Did you know that the world dumps over 2 billion tons of waste each year, and much of that waste comes as a byproduct of doing business? In fact, that rate has nearly doubled since 1961 as today, on average, each person produces up to 4.3 pounds of waste each day.
Up to 99% of everything we ever buy ends up in the landfill within 6 months time. There must be a better way of doing business; one that is more eco-friendly, environmentally minded, as well as health-conscious.
Reducing the amount of waste your business produces can not only help work to save you money on costly waste hauling, but it also demonstrates that your company is taking the necessary steps to become an industry leader in contributing your corporate as well as social responsibilities to your staff, clients and customers, and local community.
Recycling and reducing waste in your business operations isn’t only good for the environment and the community within which you serve, but is also good for cutting down costs. Here is a list of strategies that will help you reduce the amount of waste your business produces every single day.
Assess and improve your facility
Step inside your office or workshop and take a good look around. What consumable products are you stocking for your employees? If the consumable products aren’t recyclable, can you make the quick and easy switch to products that are? How are your waste bins located in your facility? It should be much easier for an employee to have access to a recyclable bin rather than to a regular waste bin.
You should also consider evaluating how full your containers are prior to pick-up. Work spaces that have a good habit of recycling can often decrease the amount of waste disposal pick-ups, saving you even more money.
Compost your waste
Organic waste makes up the largest portion of the total waste that businesses produce. If you work in the food industry, then you know just how much waste your business produces. From spoiled to leftover food, it just ends up in the trash bin and ends up costing your money to remove.
Instead of throwing out that unwanted food, consider throwing it in the compost. By composting waste, you are saving a lot of money in not needing to hire a waste removal services company and will also be doing a good deed for the environment by creating compost that will later be used by farmers to grow more food.
For example a Major League Baseball team, the Seattle Mariners, took a hard stance on composting and recycling plates, forks, cups, and napkins which ended up saving them a whopping $114,000 in unnecessary waste removal fees.
Reduce internal packaging needs
Does your business require packaging such as envelopes, boxes, or containers to run its operations? If so, then consider reusing cardboard boxes for different needs once they have completed their original purpose.
For example, let’s say you get deliveries of frozen food that’s packaged in cardboard boxes. Once you unpack the box, instead of throwing it out, use it again to re-ship an order to a customer using one of the same boxes.
This way, not only are you saving money on needing less waste disposal services, but you’ll also save money by having to buy less boxes for shipping. A super easy switch from single-use, corrugated boxes to reusable plastic shipping containers saved Pepsi-Cola $44 million.
If your business uses wooden pallets to store products, if a pallet happens to break, instead of throwing it away, have an employee repair it so it can be used again. Broken pallets can also be torn down, and the raw materials can be used to construct a coffee table or a bookshelf for example.
Ditch the bottled water
While free bottled water for your employees may be a nice job perk, it’s not helping your company stay eco-friendly and is hurting your bottom line. Instead of bottled water, get an upright water jug that dispenses ice-cold water in addition to reusable glasses in lieu of throwaway plastic cups.
Technology has come a long way and has reached a point where many of today’s modern businesses can not only go almost entirely paperless but can automate nearly every function of their business. Going paperless means that you won’t have to throw away or recycle any more unneeded paper which will help benefit the environment (namely trees) and your wallet.
For example, CBRE Group, a commercial real estate investment firm went paperless in their Los Angeles Headquarters. The office got rid of over 5 million sheets of paper, and saved money on real estate they required to store all of that paperwork.
If you do need to use paper, then consider using scraps of paper instead. You can also use the backside of paper that has already been printed on that you or your coworkers no longer need.
Refill your printer cartridges
This may seem insignificant, but constantly throwing out spent ink cartridges can be super wasteful. Buying new ink cartridges all the time doesn’t come cheap either, as most modern day laser and ink-jet printers support cartridges that can be refilled at your local office supply store. You can also buy pre-filled bottles of ink and refill them by yourself at work.
Train your employees
You can initiate all of the best strategies for minimizing waste in your business as much as you want, but that won’t go far if you don’t train your employees to follow your set strategies. Don’t just show them how to properly follow your waste reduction strategies, but also teach them why these methods of waste reduction are so important.
There are many strategies that you can employ today that will help your business minimize the amount of waste it produces. Preventative measures are naturally the best, but taking initiative after the fact also works wonders.
Start by doing a complete facility assessment. Then try composting the waste that contains organic matter. Reduce your internal packaging needs by reusing used cardboard boxes or other containers. Switch from bottled water to a cafeteria water dispenser. Create a paperless workplace, refill your ink cartridges, and train your employees how to do the same.
These strategies will help ensure that your working environment produces as little waste as possible without having to do any drastic changes or investments.