Business wouldn’t be business without financial goals. A thoughtful waste management plan saves companies money and doesn’t add to expenses. There are plenty of simple ways companies can reduce their waste disposal bills and decrease their carbon footprint even without investing in new equipment or hiring more staff. But, sometimes, it’s worth paying higher upfront costs on certain items and services if it’ll boost productivity and slash bills in the long run.
As you’ll see, cutting costs isn’t always the best option. In this chapter, you’ll learn how businesses can cut down on waste and save. We’ll also discuss reasons to spend if it means an improved waste management plan.
There’s no better way to say it — waste management in itself saves money. It’s pretty simple.
If you create less waste, you spend less on waste removal. Even small changes add up and make a difference.
For example, according to The New York Times, the cereal company General Mills shrank its box sizes. By doing so, the company saved 890,000 pounds of paper fiber and drastically reduced transportation costs. Likewise, Kraft decreased its dressing bottle size to reduce its weight by almost 19 percent. This boosts shipping efficiency by 18% and saves over 1,300 tons of plastic each year. All of this translates to substantial savings.
No matter the size of your business, you can take an eco-friendly approach to waste management, which will reduce the amount of waste you produce and related disposal costs. Overall, waste reduction is the biggest way to save. With that said, here are more tips to help you decrease waste and removal expenses:
As mentioned in Chapter 1, if you reduce, reuse and recycle whenever possible, you’ll save on waste disposal costs. Disposal should be the last resort for waste.
According to the United States Public Interest Research Group (U.S. PIRG), over half of America’s garbage is recyclable or reusable. For example, municipal garbage includes 26% paper products, 6% wood and nearly 13% plastic — all items that can be recycled.
The manufacturing and construction industries are not much different when it comes to tossing out recyclable materials. For example, up to 12% of construction waste is cardboard.
The majority of waste is recyclable or compostable, yet only a small percentage of it actually gets recycled. Here are reasons to focus on improving recycling in your facility:
How much money can you save by recycling? Let’s look at Vermont as an example. Vermont started a Pay as You Throw (PAYT) program, which requires residents to pay to dispose of trash by weight or volume. Only six months after the town of Vernon started PAYT, it slashed its average weekly garbage amount in half. The town expects to save $140,00 a year due to PAYT.
Recycling can be simple. The first step is identifying departments in your facility that need improvement and then make it easy for employees to recycle by placing labeled bins in accessible areas. Encourage workers to recycle everyday materials such as:
In an office setting, you’ll often find recyclable materials in the form of:
In a manufacturing setting, you’ll find recyclables in:
It also saves to buy recycled products. For instance, a division of American Airlines saved over $100,000 by switching to recycled paper, according to Harvard Business Review. You can also save money by purchasing recycled materials, such as recycled aluminum. Here are recycled and refurbished supplies you might buy for your business:
Cutting costs isn’t always worth it in business. For example, saving money by purchasing lower quality equipment may not be the best long-term investment due to waste generation and inefficiency.
On the contrary, high-quality equipment can reduce the need to buy replacement parts and may be easier and less costly to maintain.
You might also consider investing in solar panels, which can potentially save you thousands of dollars over time. It’s also worth investing in employee education and training to spread awareness about the importance of recycling and waste reduction.
Lastly, using the services of a trusted and environmentally responsible waste disposal company minimizes risks and can save your company time, money and waste. A dependable company like ERC consolidates your disposal and recycling process into a single stress-free process.