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Our waste strategy

In 2009 we developed a strategy to reduce waste and increase reuse and recycling at our top 100 strategic locations (representing 40% of our property portfolio by floor space). The strategy will be launched in 2010 and we will track reuse and recycling rates at participating sites quarterly.

Key commitments include:


  • Use post-consumer recycled office paper.
  • Set printers to double sided as default.

Electronic waste (e.g. IT and mobile phones)

  • Establish electronic equipment recycling contracts.
  • Encourage local arrangements for computer re-use.

Office consumables (e.g. paper, card, cans, plastic bottles, toner cartridges)

  • Establish recycling contracts at all locations for standard office consumable items.

Kitchen waste

  • Phase out disposable crockery and drinking cups.

In addition, we have selected preferred suppliers which our operating companies can use to recycle waste paper and equipment. WPP Commercial & Procurement Services has also identified preferred paper suppliers in our larger markets which our companies are encouraged to use. Many of these preferred suppliers now provide paper and paper products with recycled content.

WPP companies use mobile technology extensively which is frequently upgraded. We have introduced Vodafone’s Fonebak Freepost recycling scheme to our offices across Europe. Employees can send their used mobile equipment to Fonebak for re-use and recycling.

Our goal is for our obsolete IT equipment to be refurbished and sold for reuse; if this is not possible to be broken down for recycling and, as a last resort, disposed of in an environmentally-sensitive way. We are currently reviewing our arrangements for disposal of IT equipment.

Progress in 2009

On average, in 2009, 36% of the paper purchased by WPP companies from our preferred paper suppliers contained recycled content. In the UK the total was 30%, in the US 50%, in Australia 23% and Hong Kong 14%.

In 2009, one more UK operating company signed a contract with our preferred recycling supplier, bringing the total to 15. Through this supplier, the companies recycled 708,750kg of paper, cardboard, cans, plastic and glass, a 228% increase from 2008.

Recycling data for 2009:

Waste (kg)
Mobile/cellphones 5,479
Computer equipment 120,183
Paper and cardboard 3,428,383
Printer cartridges 67,362
Other waste recycled 973,141
Total recycled 4,594,548

Championing waste reduction

In 2009, JWT’s Climate Champions launched a campaign to increase recycling and to reduce paper use by encouraging double-sided printing.

Using paper that had been printed on one side and then disposed of, the Climate Champions created posters with messages such as ‘give me a second chance’ and ‘have you used the other side?’. The team also introduced trays to collect unwanted single-sided printouts which they bound into free notepads.

The JWT Champions took the campaign global, raising awareness using the intranet and creating a dedicated Facebook page which was visited by people in 80 countries.

View the video

Poster on paper saying 'I also have two sides'

Wunderman UK: inspiring green behaviour in shared offices

Poster printed on recycled paper

Greater London House in London, has been converted into offices for a number of companies and over 2,000 employees. In 2009, Wunderman, one of the tenants, worked pro bono for the building management company to inspire the office workers to make small changes to their behaviour to bring big environmental savings.

The agency created posters on recycled paper which used items of everyday office rubbish to dramatise a variety of surprising green facts. The posters invited people to subscribe to a series of emails which gave updates on the buildings energy saving and recycling progress, offered suggestions of ways to be greener and announced events and competitions.

The campaign was effective because instead of lecturing people, it engaged them with imagery and ideas. In just seven months the quantity of paper recycled increased from 42% to 87%, the building recycled 130,400kg of rubbish and saved 177,950kg of CO2.

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