some ideas we can implement immediately, others would require planning and a long implementation cycle.  The big issue is always how to change people’s behavior (for the better).  For example, if we create a sorting area for recyclables, how can we get everyone to think about what they throw into each bin – it’s only a small amount of time.

LaunchPad prides itself on being a collaborative space – one where we encourage and role model people, teams and companies working together.

For our initiative to work, we’d need to create champions within our community.  Given the level of feedback we’d received on our notice board, it seemed like a great opportunity to build a collaborative team across our community.

Our next step is to call for volunteers to join us in making changes, implementing the ideas we have now and facilitating conversations across the community to generate more.

Here’s the feedback we received:

‘Minimising Our Footprint (Weekly Question on 24thSept)

Vote/Ideas:Recycling: 8,  Waste Reduction: 9, Electricity: 4, Transport: 2.


  • Take a cup [from LaunchPad] if going across the road [to café]
  • Talk about this at Townhalls
  • Recycle bins near the coffee machine, lots of ppl [people] don’t use them!
  • Coffee cup bin
  • Soft plastics bin
  • + Education on proper segregation [of recycling]
  • Worm Farm – coffee grinds + scraps
  • Sell/make coffee scrub [from] coffee grinds

Waste Reduction

  • More education 4 people on this… i.e. use keep cups for taking away coffee
  • Get rid of Soy Sauce little fish in plastic (bottle is enough) – use them all and don’t replace
  • Print less paper
  • To-go cups
  • Compost for our plants
  • Bokashi bins – better than composting


  • Stacking the dishwasher properly in the first place to avoid running it twice (save water and electricity) – unnecessary work for Rachel
  • Most (all?) aircon units are on during weekends
  • Sensors in rooms
  • Display energy consumption data + graphs (real time) + usage data over time compared to the target


  • More/better bicycle racks
  • Survey us re barriers to cycling


Since we kicked off our conversation to the community on waste reduction, we’ve had a lot of interest in creating a Collaborative effort between LaunchPad and our community.  On the 7th of November we’ll be kicking off a new initiative called LaunchPad2Zero – a collaboration between LaunchPad and our community to reduce our impact to zero.  Read More here.

Jeremy Ellis
Jeremy Ellis is the co-founder of LaunchPad, Australia's first local multi-site collaborative workspace for future-focused businesses. Together with a close knit team of Australian associates and global partners, we envision the future of work and how we can channel the best of Australian values to impact the world with innovative workspace solutions.
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