Zero Waste Business & The Future

Zero Waste Business & The Future

Zero Waste Business And The Future

The cost for waste disposal grows yearly and so do “green” demands and the environment-friendly culture and customers worldwide.

Reduce_Waste.jpg

Thus, large, medium, and small businesses search for ways to reduce the volume of unwanted by-products and unusable leftovers regardless of nature and type.

Before we dive into the essence of the zero waste business philosophy, let’s look at a few graphs to get an up-to-date idea of where it comes and where it’s headed. 

We use Google Trends to get an idea of the big picture. 

If we look back at the time of the last economic crisis starting around 2007, we see the birth, rise, and steady growth of consumer interest in zero-waste ethics and practices:

Zero_Waste_Google_Trends.jpg

Source: Google Trends

And here’s the growing trend on the side of business & supply:

Zero_Waste_Business.jpg

Source: Google Trends

As you can see for yourself, escaping pollution and rubbish make lucrative sense for businesses of all types and sizes. That’s why companies big or small should and aim at investments in zero-waste solutions or at least zero-landfill (picture the graph and come back to it when you get the full guide).

9_Steps_to_Landfill_Free.jpg

We’ll get back to this in a minute.

First, What is a Zero-waste Business?

The zero-waste business design is to function without the systematic production of waste and toxic materials. 

The main goal of any company should be to conserve and reuse resources, thus achieving sustainable processes and growth. A business with zero-waste policies eliminates discharges to land, water, and air that are a threat to the ecosystem, wildlife, and human population. Gains expand to both nature and turnover, comments dumpster professional Luke Hancock from Bin There Dump That (USA).

So, Should You Run a Zero-waste Business?

To run a zero-waste business comes with a huge range of benefits. It cuts down your costs of waste disposal, taxes, and complications connected with the regulatory release of harmful emissions generated by waste. 

Zero-waste companies brand and market themselves as “Green Businesses”, which raises both the value perception of products or services offered along with strong customer service grown to experience. This is not only eco-friendly but nourishes strong customer loyalty, often up to advocacy. 

Most people won’t but many look for actual proof of “green” operations for a business they are open or want to support. 

It’s a fact that sustainable companies earn the trust of customers, partners, and support from local communities. According to Escape Waste creator and zero-waste enthusiast Antonia Ko, investment in eco-friendly and zero-waste activities can play a role bigger than traditional marketing campaigns. 

Zero-waste to Zero-landfill

Along with “zero-waste”, you have “zero-landfill”. Let’s take a second look:

9_Steps_to_Landfill_free.jpg

If a company achieves sustainability, zero-landfill can give a cutting-edge advantage over any competition. If a company eliminates the output of waste in a production process and thus improve material flow, you will lower the overall cost for business, not to mention opportunities for an integrated strategy for both production and marketing - a combo set for growth!

Steps to Achieve Zero-waste Offices

To achieve zero a waste business, 

  1. Analyze the Current Stream of Waste & Disposal
  2. Appoint a Waste Management Employee or a Team of The Month
  3. Start Slow and Gradually Build Momentum
  4. Set Specific Goals for Waste Reduction
  5. Engage Employees in a Zero Waste System
  6. Establish Strategies for Waste Prevention and Reduction

Now let’s have a granular look at each step:

1. Analyze the Current Stream of Waste & Disposal

To begin with, you must define a baseline to track your future progress. 

To do so: 

  • Analyze current waste generation within the company. 
  • Identify volume, type, and source of trash.
  • Figure if employees handle waste the right way. 
  • Install multiple bins for recyclable materials 
  • Position recycling bins for optimal waste diversion. 

For example: if a trash bin is conveniently closer than a far away bin for recyclables, workers are more likely to throw away recyclable materials into the garbage.

The idea here is better understanding of how waste flows and how your business generates it.

2. Appoint a Waste Management Employee or a Team of The Month 

Based on the size of your company, we recommend assembling a team or designating a single employee to monitor the current company state, to set goals, and implement sustainable plans. Such employees are effective in improving communication and dedication in all small, medium, or large businesses. 

To be certain that initiatives are on track, use the classic project management approach and tools.

