Waste management advice for small business owners

As a small business owner, it can be tricky to stay on top of your waste management duties along with every other aspect of your business. And, for some people, doing their part to help the environment just isn’t enough of a motivator to cut down the amount of waste they produce and let go in to landfill.

Which is a shame, as having a responsible waste management program can – when correctly put into practice – help your business earn more money, communicate a positive corporate image, comply with local council laws, and reduce the overall global carbon footprint.

The good news is, switching to a more sustainable and eco-friendly way of doing things has never been easier, as it requires very little change to your existing day-to-day business activities.

Here are a few simple ways to go green.

Focus on your primary waste

This goes beyond just being able to separate the general waste from your recyclable waste. Figure out what kind of waste your business deals with the most – i.e. organic waste, cardboard, plastic, or electronic waste – and put in place a waste management program that disposes of that particular waste in the most eco-friendly way possible.

For instance, if your business is known to primarily dispose of electronic equipment, then request a dedicated e-waste skip bin and have the e-waste transported to a local scrap metal recycler. Instead of joining the landfill, recoverable materials such as aluminium, copper, and steel, can be reused to produce a surprisingly diverse range of new products, like jewellery, fence posts, and pallets.

Does your business primarily dispose of food waste? Don’t let it go to waste. You can donate quality edible food to food charities like SecondBite, Foodbank Australia, OzHarvest, and FareShare. These are just some of the many ways your business can more effectively avoid, reduce, and reuse different types of recyclable materials.

Hire a skip bin

If your business has begun to produce more waste than it can handle, or you plan to improve the way you separate your waste, hiring a skip bin is a convenient and cost-effective way to dispose of your business waste properly.

Perhaps the biggest advantage of a skip bin is the convenience. You don’t have to collect your waste, arrange for transport, and drive to the local tip to drop it off. All you have to do is place an order online or over the phone, let them know how long you need it for, and the skip bin will be delivered straight to you. Plus, you can choose from a range of sizes to suit your specific needs.

Most importantly, the team who collects your skip bin will know how to properly dispose of your waste. If you plan to dispose of just organic green waste, for instance, you will feel good knowing that your waste is being disposed of at a local green waste disposal centre – not decomposing in landfill.

Best of all? Both you and your staff will save heaps of time on trying to manage the waste yourself. Therefore, you are able to boost productivity and meet customer demand.

Avoid and reduce

As part of your waste reduction strategy, there are many ways to cut down or entirely get rid of certain materials. While it is not possible to name them all here, below are a few strategies you can try for your business:

  • Modify the packaging – By switching from corrugated cardboard to reusable plastic shipping containers, Pepsi-Cola were able to save $44 million.[i]
  • Switch to a paperless office – An estimated 45 percent of paper printed in the office ends up in trash by the end of the day.[ii]
  • Measure your waste – Use a software tool like Bin Trim to find out the volume and types of materials you are disposing of in your waste and recycling.[iii]
  • Buy green goods – Talk to your supplier about making the switch to greener and more eco-friendly products or materials.
  • Train your employees – By educating your workers on the benefits of following a waste management program, they are more likely to incorporate the practice into their day-to-day activities.

[i] https://www.environmentalleader.com/2015/09/environmental-programs-save-pepsi-375-million/

[ii] https://www.formstack.com/blog/2019/paperless-office/

[iii] https://www.epa.nsw.gov.au/your-environment/recycling-and-reuse/business-government-recycling/bin-trim/bin-trim-reducing-business-waste

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