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5 ways to help your business limit waste

business-articles5 ways to help your business limit waste
A quarter of the UK’s 177m tonnes of annual waste is said to be generated by business, while 4% of a company’s turnover is said to be on waste management. So taking steps to limit waste can benefit both the planet and your bottom line.
 
Zero waste is something we should all be striving for, in both our professional and personal lives, but it can’t always be feasible, or economical, especially in the business world. But what we can all do, is to significantly improve waste management and strive to reduce single-use items, reuse what we can, and recycle what we cannot.
 
We will take a look at how small changes from removing single-use plastic cups in the break room, to huge shifts in logistics when it comes to reusable packaging between factories.
 
 

Audit your waste

The first step towards helping your business limit waste is by auditing your workplace and finding out where and how much waste your business is creating.
 
This will involve sorting your business’ waste into different categories and determining where it is originating from.
 
You may find that certain parts of the business are producing the bulk of your waste and you can net a quick win with targeted revisions to your waste disposal policy.
 
Once you have completed you audit you will need to look at what steps can be taken to reduce your waste for which you should follow the waste hierarchy:
 
  1. Reduce – The single most important thing you can do to reduce waste if to reduce the amount being made in the first place.
  2. Reuse – Try and eliminate any single-use items and see if there is any way you could reuse any items which are being thrown away.
  3. Recycle – The final step is to recycle any items which you can reuse. Ensure employees are aware of what is recyclable and the correct disposal location.
 
Following these steps in the order listed should help to massively reduce the waste you are sending to landfill. However if you want to reduce your waste even further, there are additional steps you can take.
 
 

Eliminate single-use plastics

One of the easiest and most cost-effective ways to reduce waste in your business is to remove or cut down single-use plastics. Instead of providing plastic cups in the break rooms or bottled water in meetings, provide a water fountain or reusable water bottles.
 
Assess other business essentials and how switching suppliers could cut down on single-use plastics. When it comes to printer toner, check with the supplier to see if they provide a send-back scheme for empties or refills. Milk deliveries could be in glass bottles rather than plastic.
 
Environmentally friendly cleaning supplies is another area that can help reduce plastics. By sourcing local cleaning suppliers who provide refillable containers as well as switching to biodegradable cleaning wipes can significantly cut down on plastic waste.
 
 

Reduce packaging

One of the biggest contributors to waste in developed countries comes from packaging alone. On top of that, unsustainable packaging contributes to 90% of environmental damage from consumer-packaged companies.
 
Assess the packaging used within your business and if it is possible to replace single-use containers with reusable plastic. Pepsi was able to save $44m from switching out corrugated cardboard to plastic shipping pallets.
 
It all comes down to assessing what is possible for your business and looking at longer-lasting solutions. Reducing single-use packaging might be more costly to begin with, but the environmental benefits, and long-term savings, will more than make up for it.
 
 

Go paperless

The most prominent waste item in business is paper. Accounting for 25% of municipal waste in the US, and even as high as 80% of office-based businesses. Going paperless would not just cut down on waste, but could also save your businesses thousands.
 
A relatively simple change can be to print less, and if print outs are needed, print double sided. Going paperless goes a long way in not just reducing your business’ footprint, but saving on paper costs.


Compost

Over 1/3 of all food produced in the world goes to waste. In the UK alone, 9.5m tonnes of food is thrown away each year. With the majority of food waste ending in landfills, and while organic matter does break down, it doesn’t without a cost. When organic matter breaks down, it releases methane into the atmosphere, a major contributor to global warming.
 
Organic waste also greatly contributes to the waste stream of your business. By implementing a robust composting program in your business, you could save money in the long-term by ensuring food waste doesn’t end up in landfills. If composting isn’t possible within your business, then by providing your employees with freezers to allow better food storage options.
 
Regardless of the industry, every business can look at how reducing waste not only will you be promoting a more environmentally conscious company, which will inspire your employees, but will also significantly save the business money across the board.
 
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Currencies Direct

Currencies Direct is one of Europe's leading non-bank providers of currency exchange and international payment services. Since we were formed in 1996, we've maintained our focus on providing innovative foreign exchange and international currency transfer services to corporations of all sizes, online sellers and private individuals. We have also expanded our services to provide dynamic and pioneering "business to business" solutions to help companies, tier 2/3 banks and other non-bank financial institutions to process their international payments. Our headquarters are in the City of London (United Kingdom) and we have operations in continental Europe, Africa, Asia, and the United States. Currencies Direct is jointly owned by private equity firms Palamon Capital Partners and Corsair Capital.

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