Despite its innocent papery appearance, your disposable coffee cup might be much more sinister than it seems. The ABC’s War on Waste clearly identified take-away coffee cups as a major sustainability issue. Contrary to common belief, they are not recycled. The plastic lining ensures that they almost never make it to a recycling plant (regardless of what bin you put them in). They don’t biodegrade either, so Australia’s astronomical demand for its daily coffee fix means these cups reach landfill in plague proportions. It is estimated that disposable coffee cups are the second largest litter waste product, outdone only by plastic bottles.
Perhaps the simplest solution is reusable cups! The movement is growing in Australia with environmentalists everywhere encouraging co-workers and friends; and some coffee shops offering discounts for customers who bring their own cup. But for those who struggle to remember that cup when they leave home, there are other options.
The BEC team recently decided to do something about our contribution to the disposable coffee cup menace. As an office Christmas present, we invested in a sparkly new coffee machine. We chose the Nespresso pod system which delivers a quality caffeine fix with a low environmental imprint (Who knew George Clooney was such an environmentalist?). So far, the machine has been a huge hit with the team – it has satisfied even the most ardent coffee lovers among us, and has trimmed our disposable-cupped-coffee-consumption almost completely! The aluminium coffee pods that Nespresso uses are entirely recyclable, and they make it as easy as possible for you to send them in. When the used coffee pods are returned, 100% of the aluminium is recycled and the used coffee grounds go into compost. As an additional bonus, George Cloony’s face makes a pretty classy recycling bin!
Sunrise at 1770 combines three of the BEC Team’s favourite things: high-end luxury housing, a strong emphasis on sustainability and long walks on the beach. The multi-award-winning housing development spans six beaches and 625 hectares along Australia’s stunning eastern coastline, but is more than just a luxury gated community.
While the community offers permanent and holiday residents a slew of state-of-the-art facilities (pools, tennis courts, volleyball courts, and dining pavilions are just a few) it strives to be more than just an idyllic holiday destination. Sunset at 1770 embraces best environmental practice and excellence in design technology in order to ensure that sustainability remains a foundational goal throughout its design and operation. It’s a sentiment that the BEC team gets right alongside, as we continually implement the same goals in our own operation.
For more information and some gorgeous pictures, check out the Sunrise at 1770 website. Our most recent BEC Christmas retreat took us to a very similar beach-side community, take a look at some of the photos!
A King has fallen. The era of Plywood is over, with a new challenger rising to take its place. Traditionally, Plywood has been the go-to choice for wall sheathing, bracing, flooring and roof decking until Oriented Strand Board (OSB) stepped onto the scene. Now commanding about 70% of the structural panel market and continuing to gain momentum, OSB is turning heads internationally.
BEC jumped onboard the OSB band wagon, and the more we learn about it the more we like it. OSB is a far more sustainable product; it uses younger trees that grow quickly, while ply requires a much older tree. OSB is stronger, more uniform and precise in its dimensions, consistently stiff, and cheaper too.
Its biggest complaint is usually aesthetic, but as it turns out this only comes from people who lack creative vision. The textural irregularity and random organic composure makes OSB a striking feature when played to its strengths – which we have used with fantastic results in our new office.
If you want to see for yourself what OSB and a bit of flare can achieve, feel free to swing by the new BEC office on Prospect Street for a coffee and a new perspective on your traditional building materials (see our contacts page for directions).
Just prior to Christmas, we had 11kW of solar panels installed and teamed them up with a 10kW inverter. The shiny new workhorses will supply our Brisbane office with a sustainable supply of power and will save approximately 4 tonnes of CO2 emissions per year!
With electricity prices as they stand, we expect the system to pay itself off in under 2 years! If you’ve got a business or home with some serious surface area, consider a more sustainable energy source – here’s who we recommend.