Taking steps to reduce waste for your business is the eco-friendly thing to do. It can help to improve your business image and attract customers who want to spend their money ethically. However, that’s not the only advantage you can gain from reducing waste in your business.
You could be saving money and even making more money from recycling, reusing and reducing in different ways. If you make reducing your waste a key value of your business, it could become an integral part of your business model and help you to go further. There are many ways your business can reduce waste and start growing your profits.
Digitize to Save Paper and Time
Most businesses have digitized their operations in some way. You probably communicate through digital means and complete a lot of tasks on digital devices and online. But there are often processes that are still completed on paper and could be digitized to prevent waste. Some things are kept on paper because people think that it’s more secure. When the papers are no longer needed, they end up shredded. While the paper could be recycled, it’s better if it’s never needed at all. It’s perfectly possible to carry out hundreds of processes digitally and keep everything completely secure. You just need to find the right tools.
Another reason your business might still be dealing with paper is that you can’t convince customers/clients to switch to digital methods. If they’re stuck in their ways, it can be hard to get them to change. You can consider offering incentives to get them to drop paper systems. For example, discounts for paying invoices online can encourage them to use your online payment portal, and it could get them to pay faster too. It could be a way to improve cash flow, as well as avoid the cost of dealing with paper.
Buy and Sell Used Furniture
When you furnish your office or other business premises, you don’t need to buy new furniture. Likewise, if you’re thinking of getting rid of any office furniture, there’s no need to send it to a landfill. If the furniture is still functional, it can find a new home, and it could earn your business some money. That cash can then be used toward new furniture or perhaps put to another purpose. You could use it for anything from a charity donation to a bonus for your employees. If you buy used furniture too, you can save money and avoid even more waste because you’re not buying new.
Sell Unneeded Technology
It’s not just furniture that you might want to get rid of. The hardware and tech in your business sometimes become defunct, or you want to upgrade, so you need to decide what to do with it. Selling it can bring in some money for your business and help you to reduce the amount of waste that you produce. If you’re recycling unneeded hardware, you could choose to sell RAM and other things to recoup some of what it originally cost. You’ll earn money by selling off items, and you’ll be making an eco-friendly choice too. New tech can be expensive, so selling things you no longer need could go toward your budget for anything new.
Reduce Product Packaging
A reduction in product packaging can be a big draw for customers who want to be more environmentally conscious. In addition, it also helps your business to save money by cutting down on the materials needed to package your products. Less product packaging might mean designing more customized packaging that fits your product better or thinking of smart ways to make your packaging smaller.
It’s also worth exploring the materials that you use for packaging and whether changing to something different could also be a cost-saving. As well as saving money by reducing your product packaging, you could increase profits by selling more, attracting customers who want to use less packaging too. A good option to reduce carbon footprint, as well as your costs, is replacing single-use plastic packaging with polythene products”
One of the surprising things that might result in more waste for your business is poor communication. When there are issues with communication, it can lead to mistakes being made. This could cause anything to happen that leads to more waste, such as ordering too much of something or the misuse of supplies. It could also mean that waste isn’t dealt with properly, and things are thrown away that could be recycled or reused. Proper communication can result in big improvements and reduced waste, both when it’s in relation to waste management and when it’s related to other things.
Repurpose and Recycle Materials Into New Products
Does your manufacturing process leave you with leftovers or byproducts? These things could be repurposed into new products, whether for the same audience or for a completely different market. For example, if you make bags, the off-cuts of your material could be used for a recycled or eco-friendly bag made using only off-cuts. Carbon dioxide is a byproduct of ethanol production, which is then repurposed to make carbonated drinks. These sorts of business moves not only reduce waste but allow you to diversify your products and perhaps even create a new branch of your business.
Stop Using Single-Use Products
Single-use products create a lot more waste than necessary. Whether you use them for cleaning or other purposes, your business can end up producing a lot of waste and spending a lot of money because you need to keep reordering things. Moving from single-use products to reusable products saves your business money and helps you to be more eco-friendly too. The initial cost of switching will be higher than buying disposable products, but you will soon make up the difference when you don’t need to keep buying single-use products to replace the ones that you dispose of.
Help Customers Reduce the Use of Disposable Items
As well as cutting down on single-use products internally, consider how you can help customers to do the same. If you usually automatically give plastic bags, disposable cutlery or other items to customers, consider changing your policy so that you ask first or customers have to make a request. This can cut down on the number of products that you hand out. You could also switch to more eco-friendly alternatives, such as bamboo cutlery instead of plastic. You can also offer them reusable items that they can buy to take home and that they can use again when they next visit you. This can be another way to make money and attract customers.
Create a Recycling System
Recycling your waste instead of sending it to landfill isn’t just a way to make your business greener. It can also save you money, as it’s often cheaper to recycle than it is to throw things away. To get people recycling in your business, you can create a recycling system that is easy for your employees to follow. Provide different receptacles for different types of waste that are clearly labeled. Before doing this, make sure that you know what you can recycle and what you need to separate. You may be able to recycle all plastic and glass items together, or you might need to separate them.
Helping your customers to reduce their own waste can also improve the value of your products and services. You can allow them to bring in items for repair so that they can be fixed, instead of thrown away. The service could be free, or there might be a charge, but either way, it benefits your business. You could increase sales as trust in your brand grows, and people buy more of your products because they know that they will be long-lasting. It’s a good way to build brand loyalty, grow your profits and be eco-conscious.
Reuse Materials from Your Own Products
As well as allowing customers to bring in their products for repair, you could also allow them to return them or trade them in when they no longer want them. Another option is to work with partners that sell your products so that you can collect and recycle them. When you have products that are no longer useful or wanted, you can recycle them by refurbishing them or reusing the materials. This can give you more products to sell to your customers, or they could become products that you donate to a good cause.
Tell Your Customers What You’re Doing
Don’t forget to be clear about what exactly it is that you’re doing. Your customers will want to know if you’re taking steps to reduce waste and even if there are any ways that they can help. Communicate clearly with your customers to let them know about changes that you’re making and how it’s going to make a difference. Let them know how it benefits the environment but also any benefits that it may deliver to them. This could include cost savings or helping them to make green choices.
Start reducing waste and your business could not only save money but start making more money too, especially from improving your business reputation.