Want to become a zero waste business?
As a nation, we’ve never produced as much waste.
As we consume more, purchase new technology and discard outdated products. Our waste is piling up.
It’s never been more important to consider the amount we use and recycle. Our consumption and improper disposal of re-usable materials such as paper, plastic, glass and metals is having a catastrophic effect on the environment. Pollutants are poisoning our soil, water and air for decades to come, contributing to the warming of the earth. With so many recycling and reclaiming initiatives available to us, it can be difficult to know where to start. Becoming a zero waste business needn’t be difficult. We give you a few helpful suggestions in this blog.
Becoming a zero waste business
As a company, looking at how you can cut down on waste is a useful exercise. Waste is by definition inefficient. Not considering the costs savings of zero waste could be detrimental to your business. You’ll be glad to hear that a little clever thinking, sourcing new and innovative designs and using reclaimed or recycled alternatives will not only make your business greener, but more efficient in the process.
How do I start?
The first step is to assess your waste. You could start by carrying out a waste audit and review on an annual basis. Appoint a member of staff to oversee waste disposal and look at ways to cut down on each area of wastage.
Not limited to what is sent to the rubbish bin, you could look at the following:
Could production processes be altered to cut down on business waste? If you cannot find ways to cut down on waste, could any of the redundant materials created be recycled or sent to be dismantled and individual parts be recycled? Could you look at switching to using recycled materials instead of raw or mined?
Do you need to consume the amount of energy you do? Periodically carry out an assessment into your energy bills and see if there is any way that employees could contribute to the reduction of energy use. It could be as simple as reminding colleagues to turn off lights in rooms that are not being used. Lighting can account for up to 35% of energy costs, so switching to energy efficient light bulbs is one simple way to reduce energy consumption. Is there any unnecessary heat loss in your workplace? Could the insulation be improved or are the windows old and draughty? Using less water could also be a simple way of cutting down waste and costs.
With technology moving so fast, could you invest in new machinery to increase efficiency? For example as an office, look to use a managed print service to ensure your print is as efficient as possible. Or if you cannot afford to invest in the expense of new machinery, could your software or processes be developed to improve efficiency costs and minimise carbon output?
Could you switch to using recycled products in your workplace? Easy ways to start using these products include printing on recycled paper or using recycled packaging such as polyethylene terephthalate (PET) or high-density polyethylene (HDPE). You could also consider purchasing uniforms made from recycled polyester and use recycled woodchip bark for edges of pathways surrounding your workplace.
Make it as easy as possible for your colleagues or staff to recycle in the workplace. Place recycling bins or shredding sacks for paper around the workplace that can be collected for shredding. Recycle your printer cartridges by returning them to the manufacturer. Don’t forget to recycle your e-waste and mobile phones too by contacting a registered waste carrier to dispose and recycle components responsibly.
Use the EU concept of the waste hierarchy to assist in the quest for zero waste. You will be helping to contribute to the government targets for waste disposal, plus adhering also contributes to your corporate social responsibility. Promote your efforts and you may even attract new customers through your commitment to being green!
All businesses use energy, it’s impossible not to. As well as reducing the amount of carbon dioxide produced by your business you could also look to offset your carbon emissions to help balance out what is produced. You could look to do this in numerous ways, be it planting trees, funding a project in a developing country or funding schemes to invest in renewable energy.