We all generate waste, but as businesses, we have a social responsibility to keep waste to a minimum. Sometimes it is the smallest of changes that get the ball rolling and make a real difference; the following ideas are incredibly straightforward and would be easy to implement in any workplace.
Does your business produce any type of waste that would be useful to business or organisation? Anything from unwanted coffee grounds and sawdust to bottle caps could be diverted for reuse by somebody else and put to good use rather than discarded. Community run organisations like Scrap Store may be looking for materials you typically throw away so why not investigate what sort of things they’re after.
Many business owners have difficulty getting staff on board with their recycling schemes and green policies. Offering incentives is an effective way to turn this around quickly! Ideas could include:
Passing any savings on waste disposal directly to employees, this extra money could be spent on an employee event, staff lunch, or a donation to a charity close to your employee hearts. Individual rewards can also be a great motivator, rewarding the greenest employee of the month with a gift certificate, or small gift could work wonders and can help to boost morale.
Create a visual graphic to demonstrate the success of your recycling or waste reduction program. This serves as a constant reminder and can be an effective way to motivate teams and individuals.
Make It Easy
Make it easy for your employees to contribute to your goals by placing recycling bins in strategic places and colour coding them clearly, making it simple and removing the temptation to ‘cheat’. Using the same logic in reverse, you could also look for ways to make it harder for them not to comply!
All businesses produce a certain amount quantity of compostable waste, even if it is just waste created by tea, coffee, staff snacks and lunch. Keeping a green bin for this sort of compostable waste removes a portion of your waste stream and gives you something useful in exchange. A small amount of cardboard and paper can be added to a green waste bin too.
You may find that by joining with other businesses in your locality you can help each other to reduce waste. Forinstance if you are based on a small office park or in a shared building. This could involve pooling your recycling waste to make your recycling programs more viable collectively or exchanging waste with each other. Things like pallets, boxes and containers that are a by-product of your industry could be useful items to others and vice versa. Alternatively, a communal garden in your business zone could be the perfect place to set up a communal green bin!
Reusing boxes and padded envelopes for sending parcels and goods is a great way to reduce your waste. Some companies worry that this will give the wrong impression but if you make a point of telling your customers that you are green and like to reuse rather than waste unnecessarily, most will appreciate your commitment to the environment.
Discourage One Time Use
Disposable cups, stir sticks, straws and utensils create unnecessary waste and can easily be replaced with greener alternatives. Provide staff with their own mugs, plates, glasses etc and encourage them to avoid wasteful habits.