How Can Large Companies Reduce Their Waste
National and international companies have embedded waste reduction strategies into many of their processes, from local efforts like recycling paper, plastics, and glass to switching their packing materials to reusable or sustainable packaging that is eco-friendly.
Why are they doing this? Because the benefits of reducing waste go beyond following local, state, and legislation regulations to combat resource wastage. Being a good corporate citizen means embracing a sustainability outlook that goes beyond basic (often mandated) recycling and taking the lead, locally or on a grander scale, to combat resource wastage.
Shareholders, Customers, and Employees Support Business’ Waste Reduction Strategies
Business leaders know global warming is a real, fast-growing threat. They also know employees, shareholders, and customers are concerned.
Smart businesses, even those with international footprints, play a role in local affairs. They support charities, collect school supplies and backpacks for children, and raise money for disaster relief. Many large companies allow employees to take occasional paid days to work onsite at food pantries, Habitat for Humanity, and other community service organizations.
More than ever, big businesses need to take the lead in identifying and creating strategies for ways to reduce waste and even come up with ecologically and financially sound business waste disposal solutions.
How to Reduce Waste, Easily!
Big companies that are major regional employees have a lot of power to determine how to reduce waste. But the logical first step is to audit facilities to determine where waste is especially prominent, both in terms of lost product and productivity. Then come up with a solution or two. Just make sure you don’t point fingers–alienating employees will backfire.
Here are five areas to consider.
Does Wastage Take Up Employee Time?
Sometimes, waste takes up a lot of employee time and resources. For example, if spills are unavoidable at your site, find out how long it takes to clean them up and what materials are used. Kitty litter is a common one, but it’s expensive, even when purchased in bulk. It’s heavy to carry to a spill site. Plus, a lot of litter is needed to soak up even moderate spills.
Rags might do a better job on but aren’t a safe choice for cleaning up spilled flammable liquids. Try a product like SpillFix, which quickly, safely, and thoroughly soaks up virtually any liquid and using amounts far smaller than litter. You can even calculate savings from switching to SpillFix.
Are Current Recycling Efforts Ignored?
Everyone encourages paper recycling. But not everyone is successful at it.
Offices are notorious places for paper buildups but if your paper recycling bins aren’t filling up, think about where they are placed. They don’t belong in the breakroom, but near fax machines and along the cubicle hallways.
If possible, put small recycling bins right at employees’ desks and larger collection bins along major routes.
Declare a War on Bottled Beverages
Even if you have recycling bins for cans and glasses, try to discourage employees from bringing them in in the first place.
A company that hands out swag at corporate events can share some of it with employees. Give those reusable water bottles to employees to encourage water drinking (it’s healthier than soda) and install an attractive hot and cold filtered water dispenser. Mugs are great replacements for styrofoam cups.
Collect Old, Discarded Smartphones and Tablets to Reuse or Recycle
Every household has old smartphones and tablets that aren’t used anymore. They are rarely thrown away because most people understand the batteries shouldn’t be put in dumpsters that go to landfills. So they collect in drawers and closets.
Domestic violence shelters offer restored phones to clients, who often arrive with just the clothes on their backs. Other organizations recycle old devices, including tablets. Host in-house collection drives for these devices. Donate them or bring to support larger community drives.
Consider Repackaging Products With Eco-Friendly Materials
If your company ships product, take a look at the packaging used. Is there too much used for smaller products? Can some of it be eliminated or replaced with reusable or biodegradable materials?
Ask your packaging vendor about other options for shipping products.
- Many packages are now made with recycled material.
- Buy packaging that fits product size. Big boxes may be cheaper, but packing materials costs money too. Plus, large boxes are more expensive to ship and present a real pain for customers to dispose of.
- Some customers love reusable containers; imagine if you can offer one with the corporate logo prominently displayed.
Businesses that support community environmental efforts or create popular in-house strategies will find some savings, and a lot of goodwill aimed at them from employees, customers, and shareholders. Even modest efforts can produce sizable impacts when they become company-wide practices.