The myr­iad ways you can re­duce your waste

Monthly Chronicle - - Front Page - Carol War­wick from Planet Ark

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.

• Busi­nessRe­cy­ 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.­sis­tance.

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