5 ways to benefit from recycling

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Australian businesses who don’t recycle or optimise their waste management face unnecessary losses which can directly impact their bottom line, their position in the market, and staff morale. Every year in Australia, businesses generate over 12.5 million tonnes of waste. Almost half of that waste (46%) goes to landfill. New research shows that 76% of businesses believe that reducing waste is part of being a sustainable and ethical business.

Here are five reasons why it might be beneficial for your small business to jump on board.

1. Feel good

Here’s how lots of people doing just one thing can make a big difference. Over the last 12 months Australians businesses and households have made history by recycling a record 13,500 used printer cartridges every working day, making it the biggest year ever for the ‘Cartridges 4 Planet Ark’ program. In total, over 3.5 million cartridges were returned for recycling or remanufacture, which is equivalent to 386 bathtubs of cartridges returned every working day, or 6 backyard swimming pools every week!

Printer cartridges can take between 450 and 1,000 years to break down in landfill, and e-waste is the fastest-growing form of waste. Register your small business here.

2. Save money

The costs of sending business waste to landfill, instead of recycling, are significant and not just environmental. Workplaces pay a state government levy for each tonne of eligible waste sent to landfill. These levies are easily avoided by sending waste material to recycling. By adopting new waste management equipment, reviewing contracts with recycling providers, or creating green supply chains, businesses can make surprising savings.

3. Have a competitive edge

More than one in two (53%) businesses agree that efficient waste management and recycling gives them a competitive edge. Increasing numbers of consumers (66%) are willing to pay more for goods and services from companies committed to reducing their environmental impact, and that commitment has the power to sway product purchases for more than 45% of consumers. By adopting positive environmental practices, like recycling, businesses also demonstrate to their customers and stakeholders that they are forward thinking and innovative.

4. Happy staff — better business

More than nine out of ten Australian households recycle and employees are increasingly expecting recycling facilities in the workplace. Statistics indicate that Australia-wide, 80% of employees would like more recycling in the workplace and that having recycling facilities make them feel like they work for a responsible employer. The high staff morale associated with high levels of job satisfaction leads to a more cohesive and productive team, and longer-term staff retention, alleviating the costs of recruitment and training.

5. Help is at hand

The Business Case for Less Waste is a new Planet Ark resource designed to help staff at any level in a workplace look at their waste management systems, identify the inefficiencies and unnecessary costs and then make the case for better systems. It also provides scientifically proven ideas for engaging colleagues with waste and recycling initiatives. BusinessRecycling.com.au provides online and over-the-phone information, resources by calling 1300 763 768, and also has a comprehensive listing of recycling service providers nationally.

6. What can you do today?

The Cartridges for Planet Ark industry partners such as Canon have helped Australians divert 34 million cartridges (or 14,500 tonnes) from landfill since 2003. While Officeworks and Australia Post are among the national Top Retailer Collectors, along with hundreds of other small businesses doing their bit. Cartridges can now be made into e-wood, rulers, pens, and even roads. To date 900 kms of Australian roads have been paved or sealed with products made from recycled cartridges – that’s equivalent to the distance between Sydney and Melbourne (873 km), or Sydney and Brisbane (950 km). Australia Zoo on the Sunshine Coast has even paved its carpark with recycled printer cartridges to reduce its carbon footprint! Register your small business here.

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6 COMMENTS

  1. I didn’t realize that recycling is actually beneficial for more reasons that just environmental ones. According to the article, sending waste to recycling is actually a lot cheaper than sending it to a landfill. I feel like lower overall costs are just another reason for my wife and I to start recycling more.

    • Hi John, great to hear from you! That’s wonderful you got some useful information out of this article. It is fantastic when we can find win/win situations for small business and the environment. After all, why waste an opportunity to save money and help our planet?!

  2. I never knew that recycling can help you create a sustainable and ethical business that helps the earth. My sister is doing a paper for school on recycling. This info could help portray how businesses can also reap the benefits of this practice.

    • Dear Afton – thanks so much. That’s great to hear this article will help with your sisters recycling assignment. It is important for all of us to do what we can to help support sustainable and ethical business where we can.

  3. Good deeds pay indeed. Proper waste disposal is everyone’s obligation and participating in recycling practices does create a good feel and image, since such acts show a person’s social awareness and concern to help save the earth. It underlines a business that is responsible and committed, values that are appreciated by consumer public. The system of proper waste management can truly identify the unnecessary usage and costs in a workplace and help create an appropriate waste avoidance or reduction in their work operations. Such attitude or awareness lifts one’s sense of being a part of humanity that cares and has self-pride. More organisations that help bring awareness on how to lessen the need for landfills should be applauded.

    • Thanks Alice – great to hear from you. Glad you got something useful out of this blog post. Don’t forget to let us know what you’d like to see more of on the site and if you aren’t already part of our community please join our free newsletter list (just click this link: http://bit.ly/1fLhjcr) for all the latest in small business.

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