Each year, we generate over 2 billion tons of waste, and this is predicted to rise by 70% by the year 2050 unless dramatic change is implemented. Businesses are becoming wiser to the issue, and more companies are boosting their efforts through upcycling, recycling and using resources more sparingly. There is always more that can be done, however, and every industry stands to benefit from adopting greener practices.
The driving force behind recycling shouldn’t be money, but it does provide a good incentive for businesses. Recycling is a simple way for a company to improve its bottom line: joining recycling programs rather than paying for waste removal frees up budget for other uses. Centralized recycling programs help businesses to make more cost-efficient use of cleaners, who can be deployed to clean work stations and communal areas more thoroughly, rather than spending the bulk of their time collecting waste.
It’s also possible for a business to make money through improving recycling policies. Recyclable waste can be sold to be used in other ways, and there are schemes available to enable all sectors to sell plastic, glass and metal to be put to an alternative use. Recycling for electricians allows engineers to sell a variety of electronics, including motors, motherboards and power supplies, while recycling for manufacturers will allow companies to sell scrap aluminum, copper and stainless steel. All of these resources can be repurposed, minimizing the need for more mining. With advancements in recycling technology, recyclable materials are becoming commodities, and this presents an opportunity to any business.
Consumers are becoming increasingly aware of environmental issues, and are more likely to support a business that shows dedication to the issue. Consumers aren’t the only ones though: employees value green practices too. In fact, 40% of millennials say they have chosen a job because of company sustainability. Employees show increased motivation when their company is committed to recycling and other sustainability issues, with a Lightspeed survey finding that 10% of millennials would consider leaving their job if their employer didn’t have sustainable practices.
Boost to business
Businesses that are known for their sustainable policies often have a better reputation amongst consumers. 81% of respondents to a global Nielsen study in 2018 said that they felt strongly that businesses have a responsibility to help the environment. People want to be more ethical in their consumerism, and this will draw them to an environmentally conscious business. This helps to create a circular economy where waste is minimized and reused for other things, which in turn draws more business.
A good example of the circular economy model is Alaska Airlines, which converts old airplane seats into purses. HP, meanwhile, recovers plastic found in the ocean to make new ink cartridges for printers. Businesses that look for ways to follow the circular economy model stand to draw more business, as well as helping to protect the environment.
Environmental issues are a pressing concern for many individuals, and many businesses are driven to make their practices more sustainable for ethical reasons alone. However, for businesses that need that little extra push, there’s a lot to be gained from improving waste management policies in the name of a more sustainable future.