Waste reduction is an essential part of any business. Not only does it help the environment, but it can also save money and resources. In the United States, the average rate of waste production is almost double the rate in the early 1960s and almost double the current rate in Japan. Fortunately, there are many strategies that businesses can use to reduce their waste.
The first step is to conduct a waste audit. This will help you identify what materials are being wasted and how much is being wasted. Once you have identified the materials that are being wasted, you can start to look for ways to reduce or eliminate them. Simple changes in human behavior and business practices can significantly reduce waste.
One way to reduce waste is to switch to compostable or recyclable products. This can be done by assessing your facilities and supply chain for items that become waste. You should also make sure that recycling and composting containers are more accessible than containers that end up in landfills and that the labels are easy to read. Another way to reduce waste is to reuse materials whenever possible.
For example, some companies pick up used cardboard boxes and reuse them in their warehouses. Damaged pallets can also be repaired and returned to the distribution chain. You can also reduce paper waste by eliminating paper from your office. This can save money on storage space and reduce current printing needs by 50%.
You can also provide a container where employees can place electronic waste from home or work and promote it as an employee benefit. Make sure your e-waste supplier is recycling, as many sell the waste to foreign entities that don't go ahead with recycling. Another way to reduce waste is to join organizations like VERGE 23, which accelerates solutions to the most pressing challenges of our time. You can also find tools and resources to help facility managers, building owners, tenants, and other stakeholders improve waste management in their buildings, reduce costs, and improve sustainability.
The most effective way to reduce your organization's waste is to generate less in the first place. Waste prevention offers the greatest environmental benefits and cost savings. Most companies have already chosen to stop using paper, but if yours hasn't yet done so, you should definitely consider it. You should also track the amount of waste your organization generates, as this will provide the key foundation for a successful waste reduction program. You should also consider holding a team brainstorming session to identify potential waste reduction activities. When recycling bins are introduced into the workplace and made sure that all workers use them correctly, a huge amount of waste can be prevented from being sent to landfills and, instead, recycled.
You should also ask your current waste service provider what collection method is most suitable for your business. If your waste audit reveals a large amount of organic and food waste, it's probably a good idea to set up composting services. This can save money compared to transporting waste to landfills in areas where a composting plant is 50 miles away. Plastic bottles are one of the most commonly used unnecessary plastics, so you should look for ways to reduce or eliminate them from your business. You should also look for existing information to help design, implement, or expand recycling and waste reduction programs. Finally, you should track the amount of recyclable materials and waste removed from your building so you can understand the performance of your waste management program. By following these strategies, businesses can significantly reduce their waste production and save money in the process.