3 handy tips
A guide to reducing waste in your company
It would be hard to create a working environment with no waste at all – but we can certainly keep it to a minimum. After all, we know that reducing waste conserves resources and protects both people and the environment.
But how can we do this? This article provides 3 practical tips on how to reduce waste and explains how a waste management officer can help with this task.
3 handy tips for reducing waste at your company
Where in the company could we reduce waste? The short answer: everywhere! Here you can find out about the different options for reducing waste, how to choose the right methods for you and how to measure their success.
How can you avoid waste in all areas of your company?
- Use returnable pallets rather than non-returnable ones.
- Arrange with your suppliers to return packaging to them, which can then ideally be reused.
- Ask your suppliers and producers to deliver products to you without outer packaging.
- Offer any leftover materials to other businesses.
Canteens and office kitchens
- Replace individual portions of sugar, jam, ketchup etc. with economy packs and use dispensers so that people can help themselves.
- Opt for drinks in returnable bottles where possible.
- Donate leftover food rather than throwing it away.
Product design and production
Develop products that:
- Use as little energy as possible during their production and across their entire lifecycle.
- Can be manufactured from recycled materials and renewable resources.
- Do not require or generate any substances that are harmful to the environment during their manufacture.
- Require less packaging, or packaging that uses less resources.
- Can be used for as long as possible and are easy to repair.
Can be recycled at the end of their product life, or have parts that can be reused.
- Before you replace broken devices, see if you can get them repaired.
- Sell or donate devices and materials that you no longer need.
- If you are replacing furniture, consider donating the old furniture to a local charity.
- Avoid printed handouts at meetings and presentations; instead, opt for digital solutions such as PowerPoint and wipe-clean presentation boards (white boards, etc.).
- Digitalise your processes and make it a general rule that you don’t print out documents. Less paper means less files and paper clips too.
- Where paper can’t be avoided, use 100 % recycled paper.
- Choose printers and photocopiers with refillable toner and ink cartridges.
- Plan in advance so that you can buy exactly the right quantities.
- Ask suppliers about returnable packaging schemes and large containers.
- Purchase cleaning fluids and other liquids in refillable canisters.
- Choose work materials free from environmentally hazardous substances such as heavy metals (chromium, cadmium, lead), solvents and chlorinated hydrocarbons.
- Opt for products with environmental labels.
- Invest in high-quality equipment that can be used many times over.
- Avoid disposable items such as screen cleaning wipes and disposable dust wipes.
What methods will work for you?
By now, you’ll probably have plenty of ideas for reducing waste at your company. But before you start putting these into practice, you should assess each measure critically. Take into account these three criteria:
- Practicality: How feasible is this measure? Who should be involved in implementing it? How can this be integrated into the company’s day-to-day work?
- Costs: What costs will be associated with the measure? Is the company prepared to make this investment?
- Effect: Will it really help the environment? Could there be any unwanted side effects?
How can you gauge the success of the measures you take?
If you and your staff have a clear target for waste management, this motivates everybody to continue implementing the chosen measures in the long term. The most obvious way of measuring the success of a waste reduction measure is to calculate how much it has actually reduced the amount of waste.
But how can you measure this? One method is to regularly check how full your waste bins are and log this information. You could also look at how the percentage of recyclable materials has increased.
Sustainability brings a range of benefits for your company. However, there are also some pitfalls you should be aware of when implementing sustainability measures.
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