A good waste management plan is a crucial part of being a sustainable business.
According to the latest research, 76% of small business owners believe that good waste management helps improve public perception and can also help to increase your client base.
However, without an effective waste management plan, minimising waste, reducing costs and running an ethical business can be challenging.
A waste management plan can improve your waste and recycling practices. Here's how your business and the environment can benefit.
Benefits of a Waste Management Plan
Waste management plans outline practical ways to handle waste materials efficiently. This includes how waste is collected, handled, transported, stored, processed and disposed.
Whether you recycle or how you manage business waste can determine lost opportunities and profits within your business. If your business isn't recycling, you could be missing out on:
- Lower waste costs: Recycling can improve your bottom line and reduce the amount of waste your business produces, meaning less waste to get rid of and lower waste costs
- Cost savings: Through reusing materials, source-sorting waste into common streams and reviewing current collection systems
- Reduced environmental impact: Effective waste management plans help conserve materials and energy, reducing your carbon footprint
- Better customer reputation: Sustainable businesses can strengthen their reputation with customers. Consumers prefer sustainable brands and often choose businesses who follow environmentally friendly practices
- Saves money on what you buy: Using sustainable materials, packaging and equipment efficiently means you won't have to use or buy as much
- Competitive edge: Efficient waste management and recycling demonstrates to others you're innovative and committed to reducing your environmental impact
- Happier staff equals better business: 80% of Australian employees want more recycling in the workplace and expect to see it. It makes them feel responsible, contributing to happier and more productive staff
- Workplace safety: If you work with sharp objects , dangerous chemicals or other hazardous waste, it's crucial you are storing and disposing of waste properly
Executing a Business Waste Management Plan
How do you get started with an effective waste management plan for your business?
Although regular rubbish and recycling waste separation is now a habit for many Australians, not all businesses understand the importance of a separate recyclable waste collection stream.
It's a common myth recycling and waste management plans are expensive to execute. Planning and practical strategies can save your business money in the long term.
Your waste management plan should include:
- SMART goals and objectives to minimise business waste
- How much waste your business generates and what materials it consists of. Use Bin Trim, an audit tool to help measure the amount of waste your business creates
- Options to separate different types of waste. Consider what items can be recycled or reused and execute a plan for them
- A waste reduction program. This could include key pointers to build education and cooperation amongst your staff on reducing waste and activities for key personnel to implement
- Product reviews. Brainstorm product packaging ideas. Does the cost of disposing of materials outweigh the cost of producing or buying them? Can fewer materials be used in packaging or can they be reused or recycled?
Common Pitfalls to Avoid
To execute an efficient waste management plan, it's important to speak with your local waste disposal provider.
Engaging a professional waste planning company will help ensure you have a successful and cost-effective plan in place, tailored specifically to your business. However, to avoid the common commercial waste pitfalls, businesses must understand their waste and quantities produced.
Tip: If you have just started a new business or setup in a different location, organising bin collection is something many small business owners often forget. Don't assume that your council is the best service for commercial waste disposal. Contact local commercial services to see whether they can provide a more cost-effective bin service.
How to Minimise Waste
Executing an effective business waste management plan is the first step to corporate sustainability.
Recycling, reducing waste and decreasing electricity consumption are easy wins for small businesses who want to take advantage of direct savings and become less resource dependent. For other ways to reduce your carbon footprint, minimise waste and maximise recycling, you should:
- Conduct a waste audit. Include electronic waste, packaging waste, food waste and workshop waste
- Look for efficiencies in supply chain
- Invest in renewable energy sources such as solar panels
Good businesses don't happen by accident. Strategic plans are executed to reach objectives - and your waste management is no different.
By Jayde Ferguson. You can catch Jayde on LinkedIn.