Guest Blog: How Your Company Can Benefit From Business Waste Recycling
We all know that we need to recycle as much as we can to reduce the strain already on the environment. According to the UK government and their latest statistics, we generated 202.8 million tonnes of total waste in 2014. When a small car weighs 1 ton this seems like a staggering amount. As a business owner it’s important to take some responsibility for the waste your business produces which can seem difficult, time consuming and another thing for the to do list. It’s important that business owners see the value in recycling, not just for the planet but for the potentially cost saving benefit.
It can help reduce costs
Recycling can helps businesses save money. The cost of getting recycling waste collected is often much lower than expected and is useful to those who are putting in the work to deal with the materials. The money you can save by recycling waste from your business can add up to a significant amount over time and can help you to increase your profit margins as you’re avoiding expensive landfill costs.
For example, Marks & Spencer has been aware of this demand for some time and they introduced a £200 million “eco-plan”. They aim to stop sending waste to landfill from its stores, offices and warehouses and cut how much packaging it uses by 25%. From April to December 2007 they reduced the use of their carrier bags by 11% across their business which resulted in them giving out 37 million fewer bags. They also reduced the plastic packaging of some ready meals with a 20% weight saving.
Gives you a good rap
Aside from the obvious of saving the planet, it’s good PR for your business. Recycling is increasingly important to everyone with many consumers now seeking out companies with green credentials that they can work with. If you do your bit to help the environment, you can promote yourselves as a ‘green company’ which can help bring a rise in enquiries. Not only consumers, but other organisations will see it as a positive to be affiliated with this sort of business which could help to bring in otherwise unreachable opportunities.
One company that does this well is Pret. For over 30 years they have been donating their unsold food to the homeless and have been trying to reduce packaging waste and making more of it recyclable. Their CEO, Clive Schlee, released a statement saying the following: What if Pret stopped selling plastic water bottles? As there is between 4.8 million and 12.7 million tons of plastic ending up in the world’s oceans every year so we all know plastic bottles are a problem. So what are Pret trying to do? They’re beginning a trial in their Veggie Pret shops and all their Manchester shops by the end of October to encourage customers to refill their bottles at new filtered water stations. They will also start selling two sizes of reusable glass bottles alongside regular plastic bottles so they have a clear choice. Their aim is to understand if customers will choose to refill a bottle rather than buying a new plastic one.
Avoid fines and legal proceedings
When it comes to getting rid of your waste properly, there are certain legal commitments that are in place to make sure everything is dealt with safely. It’s important to get rid of your waste properly to avoid potential fines that could otherwise crop up. Confidential waste, WEEE recycling and electronic waste all have regulated processes and you don’t want to be caught out by not disposing of them correctly. Hiring a professional service can take away these risks as they have highly trained staff that can specialise in dealing with your waste effectively.
Waste reduction and recycling plan
One of the main reasons that businesses can be reluctant to get so involved is that they wrongly believe it will be a difficult and time consuming process. A lot of professional services can make recycling as easy as possible, dealing with and taking away your waste so you don’t have to. A simple start is putting a basic plan in place: planning, ground rules and carrying out the plan as part of your day to day activities. When planning what you are going to do you have to look at the waste your business creates. Then develop how you will reduce this with support from your team and encourage all employees to get involved.
Laying the groundwork is a simple. You can set goals and, if you can, have a reduction and recycling coordinator in charge of making sure this all happens correctly. Decide on how much waste you want to reduce with policies in place and working out what business waste can in fact be recycled and where to recycle it. Using a local waste removal service can help make this process even easier.
Finally, educate your staff. Help inform them as much as possible and make sure you have a monitoring and evaluation process so you can help reduce as much waste as possible and everyone can understand what goes on.
Of course, using recycled products in the first place is a good start. This can include but isn’t limited to: tissue, cardboard and paperboard containers, packaging materials, motor oil, plastic carpeting, lumber, screens and downspouts, construction materials and asphalt. Refurbished items are often cheaper than buying brand new as well such as recharged laser printer cartridges, retreaded tires and used and refurbished office furniture or machinery.
Business duty of care
Finally all businesses should have a trade waste agreement with a registered waste carrier to take their refuse to a licensed site. They have a duty to ensure that waste is handled safely and within the law. Businesses must ensure that all waste is stored and disposed of responsibly by people or businesses that are authorised to do so. Records must also be kept of any waste that is transferred or received in the last two years.