waste reduction

Even the smallest changes in business practice can mean big reductions in waste, helping to cut costs. Here are some tips to get you started with better and more effective waste management.

Equipment

To begin with, take small, affordable steps. Replace disposable batteries with rechargeable ones, make sure that air conditioner filters are reusable, set photocopiers to double-sided, switch off lights and equipment when they’re not in use and opt for refillable printer cartridges.

After that, consider the bigger picture. Check all equipment regularly and rigorously, to make sure that when you’re purchasing equipment, you choose remanufactured items whenever possible. You can expect the same level of reliability and performance from them that you’d expect of brand new gear. Furthermore, it’s better to spend extra money on high-quality, long-lasting options than buy cheaper objects that are likely to breakdown and have a short life span. In the long run, you’ll make significant savings.

Packaging

Thanks to advances in technology, there are numerous ways to reduce waste yet still produce effective packaging. When choosing materials, opt for those made from renewable and recycled resources, such as wood fibre from sustainably managed forests or glass containing a high proportion of recycled content. Use as little plastic as possible and find out if co-extruded plastic containers and bags can work for you.

Then there’s design to think about. Even when using renewable and recycled resources, it’s important to reduce usage. Find designs that require minimal materials – if you don’t employ a designer, use software to help you. And think carefully about all the details – get rid of unnecessary layers, cut out tape whenever possible, choose printing instead of labels and reduce fillers, especially environmentally harmful ones, such as polystyrene. If you do need to protect fragile objects, air can be equally effective.

Education

To create a positive, enduring culture around waste reduction, it’s crucial to educate your staff about business waste management and business recycling. This can also be an opportunity for boosting good will and team work. Hold regular sessions, informing staff members of what you expect of them and, if workable, giving them a chance to ask questions and provide input. You can also give them incentives by offering rewards for taking action.