Businesses have a social or recycling responsibility to encourage and promote the reuse of materials and other products that have reached the end of their lifespan. There are several very simple and incredibly cost effective ways to do this; here are a few ideas to get you started…
PROVIDE CLEAR INFORMATION
Rather than assuming people will know what to do with an item when they no longer need it, why not provide clear information telling them exactly what to do – just to make sure!
Reinforcing the importance of recycling responsibly and providing clear information about how and where to do that can make all the difference. Once people have clear instructions about what to do, they are far more likely to understand and subsequently do it.
This advice or information could be a simple written reminder, printed on the item itself like a short message on a drinks container, reminding the individual that once they have enjoyed the beverage, the container can be successfully recycled.
On other products, like electronic equipment the information could be more detailed, perhaps a leaflet signposting the consumer to some of the recycling options available in their country. Providing this sort of information encourages awareness and prepares the consumer for what to do in the future when that item becomes waste.
Some businesses may feel that drawing consumers attention to the fact that an item they are purchasing will ultimately become waste is a poor sales strategy, but people are not daft, they know that eventually things need to be replaced and the majority of consumers will be impressed by the commitment to environmental issues that are no secret to anyone!
PROVIDE A FINANCIAL INCENTIVE
This is a well-tested method to encourage people to recycle. Glass beverage bottles are an excellent example of this successful strategy and the power of providing people with a financial incentive to recycle.
Some businesses encourage consumers to recycle their white goods with them in exchange for money off their next purchase and more recently, high street chains including clothes shop H&M have implemented strategies to encourage their customers to recycle.
H&M introduced a clothing-recycling program in 2013, encouraging customers to exchange bags of unwanted clothing for discount vouchers in store. Marks and Spencers launched an initiative of their own, called ‘Shwopping’. Customers have been encouraged to drop their unwanted clothing in ‘Shwop Drop’ bins in store, in collaboration with Oxfam.
Both companies are doing their bit to reduce the quantity of used clothing that ends up in landfill sites each year.
LEAD BY EXAMPLE
Larger companies can put their buying power to good use by encouraging producers and suppliers to reduce the quantity of packaging they use. Many items are grossly over packaged, using far more materials than necessary to make the product appear larger or more attractive to consumers. Bananas in a plastic case on super market shelves??
Some businesses are demonstrating their commitment to the environment by promoting reduced packaging and environmentally friendly packing materials. Purchasing power can have a huge impact, instigating change and for many consumers, green policies are far more attractive than a falsely super-sized package!