Businesses are producing more waste than they did several years ago. Not only does this cost a company money (since hauling waste is expensive), but it also means that they’re heavily impacting the environment by adding to landfill. It is estimated that the average office worker generates about two pounds worth of paper and paperboard products each day, which roughly equates to ten thousand pieces of paper per year. It is also estimated that paper products make up 70 percent of the total waste an office generates, as staff print out unnecessary items like junk mail, handouts, and billing reports, which could all be viewed electronically. There are things businesses can do to help reduce the waste they’re shipping to waste facilities every month, which will help to impact their business as a whole positively, the people who work for it, and of course, the environment.
Conduct a Waste Audit
As any business owner knows, outsourcing tasks that aren’t the company’s main focus is good for business. It is widely recommended that specialists are used for essentials like accounting and finances, for instance. The same is true for assessing business processes like waste management. Businesses should take a look at their facilities, and assess the supply chain of items that, after use, become waste. Creating a list of all of the things which are a part of the stock that could be swapped out for more recyclable products, and ditching unnecessary plastics for much more recyclable ones is a great start. However, no business wants to be distracted from their main focus, so outsourcing this task may be a wise move.
Why Not Compost Instead?
Hundreds of offices in the United States are choosing to compost rather than send their waste to the landfill. Doing so is good for the environment, and if there is a composting facility close by, it could save the company money. There might be things in a business that they use every day that could be recyclable; the U.S Composting Council has some great information on this if businesses want to see if composting is right for them.
Make it as Easy as Possible for People to Recycle
People, if they’re confused or don’t fully understand the impact, may just throw things that could be recycled into the waste bin – so it’s vital that the company educates their staff on waste management and recycling if they really want to see improvement. This can be done by holding meetings discussing the importance of waste management, or sending out handouts (electronically of course) which offer information about recycling – why it’s important to recycle and what materials can be recycled.
You’ll also need to do additional things to encourage employees to recycle. For instance, you can create an inter-department competition to reduce waste. Healthy competition between departments is a great way to encourage people to recycle. It’s a fun way to get people involved, and it gets people thinking about their own waste management and how they’re contributing to it in their business and personal lives. You can also put up signs to remind people to recycle. Create catchy messages or slogans that reinforce the idea of recycling, along with symbols and signage that instructs the employees about how to recycle in a simple way.
Switching Your Approach
One third of all the waste in developed countries comes from packaging alone. Businesses that ship products out to their customers every day are adding to this total number. It would be in their best interest to switch out their plastic packaging with something much more recyclable, such as cardboard.
Meanwhile, approximately 80,000 acres of forest are cut down every day, which goes towards feeding our paper needs, but is it really worth it? Printing out forms is often wasteful and redundant, especially in our current technological age. Companies can opt for a digital-based alternative if they are serious about reducing their waste, instead of giving their staff physical paper slips or reporting their profits to the shareholders. They can instead send emails and digital versions of these.
Managing waste should be everyone’s responsibility. Consider these tips to reduce waste in your workplace and help the earth to heal.