Waste generation has increased dramatically around the world in the past couple of years. Unfortunately, there are no signs of it slowing down. The rubbish we generate is detrimental to our health and the environment. Air, soil, water, and wildlife are all affected.
Every year, we produce millions of tons of waste. Given that less than 20% of that waste is recycled, immense quantities are still sent to landfill sites. To move to a circular economy, we all need to change the way we manage and process our waste.
Many companies are pushing for a sustainable future, although they’re facing tough economic conditions. They want to send zero waste to the landfill. Zero net waste isn’t a dream but an attainable sustainability goal for companies and their employees.
In this consumption-driven society, it looks like that’s simply impossible. Even if it requires a substantial commitment, it’s possible to achieve zero waste to landfill. Take Unilever as an example. The organization achieved its zero waste to landfill goal in 2016, 6 years ahead of schedule. Unilever sends zero non-hazardous waste to landfill across more than 600 sites.
What Does It Mean to Be Zero Waste?
Zero waste is a goal that challenges individuals to change their habits and practices to mimic sustainable natural cycles, where all discarded materials become resources for others. As more and more people are becoming environmentally conscious, businesses are doing the same.
They strive to eliminate waste from their activities completely, both with suppliers and customers. Zero net waste isn’t an all-or-nothing approach. In reality, the process is gradual, slow, and imperfect. Even with the most efficient system in place, some things inevitably end up in the landfill at one point or another.
Zero waste in the landfill seeks to amplify recycling, minimize waste, limit consumption, and make sure that products are used again or repaired, and waste is turned back into natural resources. It’s not expensive to implement.
Even if this is sometimes true, we’ve witnessed many examples of companies taking steps towards the goal that resulted in a cost benefit. Achieving zero waste requires management commitment because it impacts every facet of the business.
Business leaders, whether they run a small shop or a multinational, should introduce initiatives aimed at championing zero waste and engaging employees.
Recycling and conscientious waste management remain core to achieving zero waste to the landfill. The standard waste management system pollutes the environment, which is why we need an improved and more efficient one. The large volume of waste creates pressure on waste management.
To deal with large and complex waste in business, leaders can resort to different sized balers and compactors. This can really help simplify waste management and offer a business greater confidence. If currently implemented, zero waste will bring about a world free of unused or discarded materials.
Zero Waste Is an Essential Building Block to Creating a More Sustainable Business
You’re probably wondering why you should implement a zero-waste policy for your business. The answer is simple, really. Because you can. Effective waste management makes a difference when it comes to business operations, the environment, and, most importantly, your bottom line.
Nobody expects you to go to zero waste overnight. You’ll have a long way to go to zero waste. Nonetheless, if you take a greener stance, you can accelerate business growth. Reduce waste progressively and proactively. Being a zero waste business has several benefits.
It Can Save Your Business the Cost of Waste Management and Disposal
Get a good idea of your waste streams – what you throw away, what you recycle, and so on. You could switch to paperless processes. Once you’ve eliminated unnecessary sources of waste, you can move toward reducing the volume and associated costs of remaining waste.
For instance, if your business produces a constant stream of cardboard, you can use a baler for compaction. You’ll be surprised to learn that you can make a profit from your waste. Cardboard is a valuable commodity to recycle. Increase the efficiency of your waste management system by weighing your bales.
You Can Enhance Your Brand Image and Engage in CSR Activities
4 out of 5 people prefer to buy from a brand with a positive approach to environmental sustainability. Young consumers, in particular, are concerned about the way they interact with the world they live in.
Not only are they more likely to adopt sustainable lifestyles, but also they judge companies that don’t align with their philosophy. Working towards producing less waste is good for the planet, but it’s good for business too. You’ll get positive recognition from clients and prospective customers.
By taking responsibility for the waste you produce, you reflect your commitment to the well-being of communities and society. You show people that you care about the environment and you’re willing to implement positive change.
As a business, you have a large carbon footprint, regardless of size. Any step that you can take to reduce your carbon footprint is good for both the company and society.
Building Improvements in Your Company Culture Can Help Retain Talent
Building a culture of sustainability is useful in terms of talent retention. A growing body of evidence suggests that job seekers are attracted to organizations that place emphasis on sustainability. Therefore, engage your current employees in green initiatives by nominating recycling representatives.
Another thing you could do is create a new position for a zero waste consultant, who is responsible for bridging (eco)logical thinking with (eco)nomical doing. Don’t focus on quick wins. If there’s a big opportunity and it’s worth it, spend time working on it.
All in all, eliminating waste can be achieved in several ways. Advanced technology makes it possible to overcome even the toughest of challenges. Here are some proven waste reduction approaches.
- Enhance energy efficiency and reduce your carbon footprint.
- Use reusable packaging.
- Throw your food into a compost.
- Consider redesigning some products and equipment.
Going zero waste requires a firm commitment from everyone in the organization. Set clear goals and achieve the best results for the environment and your customers.