Recycling in Your Business: Is It Worth It?

Published : 8 May 2017

If you're in business, you probably spend a lot of time coming up with money-saving ideas. There must be ways of reducing those costs and overheads, right? Well, one of the most obvious is right under your nose.

Implementing a well planned recycling policy could save you thousands of dollars a year, whilst also boosting your business reputation and helping the environment. Yet too many Australian businesses are missing out on this amazing opportunity to turn waste into cash.

Shocking Landfill Statistics

Here's a scary statistic. SMEs account for around 99% of Australian businesses. And they send around 6 million tonnes of business waste to landfill every year.

When we talk about business waste, we tend to think of major organisations. We label it industry and construction waste. Yet the smallest office-based business can generate a frightening amount of waste - and it's costing them money to dispose of it.

Here are some ways your business can cut its waste:

•    Coffee cups: Most takeaway coffee cups are not recyclable, yet we use around a billion of them every year. Encourage staff to bring in their own mug, and reduce your spending at the same time.
•    Paper: Despite our so-called 'paperless world', we're using tonnes of it every year, and then throwing it away. This can be reduced by making better use of whiteboards and tablets. If you must use paper, recycle!
•    Plastic bottles: Does your office bin end up full of empty water bottles? Why not install a water cooler and supply glasses instead? All those bottles increase your waste costs AND dump thousands of tonnes of plastic into landfill every year. 
•    Mobile Phone/Laptops: These items are filling up our landfill and costing your business money. If you are upgrading, why not resell these devices? Or give them away to a local organisation and boost your reputation in the community.
•    General: Encourage staff to switch off unnecessary lights, turn taps off properly, and reuse/recycle where possible. This will reduce both your buying costs, and waste charges.

Some organisations still see waste as a fixed cost that can't be reduced, and believe recycling will cost them money. They also cite lack of time and staff as a reason. This is not necessarily the case.

Improve Public Perception

Around 76% of SMEs agree that reducing waste and increasing recycling is a positive move for their business, and the environment. And three out of four Australian businesses believe that good waste management improves public perception of their organisation.

If you're serious about making your organisation cleaner and greener - and saving money in the process - consider implementing an ISO 14001 Environmental Management System (EMS). Take it to the next level, by achieving ISO accreditation, and you will reap the rewards.

Research shows that around 81% of organisations that go down this path report actual or potential financial rewards, through savings and new business.

So is a recycling policy worth the time and effort? Absolutely. It will reduce your costs, boost staff morale - which will increase productivity, and improve your reputation - winning you new customers.

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