By Aimee Chanthadavong

Knox Shopping Centre of Victoria is leading the way in waste management, launching a recycling program this March.

The shopping centre aims to lessen its impact on the environment, lighten its carbon footprint and improve sustainability in the local area. As part of its recycling and waste management campaign, the shopping centre is already undertaken changes in its water and electricity consumption, waste generation, and the volume of greenhouse gas emissions.

"Knox Shopping Centre aims to set a benchmark for recycling in Australian shopping centres. Centres have a great opportunity to significantly reduce the amount of waste that ends up in landfill each year, so we hope other shopping centre's will take on similar initiatives and engagement programs to make a real difference to their sustainability,” Melissa Downes, centre manager, Knox Shopping Centre, told RetailBiz

Key goals of the initiative include:

•    Increasing its recycling rate from 16 per cent to 50 per cent by early 2013
•    New recycling bins are expected to divert more than 100 tonnes of beverage containers from landfill annually
•    • The initiative will result is less than 10 per cent contamination in recycling bins, set to become a benchmark rate for recycling in Australia
•    Knox Shopping Centre expects to record a 3 star NABERS rating for waste by end of 2013
•    Knox Shopping Centre is going organic, by being the first shopping centre in Australia to implement organic back-of-house and comingled recycling across the entire centre

With over 350 retailers at Knox Shopping Centre, each retailer will be given the tools to recycle right – including free recycling bins, an educational DVD, face to face engagement and training, flyers outlining all details of the program. According to the company it is the largest scale educational program ever implemented at an Australian shopping centre.

"Knox Shopping Centre receives over 12.4 million visitors annually and has over 350 retailers which not only equates to a large amount of water and electricity consumption, but the production of a lot of rubbish. We are committed to reducing the Centre's environmental footprint and this major initiative is a big step in achieving our aims. The new system will significantly reduce landfill by increasing our recycling rate to 50% by late 201," Downes said.
"Knox Shopping Centre customers are now able to recycle plastic, glass and aluminium in-centre in specially marked bins located within food courts, internal malls and outside areas which will provide considerable improvements in our recycling rates.
“Our retailers now also have the option to recycle and dispose of more specific waste types including fish or organics, cooking oil, polystyrene and plastic wrap, which will reduce the rate of contamination.”