September 1-7 is Zero Waste Week, will you take this opportunity to initiate a waste minimisation programme in your business?

Like it or not, all businesses produce waste of some sort and this waste is a cost. For solid matter, mostly in terms of new raw materials needed and disposal costs, for utilities in increasing use costs. Waste costs the environment too – you may have seen some of the results of waste pollution whilst on your holidays recently and we have all seen the pictures of beautiful beaches littered with sea-borne plastics.

So what can you do? Firstly, know what waste your business is producing – walk around your site(s) and really look at where the waste is. Can you see opportunities for using less raw materials? Paper is a good one – set your printers to print both sides rather than just one or even booklet print for internal documents. Most printers can now handle both operations easily.

Are you recycling? If not, why not start simply by putting in separate bins for paper waste.

Take a look at water and electricity bills , you may find unexplained usage. For example one company discovered that an enterprising young man was using their outside tap at weekends to run a car/bike cleaning service. YOu may not find anything so dramatic, but you may discover out of hours usage that suggests machinery is being left on overnight without good reason, or taps are being left running.

Talk to your staff – often they will know where the greatest waste is happening and can make some excellent suggestions on how to minimise waste and save money. A great way of reducing waste is to use ‘real’ crockery rather than plastic cups – although do watch out for tap running when washing them up. Perhaps put a tray in the kitchen area and wash cups up once or twice a day, rather than everyone washing their own cups several times a day.

Brainstorm ideas and then implement them one at a time, starting with the easiest. Often money saved from these first steps can be used to fund larger, more expensive initiatives. You don’t need to do everything all at once – but do try to do something. There are very few businesses that can honestly say there is nothing they can do to reduce waste.

Not only is waste minimisation good for the environment, it is good for your bottom line. What will you do this week to review your waste production? To use a well known supermarket’s advertising, in waste minimisation, ‘every little helps’. You can get some help and advice from the WRAP website, or give us a call and we would be happy to give you some more ideas –