Every business produces waste and must deal with it responsibly. Simple strategies can help your business save money and reduce its environmental impact. Recycling, often called physical reprocessing, is the best method for eliminating inorganic trash, including metals, glass, and plastic. Composting would be a superior way to dispose of waste because it turns organic waste into nutrient-rich fertilizer, even though organic waste like paper and food may also be recycled. You may lessen the quantity of garbage that goes to landfills by promoting reuse, recycling, and resource recovery in your company. You may save money and protect the environment by reducing the trash generated by your company.
Start by analyzing your facility’s waste. Run a waste audit to determine what trash your company generates and where it goes.
Ensure your employees, customers, and vendors can easily distinguish what materials go into which bin by putting understandable, consistent signage on all waste and recycling containers.
The first step to reducing waste is to start with the basics and inventory what your business produces. This will give you a baseline of how much waste your facility is currently making and where there are opportunities to reduce it.
This can include everything from printer paper and food service ware to packaging, plastic bags, and more. It may also have medical or bio-hazardous waste from hospitals, clinics, and other healthcare facilities. Or it could be cooking oil from restaurants that must be disposed of regularly.
Ensure you have enough trash and recycling bins for your business to reduce the waste you generate. In addition, make sure your containers are positioned strategically for maximum efficiency. If the recycle bin is further away than the trash bin, it might be easier for busy employees to toss recyclables into the garbage.
Another essential business practice is to avoid using single-use products wherever possible. Instead of using disposable plastic water bottles, encourage your staff to bring reusable ones. Replace disposable coffee mugs and plates with durable, dishwasher-safe alternatives.
Consider going paperless or using recycled paper for all your business documents and memos. Invest in copiers and printers designed to use both sides of the article for printing and faxing and use energy-saving features like automatic shut-off for your equipment. You can also save on energy costs by switching to long-lasting LED bulbs for lighting fixtures and installing motion sensors.
Thankfully, businesses such as waste management sustainability services have more options than ever to recycle their waste. Glass, plastic, metal, batteries, and even bricks can all be recycled in a business setting. However, you must work with your waste provider to ensure these materials are correctly sorted and collected for recycling.
Start with paper products and cardboard, as these are easy to divert. Then, reduce packaging on supplies and shipments by opting for low-packaging alternatives. Finally, try to eliminate disposables like bottled water and replace them with reusable options instead.
To encourage employees to recycle, provide clear, straightforward signage on each trash bin at your location. Your waste provider should also help create a comprehensive educational campaign so your team understands which materials can and cannot be recycled. This includes incorporating recycling education into your new hire training program and regularly communicating waste reduction goals and successes with your team.
Another way to avoid throwing away unused and excess materials is to donate them to charities. Furniture, electronics, and office supplies can be donated to local organizations needing them. Additionally, outdoor gear companies have made their business model by upcycling other businesses’ old materials into high-quality backpacks and sneakers.
Reuse is the second “R” in business waste management and involves reusing products, materials, or equipment that would otherwise be discarded. This process is often cheaper than purchasing new, non-reusable items and can help reduce disposal costs.
The best way to implement reuse is to design your business processes around the idea rather than having it be a secondary concern. This could include eliminating unnecessary packaging, encouraging employees to bring in their reusable water bottles for break time, and switching to long-lasting LED lights that won’t need to be replaced as frequently.
In a business setting, this could mean reusing paper for notes and putting it back into the bins when you’re done to use for printing another draft. It could also mean reusable utensils and cups in the break room to reduce disposables. You could encourage employees to rent, borrow, or share office supplies and equipment like tools and furniture.
To make it easier for your staff to practice reuse, ensure that all the different waste and recycling bins are clearly labeled with instructions for what each one is meant to contain. You might also consider implementing employee training to help them understand the waste and recycling protocols inside the business, with regular update meetings throughout the year.