Recycling: Better for the environment, better for business

Although the benefits of recycling have been recognised domestically and within larger industries for some time now, ideas about recycling and waste management within business are starting to catch on, not least for the economies it can offer businesses pushing for growth, struggling with the economic downturn or looking to increase their sustainability options. There are now companies, such as Safe Site Facilities, who offer dedicated clearance and cleaning services across the UK.

Legislative response
Ultimately, landfill is not an option for general, by-product or packaging waste as it’s not financially or ecologically sound practice for businesses, especially in the light of new legislation. Local councils and business are required to respond to target setting initiatives to reduce waste, such as government legislation in waste prevention in England and, as the UK’s one of the least effective in managing waste such as plastic, EU targets such as zero plastic waste into landfill by 2020.

Reduction in raw materials
Where natural resources, such as oil or gas, or other raw materials required for processing and manufacturing start to dwindle, the price increases which raises the bottom line and reduces profitability for businesses. Businesses might instead focus on recycling and waste reduction as an economical alternative and means to improve supply of raw materials, as well as take a role of responsibility within their own supply chains, by demonstrating robust company strategies for effective waste management and recycling.

Challenge for retailers
Reducing waste, particularly from packaging is a keen issue for retail businesses. Cutting costs by recycling packaging received from suppliers or sourcing recyclable packaging to use with their own customers is important for addressing customers’ concerns and for gaining green credentials. Major retailers now charging for carrier bags and offering ‘bag for life’ alternatives is a significant example of how industry-wide practice can change business and consumer mind-sets towards recycling and also encourage alternatives to be sought, including using local suppliers to reduce on costs, emissions and minimise the need for durable, long-distance packaging.

Sustainability for suppliers
With green ethics filtering both up and down the supply chain, there’s a greater onus on suppliers to be pro-active in sourcing cost-effective and environmentally sound raw materials, including the recycled materials and products for their own customers. Although this may involve additional costs at first, for example when purchasing efficient equipment or setting up waste management and sustainability programmes, in the long term this adds greater value to the suppliers’ green offer – an offer which is in demand and could prove more economical in the long term.

So how can businesses manage their waste management?
• By checking on the green credentials of any waste management companies used to deal with business waste and by-products, including their track record of recycling and material recovery. This may not seem to be a fiscally profitable exercise for businesses, but it’s likely to increase their ethical practice value and more likely to engage like-minded customers who are keen for green practice from the companies they deal with.
• Establishing efficient sorting and collection services within businesses is a must for meeting legislative standards and demonstrating good environmental practice to customers. There is also excellent potential for enriched B2B practice of collaborative disposal, sorting and recycling and economies to be gained from working collaboratively and sharing resources. There is significant growth of waste disposal companies at local level, allowing companies to work together and offer community as well as industry value to their waste disposal.

By maximising the local and global community benefits of recycling within business, there is a greater opportunity for practice to not only to be economical, but also to be sustainable across whole supply chains.


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