Productivity Social Responsibility

3 Ways Your Small Business can Go Greener

Written by Sarah Smith

Does your small business operate a recycling scheme? Or do you throw everything in the waste bin because it’s the easiest and cheapest option?

In light of World Environment Day recently hitting our calendars, here’s a few ways your business can benefit from an effective recycling scheme.

The Small to Medium Business

As shown in the 2018 Australian Bureau of Statistics report, across Australia, small to medium enterprises (SMEs), account for 98% of all business activity, employ over 4.8 million people, and produce around 35% of GDP. They also contribute a large amount towards the 6.5 million-tonnes of business waste generated annually.

A Greener World

We all want to see our businesses as sustainable and ethical. People are no longer just interested in the finished product. They want to know where the materials are sourced, whether the product  was produced in a sweatshop, and the impact its production has on increasing greenhouse gases.

A new study released by HP and Planet Ark has revealed that over 90% of Australians are concerned about the environment and sustainability. While a growing number of Australian business owners, in fact more than 70% during 20062018, believe an efficient manufacturing and waste management system will increase public perception of their business and improve their green credentials.

Over 50% of small businesses, also believe that being able to promote themselves as an environmentally aware company gives them an increased edge over the competition when tendering for new contracts or entering new partnerships.

Investing in the Future

Recycling shouldn’t be viewed as an expense, but as an investment in the future of your business and of Australia.  Many small enterprises maintain it’s cheaper to dispose of all their waste to landfill, rather than pay the cost of emptying a recycling bin. In places like the UK and other European countries, the tax of tipping to landfill has increased exponentially, to push businesses into recycling greater amounts of waste. Eventually, similar landfill tax increases will find their way into the Australian system, as the worldwide push to save the environment gathers momentum.

In a recent survey, over 75% of employees who worked for a business committed to recycling, believed they were a part of ethically responsible business, and felt more committed to their employer. Company bosses also believe their green credentials help with recruiting and retaining of more dedicated employees.

Effective recycling means efficient waste management

Efficient recycling is not just a matter of ordering several yellow-top bins. Organising an effective recycling strategy should be approached in the same way as arranging your manufacturing processes. All employees should be actively involved, from the company boss to the shop floor cleaner.

  1. All waste products from all processes should be regularly monitored. At least weekly, and preferably daily. Once a clear idea of what is going to waste is established, an effective recycling strategy from the top to the bottom can be put in place.
  2. Do your incoming raw materials require all that shrink-wrap? Discuss things with your supplier. Do your manufactured products need all that extra packaging? Your customers and clients won’t thank you for it, they have to dispose of it. Can you adjust your manufacturing processes to reduce production waste?
  3. Get away from single-use products. Use refillable printer cartridges. Many companies will take your empty ones to be refilled. Use office paper and cardboard packaging that has been recycled from sustainable sources.
  4. Take the time to source your recycling companies. There are still firms out there that, depending on the materials, will remove your recyclable waste at no charge.

With your new recycling/waste management strategy in place, you can begin advertising your achievements. Add recycling signage and logo to company buildings, websites, letterheads, vehicles, lab coats and overalls. With the planet’s population increasing, so will manufacturing, production, and servicing requirements.

The need for effective recycling is going to become more acute if we are to reduce the polluting of our lands and waterways. As other countries have gone before, the time is not that far away when efficient recycling won’t be an option, but a requirement.

Why wait?  Make your business more environmentally friendly today, and enjoy the benefits of being a cleaner, greener enterprise.

“The opinions expressed by BizWitty Contributors are their own, not those of BizCover and should not be relied upon in place of appropriate professional advice. Please read our full disclaimer."

About the author

Sarah Smith

Sarah is a small business owner, and is currently learning about marketing, using the internet. Aside from working on her own business, she likes to use social media, and read travel books. Find her on Twitter.