Every business produces waste.
Regardless of your industry, regardless of the eco-friendly policies you have in place, your business produces waste of one kind or another.
Not only is producing excess waste bad for the environment, but it is also very expensive to haul away your company’s waste.
If you are looking to reduce your business’s bottom line or implement more eco-friendly policies, then reducing waste is one of the most effective actions you can take.
In this post, we will go over some strategies to reduce the overall waste your company produces.
At first, many businesses don’t think of waste reduction as a top priority. However, when business owners dig a little deeper, they will find that waste hauling costs are often astronomical and that simple changes in supplies and policy can have a huge impact on their bottom line.
Secondary to saving your company money, reducing waste establishes your business as an industry leader and reduces greenhouse gas emissions and hazards to human health.
In the United States, 4.3 pounds of waste are produced per day for every person. This is double the amount of waste per capita as compared to the early 1960s.
Here are some highly effective strategies that will reduce your total waste output:
Audit your company facilities.
Take a critical look at the products you are using and try to identify what you can replace with compostable and recycled materials. Make sure you have clearly labeled recycling bins, so you aren’t taking up space in your trash cans.
If you can significantly increase your recycling rates, you will need less frequent trash pick-ups, shrinking your overall costs.
How much packaging is your company consuming? Packaging represents a staggering 33% of total waste produced in developed countries. The most impactful change you can make is to reduce the amount of packaging you are throwing away. Look for companies that ship products in reduced or recycled packages. Or better yet, buy local and slash the total amount of packaging used altogether.
Eliminate plastic water bottles.
Brace yourself. Bottled water is a whopping 2000 times more expensive than tap water. Instead of buying cases of bottled water, opt for water filters and provide glasses for your employees to use.
Seem like a fantasy? Going paperless is more achievable than you might think. With digital technology strengthening its foothold in the world of business, there are dozens of ways to reduce the amount of paper your company uses. No more paper memos or newsletters. Digitize it! The only thing more expensive than the cost to haul waste is the cost of paper and printer ink. Set a goal to go paperless and watch your bottom line shrink.
Measure your waste.
The easiest way to see if you are reducing your total waste is to measure it. Track how much you are throwing away week to week and month to month and cut the fat appropriately. Figure out what is being thrown away and then come up with solutions to replace the waste.
Collect your e-waste.
Electronic waste, more commonly known as e-waste is one of the worst things that companies throw away. Discarded electrical devices can be extremely harmful to the environment and can cause significant health issues if people are chronically exposed. E-waste must be recycled to be properly disposed of. Hire a service that handles e-waste ethically and make sure your vendors actively recycle e-waste.
Compost your organic waste.
Organic waste is the heaviest portion of the waste stream. Heavy waste is more costly to remove than other forms of waste. Remove biodegradables and collect them in a compost turner. Properly composted organic waste can even be sold in some parts of the U.S. Otherwise, there are composting services available in 40 major U.S. markets.
Not only is reducing total waste good for the environment, but it can also reduce your company’s overall spending.
You will never be able to cut your company’s waste output to zero, but through strategic, measured steps, you can drastically reduce the amount of waste you create.
Keep in mind that some types of waste are more harmful than others. E-waste and plastics should be targeted first to make the most dramatic impact.
The most efficient strategies are those that involve the whole community.
Once you have success in your own business, take your waste reduction strategies to your local chamber of commerce.
If your local chamber is lacking in resources, consider joining the Southern Ohio Chamber Association (SOCA). We offer the best resources for keeping your company competitive in all of Ohio.