When you say that “waste is a thief” in modern business, you may think in terms of wasted time, wasted resources or (most likely) wasted money. But did you know that even your waste can be wasteful. In the hyper aware times in which we live, it is incumbent upon businesses not only to
reduce their waste but to be responsible in how they quantify and handle their waste. In an era where more and more people are going vegan for environmental as well as health issues, and eschewing bottled water and plastic shopping bags, and even world governments are doing their bit by illegalizing harmful substances like microbeads, it is no longer a novelty for a business to demonstrate an environmental conscience, it’s an imperative!
If your business waste goes into a landfill week after week, month after month and year after year then you’re wasting your waste. You’re robbing your waste and your business of opportunity in ways that could ultimately prove harmful not only to the environment, but to your business. If you fail to see the correlation between the state of your waste and the health of your business, read on…
Opportunities for innovation
Do you know the difference between a small business owner and an entrepreneur? A small business owner goes from day to day carrying out the operations side of their business while giving very little thought to innovation or strategy. Entrepreneurs, on the other hand, live to innovate. They’re constantly looking at their business from a macro perspective and identifying ways in which to make processes more efficient. Which do you want to be seen as? Innovators drive growth, and businesses that are afraid to innovate not only risk stagnating but are less attractive both to customers and to top tier clients when the time comes to recruit.
What you do with your business waste provides opportunities for innovation, either to make your processes more efficient or to give something for nothing to your local community. You don’t need to invest in a machine that turns your used plastics into sustainable fuel to be an innovator. Even something as simple as donating your food waste to a local farm can work wonders for your business’ PR.
Revise your production procedures
If your business contains a manufacturing component that’s carried out ‘in house’, you should look at your production procedures and ascertain that they are as waste managed as possible. Production waste not only damages the environment, it costs you money, so your processes should be as prohibitive to waste as possible. Look at Landmark Home and Land Company who manufacture home kits that enable people to build their own houses. They have identified a desire to eliminate waste in the construction industry and have therefore implemented a process for home building that is not only more time efficient, it helps to minimize waste in terms of materials, resources and time.
Swap out plastic for biodegradable alternatives
Plastic is toxic… In so many ways, in its effect to the environment and (potentially) your association with it. The pressure is on businesses to either cut down their reliance on plastic or to incorporate more recycled plastics into their output.
If your product relies on plastic for its packaging, be aware that using this wasteful material may alienate you from a growing demographic. Try switching it for any of these biodegradable yet cost effective alternatives.
Managing your water waste doesn’t just make sense from a business perspective, it’s an increasingly common part of legal compliance in many countries. In the UK, for example, retailers and manufacturers are under increased scrutiny under the Clean Water Act, the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act and the Safe Drinking Water Act. Businesses are expected to look into innovative ways of recycling their waste water through initiatives like graywater showers and hand basins.
Unlike most forms of waste, you can’t do anything with energy waste. You can, however, take steps to mitigate it. Even simple solutions like using natural light as much as possible instead of relying on SFL bulbs or (Heaven help us) old fashioned filament bulbs (which you really should change if you’re serious about combating energy waste).
Wasted technology is an area of growing concern for environmentalists, with some 20-50 million tonnes of tech waste (or e-waste) going into landfills each year. While it accounts for only a small percentage of overall landfill its components make it among the most toxic forms of waste on the planet. Reuse and re-appropriate equipment where you can and cannibalize it for parts when you can’t. If all else fails, procure the services of a reputable e-waste disposal company who will ensure that it is put to use in the least damaging way possible.