Related: How Artificial Intelligence Can Revolutionize Waste Management

3. Start Slow and Gradually Build Momentum

After you analyze the flow of waste, your next steps are to: 

  • Sort out items to trash right away. 
  • Discuss with staff which materials they throw away on a regular basis. 
  • Check if they are reusable, recyclable, or compostable.
  • Divert resources to their adequate destination immediately.

Zero_Waste_Hierarchy.jpg

Source: Unsustainable Magazine

Another easy step towards a greener business operation is to reduce energy consumption: 

  • Switch off unused lights.
  • Upgrade to more low energy bulbs. 
  • Keep windows and doors closed to increase the efficiency of your HVAC system.
  • Shut down electronics at the end of the day and during holidays.

4. Set Specific Goals for Waste Reduction

Have in mind that some goals take more time to realize than others. 

Request suppliers to switch towards eco-friendly, reusable packages and help prevent waste build-up.

Have in mind it might take a few months to coordinate and achieve. It could take much longer to change your production line to include refurbished and recycled goods.

Read also: Top Ways That You Can Make Your Business More Environmentally Friendly 

5. Engage Employees in a Zero Waste System

Set goals for you and your employees and follow strategies to help people cut waste. 

When implementing new policies, one of the most important steps is to engage employees in recycling at work. The point of view should switch from waste reduction to conservation of resources. Encourage employees to take a stand!

A key factor towards a zero-waste transformation is to raise employee awareness alongside preparation and resources. 

  • Challenge employees to design a poster to raise awareness. 
  • Implement gamification to praise people that find new ways to take the company a step closer to sustainability. 
  • Organize out-of-office initiatives, like planting trees, or cleaning nearby areas from pollution.

Give incentives for participants engaged in zero waste programs.

6. Establish Strategies for Waste Prevention and Reduction

Now that you have goals for waste reduction, apply the right plan of action to achieve them. 

The three most important steps to undertake are: 

  1. waste prevention. 
  2. waste diversion. 
  3. waste reduction. 

These are difficult to achieve and do require the joined efforts of both business and suppliers you work with.

Techniques proven to reduce % waste:

  • Cut your carbon footprint and increase energy efficiency: Take measures to reduce your energy consumption on a company level. Switch off equipment or lights that are not in use and install motion sensors. Consider the use of green energy providers or install solar panels for clean energy production. Upgrade door and window seals. Switch off HVAC when no staff is not present to optimize efficiency and electrical waste. Explore innovative green plumbing solutions to reduce waste of water.
  • Put reusable packages into use: Packaging materials have a major role in waste generation throughout industries and the globe. Contact your suppliers and demand a switch to reusable alternatives. Ask for waste management programs aimed at packaging gathered on a company level.
  • Anaerobic digestion and composting: These methods play a major part in zero waste transformation for many businesses. Anaerobic digestion and composting are beneficial for a lot of companies that look to redirect waste from lunchrooms and kitchens like paper towels and leftover food.
  • Segment recycled and natural: Through the use of natural and recycled materials, a lot of companies promote zero waste and the overall demand for “green” materials. This upkeeps financial viability of recycled goods and cuts down demands for virgin materials. Have in mind that in most cases, recycled materials are more budget-friendly than new and raw materials.
  • Redesign products and equipment: Extend zero waste goals from landfill diversion to cutting waste in production lines and product consumption. Increasingly more products have prolonged cycles of reuse of ongoing design that is recyclable. An excellent example are compostable product packages or the idea to offer “product as a service”. The last one is perfect for durable products that customers could return to the manufacturer for a refurbishment after they no longer need or use.

Business, Zero waste, Final words

In conclusion, zero waste is an achievement that embraces much more than just waste diversion, but to reach that achievement, diversion might be just the perfect place from which to start your initiative.

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  • Sofia Pereira

    No more waste

  • Tina Fenton

    Environmental awareness is on the rise

  • Rob Smith

    Thanks Dimitar, God bless you :)

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Dimitar Karamarinov

Digital Marketing Expert

Dimitar Karamarinov is an award-winning digital multi-instrumentalist coming into practice as early as 2006. Over a decade of audio, graphic, visual design, along with versatile know-how of business, marketing and communication. Dimitar grows experience with Entrepreneur Franchise 500, Inc 5000 and multi-continent brands under his belt. 

   

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