Preserving our Planet: 15 routines your business can employ to reduce waste
In running a company, you cannot ignore the large amount of waste involved. Whether you’re into the production of physical products or you provide services to customers, trash and trade are a package deal.
A high percentage of industrial waste fall under what is known as Municipal Solid Waste (MSW), or in a lay term, waste sent to the dumps without being recycled. 262.4 million tons of MSW was produced in just 2015, according to the EPA and with the rise of populations and the economy, this figure is definitely increasing.
Companies nowadays are beginning to change their practices; nevertheless, as company owners and customers are becoming aware of our impact on the environment. It’s evident that reducing the amount of waste across the chain is paramount- from production through to consumption and between the lines.
Luckily, reducing waste has a lot of visible advantages that exceed the statistics of your sustainability records. They include; neat working place, reduction in overhead costs from collecting and disposing of waste, improvement of the brand image to the vigilant eco-conscious customers and staff, and job creation.
Here, we examine 15 ways you can contribute to conserving the planet and set you on your way to Zero waste.
Examine, pinpoint and create awareness of current waste practices
Appraise the amount of waste and the management habit currently. You could do this easily by asking your employees to record the waste output or hire another company to handle that for you. You can begin to change your waste management habits once you’ve been able to identify what your waste is made up of and how it is discarded.
Reduce mail by unsubscribing from mailing lists
There’s a lot of brochures, flyers, and catalogs that get into your mailbox, even though this system is becoming extinct gradually. You can remove yourself manually from mailing lists by contacting the companies responsible. Still, if you’ve ridiculously overcome by the amounts of mails, you can hire DMAchoice or OptOurPrescreen to help you handle it.
Replace hardcopy publications with electronic sources and devices
There’s most likely a soft copy (e-book or digital magazine) version available that you can download and subscribe to on your device instead of a pile of periodicals or publications on your reception desk, to reduce paper waste. Very often, subscriptions are free, and those that aren’t are available at a reduced cost to multiple employees. Also, your reception desk area will be neater.
Discard single-use bottles (and one-time packaging)
More than anything else, everyone is aware of the harmful implications of single-use bottles. Thankfully, companies can simply shift to other options, like usual water coolers, or you can provide your employees with reusable containers that they can refill from the tap. When it comes to food, however, packaging can pose a challenge. You can reduce the daily number of single-use packaging waste output by encouraging your employees to share their lunches (check our tips below).
Substitute plastic bags with cotton or paper
You really should consider discarding plastic bags, if you usually bag goods for your customers. Paper bags are decomposable; nevertheless, their production requires relatively more energy. It’s even more for bags made from cotton, but they can be used again and again. There’s no undemanding way out of this, so the point is to ensure bags are used countlessly through reward programs as incentives to consumers to make them keep the reusable bags.
Implement shared lunch days or meal plans
One of the largest producers of MSW is food waste and its consequent packaging. A way to handle this is to implement shared lunch days and meal plans. Bulk purchase is a way to reduce packaging waste (so many times better then single-serve microwave meals). Also, sharing meals typically helps to cut down food waste and can promote togetherness and teamwork amongst your employees.
Introduce alternatives like composting
Whether you run a factory with outdoor space, or you work in a Manhattan high-rise building, it’s possible to compost your organic waste. Anybody that owns a garden can implement this old practice- and it can prove useful, especially to restaurants and hotels. Some cities afford curbside collections to tackle organic waste. For those who don’t, Bokashi, a practice of fermenting all your organic waste in a plastic bowl with no odor, harmful bacteria, and requires little space, can be of help. Most cities offer corporations you can hire to provide and collect containers and move the organic waste to a prepared site and transform it into compost.
Go (genuinely) paperless or use scuffled paper
The idea of a paper-free office has been viral for some time, but it has not materialized for many. Nowadays, its more straightforward than before, nevertheless, and there’s a lot of stages to go through to be paper-free such as; making sure internal communications are digital, stopping printing in the office (or discarding the printers entirely), scanning paperwork to produce digital copies, and using electronic signing software like eversign. Lastly, ensure the scuffled paper is used several times before it’s disposed of.
Purchase bathroom supplies, office supplies, etc. in large quantities
Purchasing in large quantities means fewer travels to the stores, reduced carbon emissions from logistics and less packaging. Most times, buying in large quantities also means you can reuse some packages, refill the bathroom and cleaning supplies from large cans, or fill the workplace with refillable stationery. One other benefit of buying in large quantities is one that company’s love- you get to save a lot of money.
Donate old office electronic equipment to charity
Companies prefer to keep their technology current because working with damaged equipment can damage productivity. This doesn’t make old devices useless- most of the time it can be leased to a user that has less demand for its services. You can use any of the many ways there are to donate e-waste; you can get assistance from other companies for redistribution or post adverts in a local newspaper.
Make use of rechargeable batteries and printer cartridges
About 375 million printer cartridges and about 3 billion batteries discarded annually. Companies who usually use these types of consumables can make a huge difference by changing to rechargeable batteries and refillable cartridges.
Reuse packaging materials
Packaging used to ship goods for mail order, and e-commerce businesses can quickly pile up. Jiffy bags can be reused for smaller operations and packaging of many products, and more established companies can change to eco-friendly options like Repack- a company that sells returnable and reusable packaging alternatives round the world.
Find channels for waste
Any material that is left after the manufacturing processes or production should be used where and when they can if we really want zero waste. For instance, using expended beer grain gotten during the brewing process as feed for animals, gift for wood offcuts and other important craft objects to art schools or art groups and donating the leftover food when your café or restaurants closes down for that day.
Create a greywater recycling system for your plants
Water waste has really been an important issue. Nevertheless, by making a few changes to your plumbing system, you can gather greywater and utilize them in other areas of your workplace. Greywater is non-toxic, used water that was gotten from showers, bathroom and kitchen sinks. This water can be harvested and reused to water your gardens or plumbed back to flush toilets. Greywater systems are amazingly easy to integrate and relatively cheap.
Try office sharing
Lastly, sharing the burden can make the difference most times when it comes to waste associated with businesses. Especially for small businesses, sharing an office space different individuals and other businesses can translate to less waste production at the initial stage of setting up your working space, and more hands on deck to recycle waste daily. Much like car sharing, office sharing reduces the resources needed to operate a functioning workplace. WeWork is one of the companies leading the way in this regard, changing the way companies utilize space and resources.