Our businesses are drowning in rubbish! The production of waste in the commercial sector is rising at an alarming rate according to government statistics, from 20.8 million tonnes in England in 2013 to 23.6 million tonnes in 2016. That’s an average rise of a million tonnes of rubbish a year! So, what can your business do about a problem that appears to be getting worse?

Reduce, reuse, recycle

It’s a well-known mantra taught in primary schools but it is still one that every business and employee should subscribe to. Make it easy for your staff to recycle the most commonly recyclable materials through training, easily located recycling bins and a clearly defined system in every office and/or key sites across your premises.

Replace

Add to that list of ‘R’s by replacing disposable or recyclable items with reusable ones. This could mean chucking out the cardboard coffee cups in favour of a branded ‘cup for life’ scheme. But also go deeper, interrogate your current suppliers and make sure their packaging and product aligns with your new responsible ethos. If not, ask them why not and look at alternative suppliers if they aren’t willing to change.

Buy local and sustainable

You may well have been using the same supply routes routinely for years, out of sheer convenience. But are they necessarily best for your waste reduction programme? Recycling is only part of the picture and reducing your company’s carbon footprint through a shorter delivery route is a great place to start. Look around for alternatives in your local area – as well as cutting delivery distances you’ll be supporting your local business ecosystem.

Do not dump

Waste can account for 4 % or 5% of a business’s turnover according to the Chartered Institute of Procurement and Supply. And with landfill costs rising, it is now often cheaper to recycle than to bin things. The old belief that recycling is a costly but worthwhile endeavour no longer holds water. Encouraging more items not to get dumped will save you money in the long run.

Engage people

Make a big deal of it – a good recycling record improves your reputation in the local community and can even drive business your way. And by celebrating your staff’s contribution to reducing waste you build a sense of well-being at work. Many employees – particularly those born into or after the millennial generation are far more environmentally engaged. By replicating their own values in the office you could be attracting a higher calibre of employee.

Audit

Take a long hard look at your waste management systems. It’s very easy to fall into bad habits, particularly with routine tasks like recycling – so consider employing an independent adviser to perform a waste audit. They will study your current practice, inspect your facilities and assess how you are disposing of your recycling. A good waste management policy, like the one CSRB offers, will save your business money by establishing best practice and reducing the amount you send to landfill.