Zero waste may be a term you have heard recently in the business world, but what does it really mean and what are the benefits for your business, your customers and the environment? In this article, we'll look into how small businesses can achieve zero waste and pave the way for a greener and more prosperous future.
What Does Zero Waste Mean?
Zero waste is a term used to describe the complete elimination of waste created by homes and businesses. To achieve zero waste, you need to ensure that no waste created by your business ends up in landfill and that you are doing all you can to recycle, reuse and reduce. This may involve recycling materials, donating usable waste to charity or simply changing the way you operate your business. Not only can a zero waste philosophy benefit the environment, but it can also save your business money.
The Benefits of Zero Waste
There are many benefits to becoming a zero waste small business, including:
- Growing a sustainable and profitable business: when you work towards zero waste your business will naturally create more green jobs, reduce costs associated with waste management and attract customers looking to work with environmentally friendly companies.
- Connecting people and communities: zero waste initiatives can unite businesses with communities, create valuable partnerships and promote the sharing of materials.
- Protecting the environment: when you reduce the amount of waste that you send to landfill or to be incinerated, you automatically support cleaner air by reducing greenhouse gas emissions. The impact on both local green spaces and the planet as a whole can be quite significant.
How to Create a Zero Waste Campaign
Achieving zero waste may seem daunting at first, but if you take the right approach slowly and surely, you will find that you'll soon have your business on a greener pathway.
Assess How You Currently Manage Waste
The first step in achieving zero waste is to evaluate the waste your business is currently producing and how it is generated. Start with the small things such as assessing what you can recycle and providing recycling bins across your business. Look at the amount and type of packaging you use, how you work with materials and even the suppliers you use so that you can choose companies with similar green credentials to yours.
Set Your Own Zero Waste Goals
Once you have assessed how you currently produce and deal with waste, you can start to set some zero waste objectives. Keeping a note of your progress and setting a clear timeline can help you to get employees involved and also communicate your goals and progress to your customers. Consider using social media and other channels to promote your zero waste mission.
Create an Action Group
Without the right planning and monitoring, there is a chance that your zero waste initiatives could amount to nothing. It's one thing saying you are going to do something and quite another to actually do it. This is where a zero waste action group can prove so valuable. You could assign suitable employees to the group, or ask employees to volunteer. Employees that work with waste every day and know your business can often have some great ideas on how to reduce, reuse and recycle.
Consider a Professional Waste Audit
Reducing waste can be a big job, and if your small business is busy it can often be difficult to find the time and the expertise to get started. This is where a professional waste audit could save you time and effort and help you to get your zero waste campaign off the ground.
A Rewarding Journey
Achieving zero waste may seem like a long journey, but the rewards for your business, your customers and the environment can be huge. The most important thing is that you take those first steps. Your plan may not be perfect to start with, but with the right planning and adjustment along the way, your business will start heading in the right direction.