Improving resource efficiency in the workplace is one of the most effective ways a company can decrease waste and reduce their environmental impact. It also gives them an opportunity to lower costs and increase profits by using the resources they have available to their full potential.
Keep reading to find out our top 10 tips for improving resource efficiency in your business!
1. Apply The Waste Hierarchy
The Waste Hierarchy ranks waste management options according to what is best for the environment, with prevention being the most desirable option and disposal being the least.
To put this in place, you should identify what type of waste your business creates, if any of this waste can be re-purposed, if you could be recycling more waste materials, and if any organic waste (e.g. food/garden waste) can be to create renewable energy or composted.
2. Assess Your Waste
Assessing your waste will not only help you to apply your waste hierarchy, but also to identify problem areas and develop a plan of action.
You might discover that a particular process is causing more waste than you realised, or that a different material can be used in place of a less efficient one.
3. Control Your Waste
In a similar vein, if you work in manufacturing, you can control your waste by improving the overall control of your processes.
By increasing your accuracy, improving communication, and providing the right tools and training, you will give your team the toolkit the need to reduce mistakes and thus reduce the waste caused by them.
4. Implement an Environmental Management System
Environmental management systems, such as ISO 14001, are becoming increasingly popular for businesses looking to reduce their environmental impact.
These management systems can help your organisation to improve its environmental performance, reduce environmental liability, and decrease costs.
5. Reduce Energy Consumption
By reducing the consumption in your business, you will both save energy and reduce your running costs. Ways that you can decrease your energy consumption include turning off lights and equipment when not in use, use cold water rather than hot where possible, and utilising power saving functions in your technology.
6. Increase Energy Efficiency
Not only can you take steps to reduce energy consumption in the workplace, but you can also make changes in order to improve your energy efficiency.
For example, you could change your lights to LEDs which use up to 90% less energy than traditional incandescent bulbs. You could also improve your insulation to minimise energy waste, or fit self-closing doors to reduce heat loss.
7. Communicate With Your Staff
Make sure you clearly communicate the organisation’s goals for improving efficiency and reducing waste in the workplace, and what is expected of your team. Allocate an appropriate amount of time and resources for what you want to achieve,
You should also consult with staff at all levels, as they may come across issues you haven’t identified and might have their own suggestions.
8. Use Refills Where Possible
If you can’t reduce, refill!
Some things, such as cleaning products or hand soaps, can’t be eliminated from the workplace, however you can reduce the amount of waste they generate.
Some places are lucky enough to have a local zero waste store nearby where you can refill the containers you currently own, however there are plenty of other options – for example, some cleaning products can be bought in tablet form and dissolved in water, or some companies sell plastic free refills.
Shop around and find a solution that suits your business!
9. Reduce Wasteful Office Practices
As you will have identified in your waste hierarchy, the best-case scenario is to prevent waste, even if it is recyclable. With this in mind, it is worth reviewing your office practices to find ways to limit waste.
Printing is one of the biggest culprits for unnecessary waste in the office – to combat this you could look at changes processes that involve printed documents, set up printers and scanners to be double-sided, and discourage unnecessary printing.
10. Understand The Legislation
Finally, it is important that you understand the legislation that regulates the waste generated by your business. As a business owner, you have a duty to:
- keep waste to a minimum
- sort and store waste correctly
- complete waste transfer notes
- ensure your waste carrier is registered
- ensure your waste carrier disposes of waste legally
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