Australian companies of all sizes are working tirelessly to improve their sustainability efforts. The road to becoming a more sustainable business is a long and often slow one, but working towards reducing our carbon footprint is one of the most important initiatives any business can take. One of the easiest and most cost-efficient ways to start on this journey is to improve the recycling efforts in your office. Implementing a robust recycling program can help your business become more sustainable and reduce your environmental impact.
Put simply, the more we recycle, the more energy is saved and the amount of waste going to landfill is reduced. Create a plan to ensure your business is on board with the current best practice for recycling and sustainability, and be sure to educate your staff about all the associated benefits.
1. Reduce Paper Consumption
The most effective way for a business to reduce waste is to look at its paper consumption. Even in today’s modern workplace there are still many tasks that just can’t go paperless. Thankfully there are some alternative ways to be more sustainable when it comes to paper. The days of recycled copy paperpaper being the inferior choice for offices are long gone, with many recycled papers now offering outstanding performance while being far kinder to the environment. Another sustainable choice for office paper is New Future Opti, a lighter paper means less wastage, and its unique biodegradable, plastic free wrapper makes it completely recyclable.
Finding ways to reuse paper before it makes its way into the paper recycling bin is another great way to add to your sustainability efforts, here are some ideas:
- Used, or misprinted documents are great for use as scrap/note paper
- Double sided printing is a great paper saver, and perfectly acceptable for internal documents
- Shredded paper is perfect for use as packaging or, you can donate shredded paper to your local animal shelter for use as bedding
- Kids use a lot of paper, send scrap office paper home to the kids of the staff, the kids will love it and your employees will be happy for the surplus….and will love not having to clean crayon off the walls!
2. Save on Packaging
The waste created by boxes and packaging is a huge source of concern for a sustainable business, and while choosing eco-friendly options is a great start, there are other steps which can be taken to reduce and reuse.
- Use shredded paper or reclaimed packing materials for packaging
- Find ways to reuse delivery boxes. A new label might be all it needs to be redistributed to the next recipient
- Consider ordering in bulk to reduce packaging waste
3. Find Out What’s Recyclable
Paper and cardboard aren’t the only recyclable items in the office. You’d be surprised at what can be recycled through various companies and government initiatives.
- Ink and toner cartridges can be easily recycled, and many companies organise their own pick up of used cartridges
- Most plastics can now be recycled through regular council recycling or soft-plastics programs
- Old computers and mobiles can be wiped of memory and sent to companies who specialise in reusing their parts
- Batteries, paint, coffee pods and aerosol cans can all be recycled through specific organisations
4. Save Energy
Energy consumption is a significant contributor to greenhouse gas emissions. Energy consumption and costs can be reduced by implementing energy-efficient practices.
- Use flurorescent or LED lightbulbs for less energy consumption
- Install low-flow showerheads and faucets
- Install sensor lights that automatically turn on or off in response to movement
- Where possible, use fans and open windows instead of air conditioning
- Turn off computers and monitors when not in use
5. Small Changes for Big Environmental Impact
If individually we make a few small changes to our own daily lives we can accomplish a lot, as a group.
- Encourage reusable water bottles, coffee cups and lunch containers
- Install a water filter for easy, and clean refilling
- Provide options for eco-friendly products
6. Invest in Good Bins and Labelling
Adopting environmentally friendly waste management practices can help your company save money while also reducing its environmental impact. A truly sustainable business will use a lot of recyclable materials, so make it easy for the team to dispose of things properly by providing separate waste bins for each recycling option. Include a visible label that provides practical guidelines to help encourage and promote recycling.
You can also provide colour-coded bins to accommodate each recycling facility.
7. Educate Employees
To achieve a successful recycling initiative, employees need to be motivated to participate. Reach out and engage with staff members to ensure they are aware of the right way to recycle and what options are available, while also making it simple for them to contribute. Encouraging employee participation and engagement in sustainability initiatives can aid in the creation of a sustainable culture within your organisation. This can include providing sustainability training, forming sustainability teams or committees, and rewarding employees for sustainable practices.
There’s no reason education can’t be fun too, and it’s really worth putting in the effort so that everyone is as enthusiastic as they are educated.
- Create department competitions for the least amount of waste produced per quarter
- Devise a training program which is engaging and informative
- Introduce rewards for achieving recycling goals
Share your efforts towards sustainability with your customers, suppliers, and the larger community. This can help to build a positive brand image and attract customers who are interested in supporting environmentally friendly businesses. You can run a recycling awareness day to help boost the adoption rates of the recycling program. Provide engaging infographics and activities that inspire people’s beliefs and provide a greater understanding of the recycling program.
The day can also be used to educate staff members on the impact of recycling on the environment and the costs associated with waste production.
- Hold games and activities which reinforce the message of recycling
- Invite an expert to present on issues related to recycling
Introducing a recycling program to your sustainable business doesn’t have to be complicated. A few simple changes, introduced over time, can really change the way an entire company views waste management. Boost everyone’s involvement in recycling and help to make a real difference to the environment.