Earlier this year we touched on this subject and proposed a few ways to repurpose or reduce your waste. And not surprisingly, it’s part of a greater conversation that’s gaining force around the coffee and board room table. Clients and prospective partners are saying, ‘we’re getting the basics of good waste management right - but how do we ensure our carbon footprint keeps getting lighter every year?’
We think that’s a very good question. So in light of this growing aspiration, we offer you a fresh list of 7 ways to repurpose or reduce your waste in the upcoming year.
1. Get clued up
First of all, you need to understand the bigger picture of today’s world of waste management - what is required and where you stand to benefit. There is a slew of new legislation which will inevitably impact the way your organisation manages and disposes of its waste. The more informed you are on the legal front, the faster you can innovate and stay compliant. To successfully navigate the shifting legal landscape, we recommend you contact us or our friends at GCX Africa.
2. Interrogate your systems
Question how you are doing things; interrogate the systems that make your company cogs spin. Look at your supply chain - are there manufacturing redundancies or excess elements that your company can go without? Maybe there are changes you can make to your packaging? Switching from single use packaging to reusable material, for example, could possibly save your business millions. Look at issues like transportation and waste disposal costs. Then bring in the professionals to help you reimagine a more streamlined, cost effective and greener way forward.
3. Widen the recycling scope
We say it every month: if you want to reduce your waste and add resilience to your brand and bottom line, increase your recycling streams. Your company’s aim should be to extract as much value as possible from your waste. There’s no better way to do this than by identifying materials within the cradle-to-grave cycle that can be re-imagined and re-routed into a circular economy. Materials like e-waste and organics should not be disposed to landfill, but should be recycled.
4. Separate at the source
This point cannot be emphasised enough. If you want to effectively reduce and recycle your waste streams, your waste needs to be separated at source. It’s there, at ground zero of waste generation, that the potential value of your recyclables can be identified and extracted, and re-directed for new purposes. Remember, waste separation at source can potentially divert up to 90% of all waste to landfill - a reality that translates into great savings for your business.
5. Shave off your energy bill
When it comes to your electricity bill, there is usually room to improve and cut down on consumption. Your choice of lighting, for example, is a good place to start. You can save significantly by switching to LED and fluorescent lights, along with UID lights for large spaces. Old equipment can be replaced by energy star rated equipment. Definitely consider the long term savings you would enjoy by investing in solar heating systems in sunny South Africa. The point being, with a bit of effort and ingenuity, you most probably can lower your energy consumption and scale down on your electricity expenses. The key factor here will be to cultivate a culture of shared responsibility, so that everyone owns the problem - and the solution - together.
6. Track your progress
Waste management is an ever-evolving industry, so it’s vital you know exactly where your company stands on the sustainability front. Having a reliable, real time tracking and reporting system will enable your organisation to harness insights and make changes accordingly. WastePlan offers an on-site solution to record waste, track recyclables and share information as needed.
7. Make it a team effort
Any measure of long-term success, will depend on the degree to which your team collectively owns the vision and responsibility, to do business in a sustainable way. Ultimately your message must inspire change, not just measure it. The more that you can communicate your reasons beyond bottom line savings - reasons that include ecological and social purpose - the more you will naturally galvanise support and enthusiasm. This means that clear and regular communication is key; collaboration and conversations across company lines are vital to the buy-in process. Changing waste habits on a macro scale begins with micro change within the organisation’s culture.
Did you like what you have read here? Interested to get your hands on more resources to help make the change? Download our Waste Management and Recycling book to learn more about smart waste management in today’s business world.