Looking for ways to reduce waste at your business makes sense. Growing public awareness of companies caring for the environment and growing waste management are some of the drivers for reducing waste in your workplace. We’ll cover the reasons for adopting waste reduction strategies here and offer ideas for putting them into action.
For companies, reducing waste can achieve benefits that generally fall into three categories.
Now that you know why reducing waste is important for your business, let’s explore strategies used by companies reducing waste to capture the benefits of running an environmentally friendly business.
Conduct an audit of the amount and types of waste produced by your business. You must measure something to manage it. When you know more about your business’s waste, you can then figure out ways to reduce it, recycle it or cut costs for hauling it away. You may also find ways to employ energy savings tips, too.
Creating a formal plan turns goals into action. With your objectives in hand and the information about your business waste, you can lay out practical steps. Your plan will cover how waste will be handled, how to reduce the amount of waste produced, and what to recycle. It can be part of your more comprehensive small business sustainability plan.
Involve staff in the planning process. With their frontline perspectives, they may have some high-impact ideas. Their active involvement will be necessary for executing the plan, so involving and training them is vital. Bring employees into idea generation, education, and incentives.
Some methods to reduce waste may require an initial investment. Do the cost benefit analysis and budget the right amount to spend. Set timelines for specific milestones for your waste reduction strategies. Be sure to define what success looks like. Celebrate and publicize your achievements.
Ways to reduce waste at your business include the 3 Rs: reducing, reusing, and recycling. You may want to add a fourth R for rethinking. In any case, here are some specific examples for reducing waste that fall into those categories.
Many businesses use more paper than you might imagine. With digital technology you may find many ways to go paperless in your small business. Besides reducing waste, going paperless can make your business more efficient. There will be less paperwork to push, documents to store, and important records to get lost.
Your business can save energy with circular economy practices like reusing and recycling. Setting up bins to collect recyclables and keep them out of landfills is a good place to start. Make sure to provide signage to remind people what can and cannot be recycled and where each type of material should be placed.
Get rid of paper plates and plastic cutlery by installing a dishwasher. Choose the best coffee maker for your office, such as a drip coffee maker, which is more efficient than the small cups making individual servings. Install a water filter to eliminate bottled water. Add a countertop composter that turns food waste into a soil additive for your landscaping.
Office equipment and electronics contain materials that can be toxic if thrown in with the regular trash. Unused or outdated equipment may be welcomed by charities. Many municipalities have collection points and special days for gathering old office equipment for recycling.
One man’s trash is another man’s treasure. That is a truism that applies to businesses. You may find that there is demand for your surplus materials among local charities. Giving away these materials gives them a second life and helps worthy causes in your community.
Putting energy saving tips into action can reduce waste. Switching to long-lasting and energy-efficient LED bulbs means you won’t have to replace the bulbs as often. Look for ways to save water in your business to further conserve energy.
You may be able to work with suppliers to reduce the cardboard and plastic used in packaging materials. Consider reusing their boxes for shipping out products. Examine your own product packaging and look for ways to reduce it or make it easier to recycle.
Instead of bottled water, buy employees reusable bottles with your company logo and offer unlimited filtered water. Replace paper plates and plastic cutlery with washable plates, forks, knives and spoons. Hemp coffee filters can be used again. Put a stack of washable towels in bathrooms. Office supplies such as old binders, paper clips, interoffice folders, and shipping supplies can be repurposed.
Minimizing waste and slashing your energy costs are good for business. Constellation is a resource that can help you explore ways to lower small business energy bills and offers innovative energy solutions for small businesses. You can evaluate your small business energy options at the same time. Working together, we can cut waste, cut costs, and contribute to a healthier and more sustainable environment.
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