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Will we ever achieve zero waste?

The announcement this January that the collective use of LED lights in the UK is playing a huge role in helping to reduce the UK’s overall energy consumption is great news for those of us wanting to reduce our impact on the environment. One person changing one light bulb to a low energy LED option may not make a great difference by itself, but now that millions of people in the UK are doing it, the drop in energy demand is becoming increasingly significant. A whole range of more efficient electrical products has led to electrical generation per person dropping back down to 1984 levels. And the growth of renewable energy has also had a substantial effect on carbon emission reduction – in 2018, 33% of the UK’s electricity was created from renewable sources.

At the end of 2018, Mintel predicted that ‘sub-zero waste’ will be the main trend in the beauty and personal care industry over the next five years, predicting that: “Whether reducing or eliminating waste altogether, if brands don’t change their approach now, they will become insignificant and may not exist in the future. Brands that place current profits ahead of making the necessary investment in zero waste and sustainability will not be around in the future”.

Unfortunately, it seems that many businesses still need to catch up. A recent survey on business waste discovered that 90% of UK businesses still do not have a recycling policy in place. 80% do not use separate recycling bins and 96% do not use recycled paper. This is despite the fact that reduced consumption will actually lower costs of waste disposal for businesses, and that many young people now take a company’s Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) policy into account when deciding whether or not to apply for a job with them.

Zero waste festivals

Many UK festivals have become far more aware of the waste they produce and have made great strides forward in encouraging recycling, but it’s estimated that, of the 23,500 tonnes of waste generated each year, 68% of it goes to landfill.

In Canada, one town has worked hard to change that. Last year, the organisers of a festival in Kimberley – which attracted over a thousand visitors – only sent one bag of rubbish to landfill after implementing a policy that saw volunteers supervising the bins and making sure people separated their waste properly. From experience, they’d found out that, while most people are happy to sort their waste, others aren’t, and their lax attitude about which bin to put their rubbish in often resulted in huge quantities of recycling having to go to landfill.

So it is possible to minimise the amount of waste going to landfill, but it does take effort and dedication to make it happen. However, like the decrease in UK energy consumption thanks to so many individuals switching to LED light bulbs, with a collective effort, we can make a big difference.

If you need to reduce costs associated with your company’s waste disposal, contact us to find out how our compactors and balers can help

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