18 Waste Reduction Tips for Small Businesses
Reducing waste in small businesses is not only good for the environment, but also good for reducing costs.
According to data from the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), the average American generates approximately 4.9 pounds of garbage every day. Now, imagine that person spends 6-8 hours a day at your company. Their rubbish is now your rubbish. More importantly, your business needs to pay a fee to ship it away-either to a landfill or to a more environmentally friendly location. In turn, you need to pay more resources to replace wasted resources-such as printing paper, food service utensils, plastic wrapping paper, etc.
But employee waste is only the beginning. You have also absorbed the waste of all customers, suppliers, and suppliers.
Anyone you do business with, you may share waste with. So how do you manage waste in small businesses in a more environmentally and financially responsible manner? Here are 18 waste reduction tips to help you get started.
1. Conduct a waste audit.
Once you have a good understanding of what is in the waste stream, you can begin to solve the biggest problems. In essence, this can be as simple or technical as you wish. Some waste suppliers will send people to the site to evaluate your waste stream-or you can simply do it yourself by looking at the trash can.
2. The default is duplex printing.
If paper is your problem, set the printer's default setting to duplex printing. In the meantime, continue to set the ink default to black/white and any environmentally friendly options your printer has.
Ink is expensive, especially color ink, and ink cartridges are difficult to recycle on the roadside. All in all, the less paper you use, the better, and the same rules apply to ink.
3. Print the draft file on the back of the old print.
Only one piece of paper can be wasted, so why waste two pieces of paper? If it is not the final document, please print it on the back of another printed draft. Of course, please remember to put them all in the recycling bin when you are done.
4. Do not print emails.
In terms of business sustainability, this is the ultimate rude. Emails do not belong to the physical file cabinet, they belong to the cloud.
It’s time to stop printing emails. You can go one step further by adding a note to your email signature, "Please consider the environment before printing this email."
A little inspiration for other people doing the same thing.
5. Take notes on used paper.
Create a waste paper pile for taking notes and jot down phone information. Torn, cut, and torn old prints can help build a quirky, aggressive work culture, or at least occasionally laugh when you see the other side of the content.
6. Refill the printer cartridges
...Or if you are not sure about recycling them.
New ink cartridges are expensive, and if you don't have a supplier with difficult to recycle materials, getting rid of old ink cartridges can be challenging. The easiest and cheapest option is usually to invest in printer ink bottles and refill existing ink cartridges yourself.
7. Take out the disposable cups, plates and cutlery.
Don’t spend money on disposable coffee cups, paper plates, and plastic tableware, just to drag them into the trash.
Instead, visit the Salvation Army, your local thrift store, or even a nearby Wal-Mart to buy a set of reasonably priced office kitchenware. Develop a workplace policy of "you use it, you wash it" to ensure that dirty dishes don't start to accumulate. Or, consider investing in a dishwasher. In the long run, these upfront costs will save you a burden.
8. Get rid of the plastic water bottle.
They can take up unnecessary space in your trash and recycle bins, leading to more frequent pickups. Most employees drink water at work. If each employee drinks more than one bottle of water a day, you will see a lot of plastic waste. Consider installing a water filter on your sink tap or changing to a water cooler.
9. Set up single-stream recycling.
If you haven’t reclaimed it yet, then it’s time to start using Single Stream Reclamation (SSR). This basic "recycling dummy" solution enables employees, customers, and suppliers/suppliers to put all recyclables in a trash can. Depending on the recycling facility in your area, SSR usually includes paper/cardboard, metal, plastic, and/or glass. Your waste supplier can tell you exactly which materials are accepted when you set up the service, and then you can mark your trash can accordingly.
10. Mark each trash can.
Signs are a great way to ensure that recyclables enter the recycling bin, organics enter the compost bin (if you have one), and garbage enters the trash bin.
Recycle Across America provides simple, consistent signage that your customers, employees, and suppliers can easily understand. Whenever possible, post a sign of accepted materials with picture examples on every trash can in your company. This will ensure that the service you have is actually serving a certain purpose.
Although the signs are great, don't expect things to change overnight because of some signs-this also requires active internal communication.
11. There are enough recycling bins.
The general rule of thumb is to have a recycling bin next to each trash can. This means in every lounge, meeting room, front and back of the house, next to the cash register, loading and unloading docks, etc.
People are more than happy to recycle at their convenience. Therefore, please make it as convenient as possible and pay attention to reducing waste in landfills.
12. Look for (black) gold-compost.
If your waste audit finds a large amount of food and organic waste, it may be a good idea to set up a composting service.Food waste is usually the heaviest and dirtiest waste that needs to be disposed of. This means that you may have to pay a lot of money to send it all to the landfill. Not to mention, if not handled properly, decomposing organic waste can produce harmful methane gas. Anaerobic digestion or composting can help you rearrange waste for better use.
Remember, you need to make sure that there are enough trash cans around the workplace.
13. Train employees frequently.
Signage teaches, but training is internalized.
Help your employees accept and reflect the sustainable development goals you set for your company. Provide new employees with training on the company's internal waste and recycling agreements, various trash cans, and how to deal with the most common types of waste generated by the company. Then, update successes, failures, or new agreements regularly throughout the year, perhaps at every "full-hand" meeting.
Must not only train them, but also understand why.
Why should we recycle? Why is it important to use the right trash can? Why is waste reduction important?
Your employees are your biggest champions, so please let them join early and often.
14. Communicate waste goals to your customers.
If you are committed to reducing waste, your customers are likely to do the same.
If you have a storefront or front desk, be sure to include appropriate trash and recycling bins to match the materials used by your business. For example, if you implement compostable service supplies, make sure you set up an appropriate composting service and put a label on the front of the house. Also make sure to include instructions for recyclable or compostable packaging.
Want your customers to recycle paper, plastic or cans? Be sure to communicate this information in your recycling bin and wherever these materials are consumed or used.
15. Donate unnecessary or redundant items.
Cleaning the warehouse or storage room once a year can cause serious damage to your trash can. Old rolling chairs, desks, storage shelves, file cabinets, mismatched pens, hangers, everything.
A better way to deal with such situations is to call a local charity (i.e. Goodwill, Salvation Army, etc.) to see if they treat your trash as treasure. Habitat for Humanity Restore is an excellent solution for large furniture and appliances.
Remember, it may be easier to put items in the trash, but it certainly won't be cheaper.
16. Recognize the value of cardboard.
Cardboard boxes can take up a lot of space in your trash can, even if you are breaking them down.
If you have storage space to store old boxes and mailing boxes (as well as bubble wrap and packing peanuts), please store and reuse them. If you have too much cardboard that cannot be reused, consider establishing a cardboard (OCC) recycling mechanism with your waste supplier. This will free up space in the trash can and may even make your business eligible for OCC rebates.
17. Evaluate your packaging and remove excess.
Evaluate your packaging methods and determine whether all the materials you currently use are really necessary. If not, you can reduce packaging costs and waste. If all packaging is necessary, maybe some materials can be replaced with more sustainable options?
Keep in mind that if you accept a return, the packaging will most likely be returned to your warehouse for processing.
18. Have a packaging discussion with your supplier.
Once you have considered your own packaging impact, please consider your supplier.
Do you use too much plastic packaging, too many peanuts, or cardboard boxes for finishing? If you see a better way for suppliers to deliver products, express your desire for change and let them know. In the process, you may save them some key costs while reducing the amount of waste you need to manage. If they are unwilling to change their approach, they can consider asking the supplier to pack the remaining packaging they delivered each time or lower the price to compensate for their waste.
If you have solved all these waste reduction techniques and achieved beyond, then you are likely to be fine