Take your waste program to the next level
Studies have shown that organizations that have social and environmental policies attract and retain staff and appeal to a growing market of customers.
Work backwards to zero waste
What is the number one source of waste you generate? Create a reduction goal for that item – this can help you reach targets over time. It’s not possible to change all your business practices overnight but taking actionable steps over a reasonable timeframe can help you stay on track.
For example, if the biggest culprit filling your bins is paper towels, consider no-waste alternatives like installing hand dryers in the washrooms. By starting with the biggest contributor of waste, you can come up with alternative solutions that help you reach your targets.
Share the goal with customers and staff and communicate your progress. Hold a celebration when you meet your target!
Investing in success
Technology has allowed us to do many things with a smaller environmental impact, however it can seem daunting to make the leap.
Maybe it’s a high-efficiency printer that does duplex printing vs. the smaller one-sided inkjet you’ve been using. The big purchases can be hard to justify, but consider the investment in the long run: buying less paper, fewer ink refills and less recycling means you may be able to change your collection service, saving you money in the long run.
Or, consider a zero-print strategy. If you have forms or documents, or general paperwork at your business, make these forms digital. If you need staff or customer signatures, these can be digitized too. Many receipts can be emailed. Consider what investment would make the biggest difference in your business and investigate what it would take to make it feasible.
Change how you buy – and from who
Consider creating an ethical procurement policy where you document your commitment to sustainability of products coming in and out of your business. Educate your suppliers and your customers on what you’re trying to do and why it matters to you.
Reduce packaging at your business or organization by buying in bulk, opting to purchase items that come in less packaging. Use your buying power to communicate expectations to buyers who over-package products. Talk to them about providing supplies in reusable packaging/boxes.
This is a great way to reduce the use of cardboard boxes and air pillows or packing peanuts. (And don’t forget to save those boxes and packaging and reuse them when you have to ship items out.) If you receive pallets at your business, talk with the vendors to use reusable pallets or to take them back, or reuse pallets yourself around your business.
If you have food catered to your office, or occasionally order lunch, talk to the food supplier about delivering their food in reusable or bulk packaging. You will see your waste go down in huge amounts for events by making a few small requests.
With some creativity and commitment, you can level up and demonstrate your environmental values in your business, reduce your waste and save money. Remember these waste R’s – Rethink. Refuse. Reduce. Reuse. Recycle.
Levelling up your waste program
Is your business already great at recycling and composting? Levelling up allows you to distinguish yourself amongst your customers and staff as a truly committed environmental steward.