Reducing business waste and using resources more efficiently will not only help the environment, it will also make a positive impact on profitability. Waste disposal costs money, as do consumables and energy. Reducing these costs will boost the bottom line.
The first step in efficient waste management is to minimize use of consumables. A very simple change that can be implemented in a couple of minutes is to change the default setting on the company’s printers to double-sided. This will significantly reduce the amount of copier paper that the business uses. A 200-page document printed on the double-sided setting uses only 100 sheets of paper – an instant saving of 100 sheets of paper if the default setting was previously single-sided.
Taking printer efficiency to the next level, centralised printing ensures that print jobs are never printed and forgotten. Rather than choosing a printer at the time the employee hits the print button on their PC, centralised printing pulls the print job through to a central queue. The employee then swipes his card at the chosen printer, triggering the print job to be sent to the chosen printer. Because employees only pull print jobs through when they attend at the printer, the company avoids forgotten print jobs piling up until they are thrown, unread, into the recycling bin.
Washrooms stand empty for most of the day. However, in many companies, the lights burn for at least eight hours every day. The government-run Business Link service estimates that companies could reduce their lighting costs by 15 percent by turning off lights in unused rooms and corridors. By installing motion sensors in washrooms, companies can ensure that the lights are only switched on when the washroom is in use.
Paper towels are another cost to a business, both to purchase the paper towels as consumables and then to dispose of the resulting waste. Disposal of used paper towels also has an impact on the environment as, more often than not, this waste ends up in landfill as it is not suitable for recycling. Companies can eliminate paper towel waste by installing hand dryers in washrooms. New generation hand dryers are energy efficient and dry hands up to three times quicker than traditional hand dryers.
It is not possible to completely eliminate all business waste. However, much of it can be recycled. The key to effective recycling is to provide employees with clearly marked recycling bins at accessible locations. By separating out recyclable waste, such as non-confidential paper, recyclable plastic bottles and glass, companies can reduce the cost of business waste disposal.
Unwanted office furniture that has some life left in it can be donated to a local charity which can make use it. Alternatively, unwanted office furniture can be disposed through an intermediary. These companies arrange for office furniture to be passed on to companies that have a need for it. Office furniture that has reached the end of it life can be split down into its component parts for recycling.
Many companies now replace their PCs on a three year cycle. Unwanted office PCs can be recycled, but this needs to be carried out by a specialist company to ensure that all data has been securely destroyed before the PC is passed on to a third party.
About the Guest Post Author: Post contributed by Kris Rayner, on behalf of General Waste Collection. Kris has been writing about tech, business and environmental issues for the past few years.