In any large company, there is a lot of waste that can be reduced with a few simple changes. The benefits of reducing waste are many-fold. For one, it helps preserve our natural resources and keeps harmful materials out of our landfills and waterways.
It also cuts down on energy use, which reduces greenhouse gas emissions and saves the company money on its utility bills.
But making these changes can be daunting, especially for large companies with complex infrastructures and multiple departments. How do you get started? Where do you begin?
Let’s outline the nine easy steps your company can take to reduce waste and improve efficiency.
Implement a recycling program
Recycling is one of the easiest ways to reduce waste in a company as many materials can be recycled, such as paper, glass, metal, and plastic. And with advances in technology, there are now more options for recycling than ever before.
For instance, companies can recycle paper by turning it into pulp, which can be used to create new products like paper towels, tissue paper, and even clothing.
Setting up a recycling program is simple and there are many resources available to help, such as the Environmental Protection Agency’s Recycling page. This agency provides helpful tips on how to start a recycling program, what materials can be recycled, and where to recycle them.
However, most office buildings can have recycling bins for paper products, which makes it easy to recycle items such as printer paper, notebooks, and file folders.
Reduce paper use
Paper is one of the most commonly wasted materials in offices and businesses as the average office worker uses around 10,000 sheets of paper each year! And while recycling helps reduce some of this waste, the best way to deal with paper is to use less of it in the first place.
There are many ways to reduce paper use in a company. One way is to digitize as much as possible by investing in software that allows employees to do their work electronically instead of on paper or to use a digital job sheet instead of paper-based ones.
Not only will this save paper, but it will also make your company’s work processes more efficient.
Another way to reduce paper waste is to set up a double-sided printing policy where employees are only allowed to print on both sides of the paper. This can be easily enforced by setting up printers to automatically print double-sided or by having IT staff change the settings on all office printers.
Finally, your company can use recycled paper instead of virgin paper, which is made from new trees. Recycled paper uses far less energy and water to produce and creates significantly less pollution than virgin paper.
Invest in energy-efficient equipment
One of the best ways to reduce waste and save money is to invest in energy-efficient equipment which includes everything from office appliances like printers and computers to larger machinery used in manufacturing.
Energy-efficient equipment uses less electricity to run which not only reduces your company’s carbon footprint but also saves you money on your energy bills.
In addition, many utility companies offer rebates or other incentives for businesses that upgrade to energy-efficient equipment. For instance, Southern California Edison offers a variety of incentives for businesses that install energy-efficient equipment, such as HVAC systems, LED lighting, and solar panels.
These rebates can significantly offset the cost of upgrading your company’s equipment.
Reduce water use
Cutting down on water use, which takes a lot of energy and resources to clean and pump, is another great way to reduce waste. There are many ways to reduce water consumption in a business, such as installing low-flow toilets, fixing leaks, and using drought-tolerant landscaping.
Installing low-flow toilets is one of the most effective ways to reduce water use as these can save your company up to 1,000 gallons of water per day! Low-flow toilets work by using less water per flush, which not only saves water but also reduces your company’s water bill.
Additionally, fixing leaks is another easy way to save water as even a small leak can waste hundreds of gallons of water each day. Make sure to check all plumbing fixtures and pipes regularly for leaks and have them repaired as soon as possible.
Finally, using drought-tolerant landscaping is a great way to reduce water consumption as these plants require less water to thrive. Drought-tolerant landscaping can also save your company money on its water bill as well as reduce the amount of time and resources needed to maintain your property.
Replace disposable items with reusable ones
Replacing disposable items with reusable ones includes everything from coffee cups and paper plates to batteries and light bulbs. One of the easiest ways to reduce waste is to switch from disposable coffee cups to reusable mugs or cups.
This small change can make a big difference as each disposable coffee cup ends up in a landfill where it will take hundreds of years to decompose.
In addition, paper plates and napkins can be replaced with reusable plates and silverware. This change not only reduces waste but can also save your company money as reusable items are often cheaper than their disposable counterparts.
This is because you only need to purchase them once and can then use them over and over again.
Finally, switching from disposable batteries to rechargeable ones can be a bit more expensive upfront but will save your company money in the long run as you won’t need to keep purchasing new batteries.
Additionally, rechargeable batteries are better for the environment as they don’t contain toxic chemicals that can leach into the soil and water.
Compost food waste
If your company produces a lot of food waste, then composting is a great way to reduce waste and help the environment. Composting is the process of breaking down organic material, such as fruit and vegetable scraps, coffee grounds, eggshells, and yard waste, into a nutrient-rich soil amendment.
This soil amendment can then be used to fertilize gardens or landscapes, which reduces the need for chemical fertilizers. In addition, composting can also help to reduce methane emissions from landfills as food waste decomposes and releases this potent greenhouse gas.
If your company doesn’t have the space or resources to compost on-site, many commercial composting facilities will pick up your food waste and compost it for you.
Additionally, many cities and towns now have residential food waste pickup programs that your company can participate in. These programs typically collect food waste once a week and take it to a central composting facility.
Invest in solar energy
Investing in solar energy is not only a great way to reduce your company’s carbon footprint and save money on your energy bill, but it can help with poor electric usage and its waste. Solar panels convert sunlight into electricity, which can then be used to power your business.
Good thing is that solar energy is a renewable resource, which means that it will never run out. Additionally, solar panels have very little impact on the environment as they don’t produce emissions or waste.
If you’re interested in investing in solar energy for your business, there are many government incentives and programs that can help offset the cost of installation.
Use LED light bulbs
Furthermore, regarding electric usage and waste management, LED light bulbs use less energy than traditional incandescent bulbs and last much longer, which means that they produce less waste.
LED light bulbs are also more efficient as they convert more of the energy they use into light rather than heat. This makes them a great choice for businesses that are looking to reduce their energy consumption and save money on their electric bill.
Additionally, LED light bulbs don’t contain mercury, which is a toxic substance that can be released into the environment if a bulb breaks. And since LED light bulb has a longer lifespan, fewer bulbs end up in landfills, meaning less waste.
Encourage employees to alternative transportation
Another way to reduce your company’s carbon footprint and energy consumption are to encourage employees to use alternative transportation, such as carpooling, biking, or taking public transportation.
Carpooling can help to reduce traffic congestion and pollution while taking public transportation can save your employees money on gas and parking.
In addition, if your company is located near a bus or train station, you can provide employees with a subsidy to use these forms of transportation.
However, by offering incentives, such as free or reduced-priced parking, for employees who carpool and by installing bike racks to encourage employees to bike to work, you can make it even easier for employees to reduce energy and fuel waste.
As you can see, there are many simple changes that your company can make to reduce waste and help the environment.
By composting food waste, investing in solar energy, using LED light bulbs, and encouraging employees to use alternative transportation, you can make a big impact on reducing your carbon footprint and helping the planet.
On the other hand, your company will see less waste in the form of electric usage, food, and transportation. Not to mention, these changes will also save your company money in the long run.
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