The National Waste Report provides damning statistics on business recycling: every year over 20 million tonnes of waste are sent to rot in landfill from the Australian industrial and commercial sector – despite estimates that over 70% of that waste could be recycled or reused. It hardly needs to be said, but that’s a staggering amount of potentially useful materials that are going to waste. And when you consider the environmental hazards caused by landfill, such as toxins, leachates and greenhouse gas pollution, it’s painfully clear that this is far from the best solution to dealing with business waste.
Recycling the waste produced by your business is one of the best ways for your company to reduce its environmental footprint and prevent the problems associated with unsustainable waste management practices. Plus, doing so can create significant savings for your business and improve its position in the market as well as staff morale.
So why don’t more businesses do it? Well, it can be hard keeping a handle on your waste production and recycling rates, particularly when it comes to the workplace. As well, many business owners fail to realise just how much money they are wasting by sending their waste to landfill. And too many businesses believe they don’t have the knowledge or the resources to improve their waste management and recycling practices.
However, all these problems can be overcome, and making the decision to start is the first step. Businesses have the responsibility to source their products with care, and to ensure there is an efficient end-of-life solution for products that doesn’t involve dumping waste in landfill.
It’s near impossible to manage something that you can’t measure, so the first step to improving business recycling is to conduct a waste audit of your business. Follow this handy guide to conducting a business waste audit (and, as always, contact us here at NuGrow if you would like some help: https://nugrow.com.au/contact/).
Benefits of conducting a waste audit
- Unlocks wasted revenue and allows you to save money
- Allows you to see what is working well and what needs improvement
- Reveals opportunities to streamline your processes
- Encourages employees to get on board with company goals and improvements
How to conduct a waste audit
Conducting a waste audit sounds demanding, but it’s not as arduous as it might sound. Here’s what you need to do.
Setting up a team or a person in charge of the waste audit is always your first step. Build your team from amongst every department within your organisation, to ensure all areas of your business feel engaged and connected with your procedures.
Schedule your audit for a week or a few days when your business is running as normal, so that you can get a true feel for what normal volumes of waste are for your business. If possible, choose a less busy time so that the audit doesn’t interrupt your normal flow of work too much.
To conduct your waste audit, you’ll need:
- Plenty of clean garbage bags and labels to denote what type of waste stream they contain
- Protective gear for the audit team, such as gloves, eye protection and overalls
- Excel spreadsheet to capture and organise all the data
You’ll also need to ensure that all your waste bins are not emptied (either by your cleaning staff or your waste collection services) throughout the period of your audit, so that you can collect, organise and sort all of the waste products you produce. It would be wise to pause your waste collection services for a week during the audit.
- Organise and sort your waste products by stream, e.g. paper, plastic, food organics, garden organics, solid waste, liquid waste etc.
- Either weigh or measure the volume of waste in each category so that you know how much of each stream your business generates per week. If this is too difficult to do efficiently, just conduct a visual assessment on each bin right before it’s due to be picked up or emptied, and note how full the bin is.
- Analyse the results. Pose questions such as: Were there any unexpected waste streams you didn’t account for? Were any materials placed in the wrong receptacles? Do you get different volumes of waste material from different container locations? Which type of waste stream did your business generate the most of?
- Compare the results of your audit with your current levels of waste collection services. Are there any opportunities to reduce or modify existing services to save your business some money? Or do you perhaps need more services to deal with the volume of material you generate?
What to do post-audit
After you have all your waste audit data, it’s time to take a good, hard look at your waste management practices. Consider whether any of your waste streams could be more effectively used by reusing or recycling the material. Also consider ways of reducing the amount of waste you generate in the first place. Then implement waste recycling methods at your place of business, and communicate waste management practices to your employees.
Need some help?
While carrying out a waste audit is not a complicated process, it can sometimes be more time-consuming and demanding than many businesses have time for. It’s often a wise idea to use the help of qualified waste management experts to help your business conduct an audit effectively, and to identify ideal solutions.
If you’d like help conducting your waste audit, the team at NuGrow regularly conducts site visits and audits, and welcomes the opportunity to add value to client’s businesses through waste management advice. And once the audit is done, we can help you with the rest, from making informed decisions about the destination of your waste streams to implementing waste recovery methods and recycling your waste products.
For more information about our business waste recycling services, and how to create savings under Queensland’s waste levy, get in touch with our expert team today.
Click here to discover five tips to beef up your business recycling efforts.