Waste removal is costly and hard on the environment. There is increasing attention being paid to waste removal processes all over the world as it becomes clear that even recycling cannot keep pace with demand.
Population centers, in particular, struggle with waste management. The necessity of moving dumping locations to fresh ground causes issues with waterways and local residences in some instances. Waste removal is everyone’s problem and there is no time like the present to embrace zero waste strategies both at work and at home.
If you are ready to make the switch to a zero-waste business model for your startup, read on to learn more!
What is Zero Waste?
Zero waste means using conservationist approaches to resource management. This can include production, consumption, reuse, and recovery of products. Packaging and materials, as well as resource use, are common areas of focus for startups as well as large corporations following this model.
When zero waste is utilized properly, you will run a business that eliminates waste that would typically be discharged to land, water, or the air. The goal is to make sure that your business runs successfully without impacting the health of the environment, wildlife, or humans.
Ways to Apply Zero Waste to Your Startup
Zero waste is about leveraging the 3 Rs, Reduce, Reuse, and Recycle, effectively in your daily processes at your company. It is often easiest to put these processes in place in smaller business groupings like startups. The adoption of these policies sets a great example for other businesses that have not yet made the switch to more sustainable management and zero waste methodologies.
1. Purchase Responsibly
This is one of the best ways to improve your business processes to move toward zero-waste management styles. You may not have thought about the disposal processes for the items that you are using daily in your office. Likewise, you might not be aware of how much waste product is being disposed of in a month of operation.
To purchase responsibly, you need to identify the products that you are currently using that cannot be recycled or reused. These items need to be replaced with sustainable options that can be recycled or reused wherever possible.
Another area of focus needs to be waste and finding better solutions for your purchasing processes, especially if you find that you are throwing out products each month that are not being used. It is all too common to find that you have been buying too much of certain products only to have them expire before they can be used.
2. Use Printer Policies
Many business owners are shocked when they find out how much waste can be attributed to printer use in an office environment. It is easy to waste multiple sheets of printer paper on jobs that were never meant to be printed or if issues with a print job occur due to formatting or color correction.
This has been less of a concern in recent years as more business processes switched to digital-only modeling. However, you will find that instituting a printer policy that discourages unnecessary use of printer paper can greatly reduce your paper waste each month.
Instigating printer policies will also help with printer ink and printer cartridge waste. Nearly one-half of all printer cartridges currently end up in landfills. Imagine the scope of the benefit that you would be providing to the environment simply by printing less often and using less printer ink!
3. Make Recycle Bins Available
If you want people to recycle, you need to make sure that they can do so with ease. This is one of the biggest stumbling blocks to a zero-waste policy when it is first instituted in many business locations.
No matter how much you discuss recycling and reusing items, you cannot expect your employees to do these processes if you do not provide them with recycling bins in common locations.
These bins do not have to be anything special, but they do need to be present so that employees can dispose of their recyclable items each day without having to take them home or go on the hunt for a recycling option. There is often too much going on during a business day to send your employees on a scavenger hunt for a recycle bin, so it is your duty to make them more accessible in the workplace.
4. Provide Training and Education
While many startup employees will tell you that they are well-versed in recycling processes, the fact remains that many of us have only been given the highest-level overview of proper recycling processes. Schools provide common knowledge about this topic, but many people are unaware of the recycling process or areas in their life where they could be helping to recycle products.
Providing proper education and information to your employees about zero waste and recycling can help them to improve their skills and their daily practices with zero waste in mind. You cannot participate in projects that you do not fully understand, and you owe it to your employees to make sure they understand proper zero waste procedures.
Zero Waste Management in Your Startup Can Make a Big Difference
Zero waste policies and business strategies are becoming increasingly common and they are most effective when deployed in small business arrangements, like startups. Each startup and business that adopts zero waste practices will help with the zero waste goal of creating 90% less waste in landfills.
To be a part of the solution is one of the best feelings in the world. Employees of startups that conform with zero waste principles, in turn, will feel more committed and bonded to their company. Being able to save the world one business day at a time is a realistic goal, with many startups already embracing this new waste management methodology.
There is no time like the present to embrace zero waste strategies and make sure that your startup is making a difference in the health of the environment each day.