How To Keep the Waste from Your Business as Low as Possible
Until now, you perhaps ignored the waste your organization produces, being content to establish a system for removing trash. Poor waste management contributes to climate change and air pollution, affecting various ecosystems and species, so your company needs to reduce the volume of waste per activity. In a circular economy context, increasing recycling from all streams is imperative, but several barriers must be overcome to exploit this potential. Every business’s corporate social responsibility is to play its part in reducing waste, so get a strategic overview of your business to make the most effective choices.
Revise Your Purchasing Strategy
Many businesses develop recycling and waste management strategies while completely unaware of the key role that purchasing plays. Purchasing a powerful driver in sustainability action areas, meaning that what you buy has far-reaching implications for individuals and ecosystems locally and globally across the supply chain. If you want to remove waste from your business, give serious attention to what you’re purchasing. A strategy helps you avoid mistakes during the procurement process, so you can save money by making smart decisions and identifying better suppliers. Analyze your organization’s spending culture, set clear objectives, examine market conditions, and execute the procurement strategy.
Your expectations influence the activities of suppliers, which can impact the industry’s performance, so raise the bar as far as sustainability is concerned. Here we’ve summarized the key takeaways:
- Ask if the goods can be recycled or have been manufactured with recyclable components. When soliciting proposals, see if prospective suppliers can provide environmentally-sound options (the highest quality at the lowest price). Be very clear regarding products, labor, GHG emissions, etc.
- Educate your suppliers to contribute to a better future. Together, you can meet more goals and raise more awareness, so dedicate time to helping suppliers figure out how to operate more sustainably. For instance, you can sponsor online training programs. The experience has to be worth their while, of course.
- Monitor your suppliers’ performance. You’ll know which ones have committed to operating more sustainably by keeping tabs on your suppliers. Needless to say, you must reward that behavior. Accidents and all kinds of events can occur, so establish an acceptable deviation from the standard.
Avoid Single-Use Plastic and Other Throwaway Materials
As the name clearly suggests, single-use plastic is used once (or for a very short period of time) before being discarded. Bottled water might seem harmless, but this modern convenience takes roughly 1000 years to degrade in the landfills, and when the plastic starts to break down, it releases harmful components. If potable water is provided, you don’t have to offer bottled water. Make available free refills of water to reduce your plastic footprint and create direct sustainability benefits; a water refilling station offers a better quality of purified water. The items used in large quantities should be tackled first by coming up with alternatives.
Use Color-Coded Bins
Make it easy for people to do the right thing by introducing color-coded bins that clearly identify the purpose (rubbish doesn’t all go to the same place). Place recycling bins for various items nearby break rooms so that employees can dispose of waste correctly. Differences exist in the use of color codes across countries. For example, in Sweden, recycling bins are mostly green and brown. The European leader in selective sorting and recycling, Sweden leverages pictograms to identify the different compartments. Mobilize a team of employees interested in recycling and waste prevention to monitor the situation and ensure ongoing success.
Smaller bins will require frequent pickups, while larger bins incur a more expensive rent. The use of a waste compactor can significantly minimize the number of pickups, justifying its cost, so find a supplier of small-footprint balers. Miltek offers waste and recycling solutions to businesses with medium to large volumes of cardboard and/or plastic waste. If you want to source locally, you can find Miltek in Malmo, Sweden, so you can work with a more robust business partner that helps you identify the required equipment and service levels. The baler enables you to track the success of your recycling and see what improvements can be done with regard to your techniques.
Request Reusable/Returnable/Sustainable Packaging
Not only is packaging wasteful, but it also impacts the world’s ecosystems on which we depend. Dealing with packaging waste in an environmentally responsible way brings about many benefits, including but not limited to reducing energy consumption to handle and process the waste, reducing the number of leachates in the landfills, and eliminating the need to use virgin materials to produce packaging. Chances are there’s more packaging in circulation than necessary throughout the organization, so if you can’t decrease the amount you use, at least use reusable/returnable/sustainable packaging. Ideally, your chosen supplier is a company that’s been in business for quite some time with staff who have extensive experience. Determine if your future partner has the necessary equipment for packing your products. If not, move on.
Make Sure Your Workers Are on The Same Page
Finally, yet importantly, keep your team on the same page by creating a shared understanding of what you’re doing. When you introduce new measures, such as installing a waste baler, be certain every staff member fully understands your waste reduction policy and what they need to do themselves. With a small amount of training, employees will be able to operate the recycling solution with ease. If you find out that people are reluctant to try new things, raise awareness by explaining the impact waste has on the environment and highlighting that everyone has a role to play in the fight against waste. Create a culture where individual team members are given direct input into the roadmap; let go of the “command and control” style of management.
To make a long story short, every business producing waste has a duty of care. Failing to effectively manage and dispose of your waste could result in your company becoming liable for any damages caused by your negligence, meaning you can be taken to court. Develop a better waste management plan for your business.