Did you know that the average American throws out 550 pounds of paper, 318 pounds of food, and 90 pounds of glass per year? About 80 percent of that garbage ends up in landfills. One way to avoid garbage ending up in landfills is to reduce waste.
In a recent GreenBiz post, 8 New Ways to Reduce Waste at Your Business, our sustainability consulting practice finds insights from business sustainability programs from around the world. Herein, the author leverages new and often strange sounding strategies that are actually producing results. Here is the complete list.
- Compost: Organic waste is typically the heaviest portion of the waste stream. Heavy waste is costly to remove. Hundreds of office buildings are composting as well, and composting service is available in more than 40 major U.S. markets.
- Audit your facility: Take a look around your facility and evaluate the supply chain of items that become waste. What consumables do you stock? Can you switch to compostable or at least recyclable products? How are waste bins placed?
- Make sure that recycling and composting containers are more convenient than landfill-bound containers, and that labels are easy to read. Signage with photos showing what goes where are highly effective, and hauling companies often provide free templates.
- Reduce packaging: One third of waste in developed countries comes from packaging alone. Evaluate the packaging used in your business.
- Eliminate bottled water: Ditch the bottles in favor of filters and glasses.
- Give food waste to pigs: No kidding! This age-old strategy is applicable today and offers significant cost savings.
- Go paperless: Technology offers cheaper and better alternatives to using paper.
- Measure it: You can't manage what you don't measure. Make sure your hauler is weighing your waste, then calculate the amount per day, or per person per day.
- Collect e-waste every day: Offer a bin where employees can put e-waste — from either home or work — and promote it as a benefit to employees. In additional, make sure that your e-waste vendor is actually recycling, as many sell the waste to overseas entities that do not follow through with recycling.
At Taiga Company, our own sustainability consulting approach emphasizes that changing habits is the key to a low waste culture. Once you have raised your eco awareness in one area of waste reduction, it's easy to find new ways of reducing waste in other areas of your life.