The myriad ways you can reduce your waste
Over 75% of businesses believe that reducing waste is part of being a sustainable and ethical business, new Planet Ark and Environmental Protection Agency research reveals.
But there’s also the perception that they’re doing all they can to manage their waste, that there may be little benefit in doing more, or that they don’t have the knowledge to improve their waste and recycling practices.
Not true! Here are some simple tips on how to get business recycling sorted in your workplace, and what can be recycled responsibly.
Start small and easy
Change can be challenging, but research shows if people are willing to commit to a small, easy change, they’re more likely to come on board with bigger changes later.
Try simple things like encouraging colleagues to switch off their computer at night, collect cardboard for recycling, or bring reusable coffee cups to work.
Use the group
Humans are social creatures so our behaviour is influenced by our friends, family, and co-workers. So when encouraging colleagues to adopt new recycling practices, highlight that the desired behaviour (e.g. reading from the screen rather than printing) is a common one that everyone else is doing.
Positive reinforcement helps, so a message like ‘Thanks to everyone for recycling’ will be more effective than ‘Everyone keeps putting the wrong things in the recycling bin.’
Hit ‘ em where it hurts
In business nobody likes losing money, and research shows the human brain feels the pain of current loss more than the joy of future change, so loss aversion can be a good strategy.
Telling a CEO: “We’re wasting $300 a week on skip bin collections,” is much more powerful than ‘We could save $300 a week by changing our bin collection’, because it emphasises a cost the organisation could avoid.
Send the right signs
Clear communication is crucial when introducing any new recycling process to a workplace. Workers need to understand what’s changing, how it affects them, and what’s expected of them. Concise and informative signage is one of the strongest tools you have to encourage appropriate recycling behaviour.
More help is at hand
• The Business Case for Less Waste is a new Planet Ark resource which explains the savings to be made from improved recycling practices at work, and provides step-by-step tips for introducing a business recycling strategy to a workplace.
• BusinessRecycling.com.au provides online and phone information and service listings to help businesses reduce waste, and includes details on where specific material types can be recycled across Australia.
• Bin Trim is a free Excel tool developed by the NSW EPA for SMEs to measure their waste and provides tailored information to help reduce, reuse and recycle materials.
• Businesses can find out about eligibility for various environmental grants at: www.business. gov.au/assistance.