Did you know that, as per the Environmental Protection Agency, 75% of the waste stream is recyclable, and we only use about 30% of it? It turns out that the opportunity is there – we don't take advantage of it.
But with an efficient waste management plan in place, the global electronic scrap recycling market alone could reach $34.32 billion by 2022? Imagine what could happen to landfills if every company took it upon themselves to adopt a couple of recycling practices of their own and stuck with them for the long run.
It's not too late to jump on the sustainability bandwagon. What's more, you can generate profit while doing so. It's a win-win.
Why should small businesses recycle?
Below are five benefits associated with incorporating recycling into your business:
Contrary to the popular belief, recycling isn't expensive. In fact, it's more costly not to recycle when you have a fully operational business with employees. For example, with a centralized recycling program in full swing, you can cut costs related to hiring people who would pick up everyone's trash and throw it in garbage bins. It thus becomes employees' responsibility to clean up their working spaces and bring waste to the recycling stations.
The newly found capital can then be turned into carefully strategized funds that are allocated, say, to a marketing or a sales budget.
The best part about getting savvy in recycling is the opportunity to earn your money back. You can sell recyclables for additional income and keep them for business expenses. Waste Outlet is a company that allows you to trade waste and secondary raw materials and earn cash.
The recycling industry continues to evolve and expand the boundaries of what disposable materials can be turned into treasure. Keep an eye out for updates about your local recycling practices; soon enough, things that may not be recyclable now may soon generate profit for you.
Better networking and investment opportunities
Leveling up your recycling game has the potential to bring plenty of profitable networking opportunities. As you make your adopted recycling practices public, the word you spread reaches the right people who are interested in following your lead and even developing meaningful professional relationships.
The reputation you build for your company can also result in investors becoming intrigued by your impact and wanting to support your business financially for the greater good of humanity.
An unpublished study by Lightspeed shows that workplace sustainability and recycling matter to millennials more than to any other previous generation. The study also makes a point about millennials confessing their willingness to quit a job if their employer isn't planning on adopting environmentally-friendly work practices.
The desire to make a difference in the world serves as a great foundation for building communities united by the same goal. Use it to encourage your staff to participate in the recycling programs established by your company and join the companywide meet-ups aimed at sharing their personal journeys to a waste-free lifestyle.
It always feels good to know you're part of something bigger than yourself.
What are the best recycling practices to adopt?
To make sure your business thrives in an eco-conscious environment of its own, you have to create easy-to-follow guidelines that help everyone stay on track. Here are some tips to consider as you implement a recycling program in your business:
Getting rid of old electronics
In today's highly technological world, it's hard to imagine an employee without a smartphone or a company without computers. And while it's great to stay connected and use technology to drive your business forward, you have to think about the ramifications of owning these devices. Here's where recycling comes in handy.
One way to get rid of the electronics you don't use anymore is to bring them to a local waste facility or sell them for a profit. For companies, a better alternative would be to rent a receptacle to collect old units and dispose of them all at once. Items like air conditioners, refrigerators and microwaves fall under this category, too.
Trading junk mail
Getting paid for selling junk mail is a real concept that's widely practiced among companies. Just like cardboard, junk mail can be turned into cash. Companies like Small Business Knowledge Center compensate you for forwarding them your junk mail and email solicitations related to insurance, travel, banking, investments, and office supplies among others, and provide you with bonus points for doing so.
Installing recycling bins
Perhaps the easiest way to get everyone on board with your "going-green" plans is to place recycling bins where they're needed most: This can mean setting up cardboard and paper bins next to printers and fax machines; food waste, glass, and plastic bottles bins in the kitchen and common areas; bins for batteries and electronics waste at the reception and in the meeting rooms.
If you are a small restaurant owner, chances are, you deal with food waste daily. The garbage piling up in the kitchen, leftovers and food scraps might even give you headaches on days when admin work requires your undivided attention. Composting can be a big help to you. Not only does it help to create biodegradable and organic compost, but it also acts as a nutrient substance for growing your own plants and fruits.
When trying to save money, using compost as a cost-effective fertilizer is a way to go.
Disposing of furniture
Have you ever heard of the term "junkyard furniture"? It's a venture that entails tweaking discarded items and turning them into new and functional furniture. You can become the furniture donor by either donating it to a local charity or selling it to those who refurbish it.
If there's a lot of furniture you want to get rid of, hiring a waste receptacle would be a smarter decision.
Fostering a companywide green culture is key to seeing quick results
To ensure you institute a recycling program that has a high level of support and compliance among your staff, management must lead by example and incentivize personnel whenever possible. Apart from making an effort to capture their attention via educational campaigns, as a small business owner, show them firsthand how to lead a waste-free life when at work.
Entrepreneurs who want to integrate long-term sustainable practices into their companies tend to make charitable donations to causes that take environmental protection seriously. They also offer rewards to employees who participate in at-the-office challenges that encourage waste recycling or that brainstorm unique ways that your company can practice sustainability.
Coming up with a strategy to minimize waste and maximize profits may seem daunting at first, but it doesn't have to be. Taking small steps like switching to a digital cloud and transitioning to renewable energy pave the way for bigger changes.
The motto "Reduce, Reuse, Recycle" can (and should) be applied to your business no matter how big or small. When implemented, it's a sure way to cut back on unnecessary expenses and increase revenue exponentially.
Apart from the positive impact on the environment, recycling has the power to boost your business's reputation and create a like-minded community of people working together for the common good.
Coming up with a companywide strategy for waste elimination doesn't have to make your hair stand on end. Recycling, composting and refilling are just some of the ways to reduce your company's carbon footprint.