Mates on the move

In 2014, we committed to sending zero waste to landfill by 2030. We are also committed to leaving a positive legacy in the communities in which we operate. Mates on the Move (MotM) is an initiative that helps us achieve both objectives.


Disposable coffee cups and bathroom paper towels have been identified as the main contaminants in mixed recycling streams within our office buildings and shopping centres. In Australia, over one billion disposable coffee cups end up in landfill each year. Having implemented a program to separate coffee cups and paper towels from other recycling streams, our challenge was to find a cost efficient way to transport this waste to a facility where it would be used as an alternative to fossil fuel in cement manufacturing. This process is called Processed Engineered Fuel (PEF) and is classified as Waste to Energy. Unfortunately, at this stage there are no recycling solutions in Australia for takeaway coffee cups or paper towels, but it is something we are keenly monitoring.


Procurement in Australia is estimated to be approximately $600 billion annually. For every $100,000 spent on social procurement, one and a half jobs are created for disadvantaged Australians¹. We set out to tackle this issue by combining both our waste and social objectives: improve our recycling rates and use our purchasing power to collaborate with a social enterprise.

Mirvac engaged MotM, a social enterprise initiative of the Prisoners’ Aid Association of NSW. MotM is a transport and logistics company that reduces recidivism by providing employment pathways for some of the 12,000 men and women exiting NSW correctional centres every year. MotM employs our main driver, Bill Galea, and a co-driver to assist in the collections twice a week across 11 CBD buildings to collect and transport the separated coffee cups and towels to the PEF facility in western Sydney.


Since May 2017, we have diverted more than 90 tonnes of coffee cups and paper towels and the project has been extended to 30 June 2019. We are also encouraging tenants to separate coffee cups and participate in the MotM project. Mirvac’s ongoing support has allowed the program to continue, with Mates on the Move about to start their fifth intake. Nine of 14 graduates from the first two intakes are currently in paid employment, and three participants have moved to secure accommodation from off the street or boarding houses. The program has already saved the community an estimated $70,000 from potential reincarceration and there are far broader social benefits.


‘The Mirvac work has been pivotal to the great position we are currently in, as it has provided regular work to a large number of graduates, many of whom have gone on to find regular part or full-time employment.’ Simon Emsley Manager Mates on the Move

To find out more how social enterprises can help your organisation, contact Social Traders




¹Social Traders