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Don’t waste your waste | How to make money from your waste

By Bertie Lourens 14th March 2019 Cost Efficiency

We get it - it’s tough out there. With a national economy in flux, global markets in shift, and climate change banging at the door, there’s no room for a ‘business as usual’ approach to leadership. You have to make your company ultra agile - less hull, more sails - to steer your organisation through tumultuous 21st century change.

Practically, that means you need to save costs and reduce your waste streams, so that both your business and the environment benefit. But how? Glad you asked. Here’s a guide to get you going:

Start with an audit

Look at all the areas where you’re producing waste. How do you dispose of it currently? Could any of it be reused or recycled? Are your business activities as efficient and streamlined as they best can be? From food waste to production processes, leave no stone unturned when conducting an honest, thorough audit of your current practices. Bring in an expert if you’re unsure how you could improve - and believe us, there are often creative solutions you might not have considered.

Get perspective

Have a look at industry guides and see how your company’s performance compares to that of others in your industry. Look for best practice examples to inspire and help you think outside the box when it comes to waste reduction.

Educate, educate, educate

There’s no point implementing a waste reduction campaign if your staff isn’t on board and empowered to run with it. Be sure that a solid communication plan is in place, which involves online educational and marketing tools, as well as regular face to face meetings.

Make a plan

Identify those areas where you spend the most on waste (like energy consumption, raw material usage, waste disposal and so on). Sit with your staff and unpack the strengths and weaknesses of your current methodologies. Maybe old equipment needs upgrading, staff need training, or you’re just applying antiquated, wasteful working practices? Work out a strategy with articulated goals and deadlines, and then begin to apply it with complete company buy-in.

(That plan could include:)

Cutting down on excess packaging

Getting rid of single use packaging can save your company millions. Rather trade in disposables for renewables where you can. Identify the ‘excess’ in your packaging and quantify the incentivising costs you’ll save if you eliminate them from your production cycles.

Recycling your e-waste

Promote e-waste recycling as an incentive in the office. Put out bins where staff are encouraged to bring their old electronics from home or the office, and articulate its financial benefits as part of your broader business strategy to reduce waste costs.

Managing your organic waste

If you’re serious about moving towards zero waste, you have to get serious about recycling your organic, or compostable, waste. Food waste from canteens and pause areas can easily be composted on site, and the finished compost can be used in the company gardens and pot plants.

And lastly…

Think entrepreneurially

Within your various waste streams, there are money-making gaps abound. Whether it’s your food waste, e-waste, or other inorganic materials that can be sold off for recycling, there are ample opportunities to profit from third party partnerships with your waste management provider.


Interested to know more? Book a consultation session with our team of experts to learn how you can streamline your waste streams and financially benefit from your savings.


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Bertie Lourens

Author Bertie Lourens

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