Recycling Near You: Sensis and Planet Ark join forces for the environment

Sensis and Planet Ark have capitalised on shared goals and complementary resources to create a useful tool that will help Australians increase their recycling.

ABOUT two years ago Sensis started exploring how it could use its Yellow Pages commercial recycling services database to help the recycling industry.

At the same time, environmental organisation Planet Ark was looking to further develop its own database and website, which listed kerb-side council recycling services.

The two organisations came together and the result of the ensuing partnership is the re-launch of, a site that contains information about kerb-side collections, as well as where to dispose of white goods, hazardous materials, construction and demolition waste, mobile phones, oil, x-ray films and more.

Sensis has committed $300,000 to the project - $100,000 each year for three years.

Before approaching Sensis, Planet Ark had secured that same financial commitment from the Federal Government, but needed a corporation to match it before the project could proceed.

Sensis had previously signed sustainability covenants with the Environment Protection Authority Victoria, Sustainability Victoria and the New South Wales Department of Environment and Conservation.

The company's corporate social responsibility group manager Fiona Baxter said the partnership with Planet Ark fitted with Sensis' profile as a business which provided access to information, and also with its concern that its print products be recycled.

"We want people to recycle our products, but we also want them to recycle everything else that they can recycle," Ms Baxter said.

"Obviously with Trading Post, the whole of idea of recycle, re-use or pass on rather than throw out is a major part of that business as well."

Ms Baxter said the partnership primarily benefited Sensis's reputation, but the Recycling Near You site also benefited companies advertising recycling services in the Yellow Pages.

"There are about six categories that come through, obviously we're driving traffic to our customers who advertise in those categories," Ms Baxter said.

"It's a good sell-point for us into those businesses, I guess, but that's probably not a major revenue consideration."

Planet Ark founder Jon Dee said Sensis had contributed more than just dollars to the partnership.

"What Sensis brought in on top of that was their expertise, their help, their encouragement," Mr Dee said.

"They've advised us on the technical side of things," he said.

"Having that kind of encouragement and support from a corporate is invaluable."

Mr Dee said the new website would not have been possible without Sensis' support.

"It takes real dollars to launch something, especially something this definitive," Mr Dee said.

"It's the biggest audit ever of recycling services in Australia," he said.

"It's had a big team working on it in terms of web experts, usability experts, recycling experts, the Planet Ark team; it's been a really big undertaking and quite expensive to do."

The Federal Government's $300,000 contribution is funding a hotline - 1300 733 712 - for people to access the database information by phone.

Councils have access to the Recycling Near You database and can log on and update the information about their recycling services.

Site administrators will also contact the services listed on the database and update information annually.

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This article first appeared in Business Community Intelligence, February 2007