It’s perfectly normal for businesses to generate waste daily, but the way in which it is managed can have a significant impact on both the business itself as well as the surrounding environment. With growing waste management and environmental protection awareness, it has become imperative that businesses establish a separate waste management department; dedicated to managing the production and disposal of waste generated throughout business operations.
Here are some questions to consider:
- How much waste does your business generate annually?
- What type of waste does your business generate?
- Have you adopted any waste reduction measures?
- What kind of measures have you adopted?
You may have noticed that as your business grows, so does the amount of waste it generates. Amidst growing concerns to reduce global waste hazards, triggered by accumulated waste, that impact human health and the quality of life, a growing number of businesses have taken it upon themselves to adopt waste treatment practices that show their support of global waste management efforts, and contribute toward their corporate responsibility to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.
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In this next section, we’ll be discussing a few effective strategies that can help you reduce the amount of waste your business generates.
1. Evaluate Waste Inputs and Outputs
The first step is to determine the raw materials procured and used in your supply chain, along with what kind of waste they produce. Next, find out what percentage of waste generated by your business is made up of consumables and organic products.
After you’ve compiled your information, evaluate whether it would be feasible for your business to switch to 100% recyclable, or even compostable raw materials and consumables. Bear in mind that to make such changes, you need to ensure that you have enough waste bins spread throughout your business and that they’re properly positioned.
When deciding on the location of your waste bins, focus on placing waste bins designated for recyclable or compostable waste in convenient locations, otherwise, employees might be tempted to stick to bins designated for landfill haulage. Be sure to properly mark bins or containers with labels that clearly explain what kind of waste they’re intended for.
Constantly assessing how full bins get before being picked up by hauling companies can help you better determine how often they need to be picked up, reducing overall waste management costs.
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2. Eliminate Single-Use Products
One effective way to reduce the amount of waste generated by your business is to avoid using single-use products. Regardless of their convenience, common single-use products like disposable plates, cutlery, and coffee cups only serve to increase the amount of waste your business generates and grow nearby landfills.
Establish self-service policies throughout your business, and encourage employees to wash and re-use any kitchenware. Alternatively, you can opt for dishwashers. While dishwashers may require a significant initial investment, their use has been proven to reduce unnecessary water waste and save businesses money in the long run.
3. Reduce Packaging Materials
Packaging waste accounts for up to one-third of the total waste in most developed countries. Most packaging is single use, so an effective way to reduce waste generated by your business is to assess how much packaging material is used and consumed.
Find out how much unnecessary packaging material can be eliminated and try and reduce your business’ reliance on single-use packaging as much as possible. In cases where packaging is absolutely necessary, consider using recyclable packaging materials, like corrugated cardboard, for packing and shipping over non-recyclable materials like polystyrene.
In cases where packaging is absolutely necessary, consider using recyclable packaging materials, like corrugated cardboard, for packing and shipping over non-recyclable materials like polystyrene.
4. Stop Using Bottled Water
Most bottled water is packaged in single-use plastic bottles, which in turn require up to 2,000 times more energy than tap water to produce. As the world slowly moves toward recyclable or multi-use packaging options to conserve energy and reduce waste accumulation, businesses can do their part by getting rid of bottled water and switching to tap or filtered water – which studies have shown might actually be healthier than bottled water.
As an added bonus, tap water is tremendously cheaper than bottled water, so by getting rid of bottled water and switching to more sustainable solutions, business can both save money and reduce the amount of waste they generate.
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5. Composting Organic Material
According to the US EPA, 24% of all waste generated is organic material that can be easily composted. Composting breaks down organic waste that would otherwise be destined for a landfill into useful compost, aiding in resource conservation along with helping businesses reduce their carbon footprint. Composting also helps reduce greenhouse gas emissions, since by keeping waste out of landfills you’re helping reduce the amount of methane gas they generate.
The compost produced from organic waste can be used to replace synthetic fertilizers in agriculture, which have been proven to be detrimental to the surrounding environment and, in some cases, the general population. Organic compost has the additional benefits of improving soil and water quality, as well as being better for crops than synthetic or artificial fertilizers. Finally, composting can also be more economical than landfill waste haulage for businesses.
The number of US businesses benefiting from composting is growing at a steady pace, and businesses looking to begin composting their organic waste can start by referring to the US Composting Council’s published information and resources. Also, check out amazing companies like Sustainable Generation that are handling incredible composting jobs.
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It’s a well-known fact that the production of paper has been responsible for mass deforestation, which has not only harmed the environment but also caused greenhouse gas emissions to skyrocket. While “Paperless” is a term most of us are familiar with, the amount of businesses still totally reliant on paper in this day and age is shocking.
Still, plenty of businesses throughout the globe have started switching to paperless solutions and by using digital media and storage options, print needs are reduced and the amount of waste paper generated is significantly cut. Consider switching to a paperless business environment if you’d like to help reduce the amount of waste generated by your business while at the same time reducing your business’ carbon footprint and cutting costs.
Employee education should be a key component of any business’ waste management program. It’s crucial that employees are educated in various waste reduction practices, as well as made aware of the benefits of waste reduction in the workplace. Ensure that they’re aware of the locations of the different waste bins throughout the business and that proper waste reduction practices are enforced.
8. Let Your Business Partners Know Your Waste Management Goals
Last but not least, make sure your clients and business partners are aware of your waste management goals and are fully on board. This will help keep business morale high and motivate all employees to continue following the established waste reduction policies and practices.
Set up company wide goals and reward employees for participation in your efforts. At the end of the day it is a win-win for everyone. Your business is reducing its footprint AND your business is saving money.
If the task above seems burdensome, or you do not know where to start to reduce your waste, hiring a waste and cost reduction expert may be a legitimate option for your business.
A waste and cost reduction expert will be able to guide you through the above steps designed to manage your waste effectively, responsibly, and in a way that causes minimal disruption to your business.
Take Waste Control up on their free audit and analysis of your existing waste practices to help you reduce your manufacturing facility waste and save money on waste services!