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Practical advice on how to contribute to a waste free office while saving money and becoming the circular economy leader

Free advice: 30% off your waste bill with save-the-planet-is-good-for-business-plan.

 

A round of applause if you have bins for paper separation at the office! Another one if you collect coffee cups at the coffee machine (not exactly sure what happens with the cups but you’re sure it counts ☺ ). Your company’s waste bill is about €1500 a month and you considered improving waste separation a few times in the past year. Clap again for that! We would like to offer you some free advice on how to take simple actions that will lead to cutting your waste bill with 30% while becoming an impact maker in your community.

 

In the Paris agreement, where renowned sustainability and business experts gathered, everyone agreed internationally that waste handling is the way forward to saving the planet. It saves huge amounts of both energy and resources. While the big climate policies are written and planned and re-written and planned (and having a climate bully trumping the show), you perhaps also wonder, is there not something we can already start doing? Now? Yes, there is.

 

Taking only a few hours of your time can already lead to great insights and money savings for your company. While you save resources from being incinerated, your waste will turn to resources that others need.  Before you read on, there is a precaution to be made. Applying a save-the-planet-is-good-for-business-plan takes some effort first, some guts later and a little bit of dirty hands at the same time. But I can promise you, it will become fun, you will make impact and it will save you money down the road!

 

Let me give you some facts to take to your boardroom so that everyone understands why you approach them (again) with your save-the-planet-is-good-for-business-plan.

 

  1. In many countries, like the Netherlands, burning materials is what happens to the things you throw in those grey garbage bins. Some countries send them to landfills. Those kg of organics or plastics could have been used in a far less energy costing process, like recycling. 
  2. So the EU countries set out goals to recycle at least 65% of all waste materials, companies and municipalities are encouraged and rewarded by joining. In the Netherlands this is marked as one of the steps in the CO2 reduction program for companies. 
  3. Young people care more and more about the environment, especially the bright talented ones you want to employ. In fact, they consider working for a business that acts on environmental goals over others, 70% more than 5 years ago.  

 

Let’s consider the challenges you face right now:

Your colleagues are confused and some complain, because at home things are being recycled and at work they are not. If they are, then its paper and coffee cups, and your colleagues still throw 30-50% of recyclable materials in the bin. Meanwhile, you are thinking of what other waste streams to separate, such as organics and plastics, but don’t know where to start. And guess what, you are losing money every day. Sounds familiar? Read the simple strategic advice below on how you can start to save up to 30% on your waste bills.

 

The better news starts here. What kind of solution is there that will make your save-the-world-business-plan count.

 

  1. Less is more: cut on your purchase. the less waste to deal with the better. Check the inventory list and update this from years ago.  There are probably lots of things on there that you either don’t need or can get a better, less packaged, option for.  There are plenty of sustainable office supplies and retailers that will be happy to get in touch. Time cost: 2 to 4 hours, and this could easily save 10-20% of your waste bill.  
  2. Get in that bag and start expanding the separation. Start looking into plastic and organic, e-waste and other streams that your company produces. Then figure out what you are actually paying for, for waste removal. Call your current waste collector and ask for recyclable pick-up services. If this doesn’t work, approach 2 to 3 other-ones that will do it. Find the best deals out there to recycle. Then consider what will count for you and make sure that you understand the deal you get over a longer period of time, not just the bill you get tomorrow. Time cost: 2-5 hours.
  3. You want your colleagues to separate paper and other streams better? The trick is to make it understandable and fun. Why not leave just one bin for all the ‘grey bin’ waste and punish this one with a sad face on it. Adding to the punishment: leave it in a corner so that people need to stand up and walk over there. At the same time you make the other bins for recyclables look happy and you spread this joy near all their desks. The symbols on all the bins are clear and constant. Your colleagues understand what’s going on and can’t get away with lazy or “I didn’t understand it” behavior.  Time cost: 2 hours.
  4. Trash versus Treasure. You and your neighbors need each other’s waste. This solution takes more time, but will be rewarded in the end. Look at your waste from a community perspective.  Here you get involved with other business and community.  What are you producing that your local community might need and vice versa. Think about the sport/scouts clubs wanting your old promo materials, mushroom growers hungry for your coffee grounds, designers, composting farms/gardens or second-hand shops in need for some of your other precious waste. Time cost: 10+ hours. A tip here is to start a young committee of colleagues who want to spend some hours a week researching this. The results will truly count, you will be seen by your colleagues, neighborhood and might be the most involved and caring company out there.
  5. Party announcement and challenge to embed. To make the above a success you will need to introduce your new waste plan with a BANG! Make it clear and fun for colleagues to be part of it. For example, set a challenge between rooms, departments or even other companies for least “grey bin” waste produced. Time cost: 2 hours to organize. But then you will be sure that the new behavior will stick and the results will matter in the long run!

 

So what will this new waste strategy mean for your business:

– You step up in your CO2 emission goals that your company reports about (or starts to report from now on) to please the environment minded investors and government who rewards those who have.

– In a year time this adds up to a 20-30% saving on your waste bill, which saves thousands of Euros.

-And perhaps most important, your colleagues will be proud. Yes! Luring great employees with your waste plan could be the next new trend, as it makes work more fun and rewarding.

 

BinBang.nl helps companies transit to a circular economy while taking employees along. We organize challenges and embed the change within the company and community.

 

 

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