5 Ways Businesses Can Be More Sustainable with Better Waste Management

In recent years, companies have been trying their best to offset their carbon footprint and reduce the damage to the environment by introducing many different policies and practices. Governments tend to support such action by incentivizing smarter, more sustainable changes, while fining companies that fail to adapt to the bare minimum. 

However, when it comes to producing and managing waste, companies are still lagging behind, and many are producing so much more than they can handle. In countries such as Australia, there’s a growing trend of recycling, and that does help to an extent, but the goal is to start reducing waste from the get-go and introduce better management solutions every step of the way.


Keeping track of waste 

Knowledge is power, so it’s up to you to collect and analyze any information you have that is related to your waste management policies. Understanding where your business stands with producing waste and managing it will help you figure out smarter solutions for reducing, recycling, repurposing, and any other step that will help with making your business eco-friendlier.

  • Go back as far as possible to see your own energy and water use – remember, energy and water waste shouldn’t be ignored simply because you don’t have a bin that’s overflowing with the extra energy you’re using.
  • Use analytics tools to spot trends in energy and water use uptake and see how you can curb the spending.
  • Do the same for all physical waste you’re producing. That way, you can create a trend chart and anticipate your future waste production – and see where you can make reductions.


Introducing waste management equipment

Depending on where your business is located, check with your local government what kind of legal frameworks there are for you to follow regarding waste management. To ensure sustainable waste management in Australia, many companies might benefit from introducing advanced equipment on-site, and elevating recycling efforts among their employees.

Different industries can utilize different waste management systems and preventative measures, so be sure to check what’s available to your particular niche. Perhaps in addition to regular audits, you can install more innovative chute systems and improve waste collection and disposal.


Employee education

Most people want to lead more sustainable lives today, so they care about their own personal impact on the environment. The same applies to people who work as part of a larger unit, such as your own business. 

  • Share the audit’s data with your employees, so that they know exactly how your business is doing in terms of waste management and creating waste, to begin with.
  • They are sure to start asking questions, so be prepared to get specific as to where the waste is coming from and how they can do better.
  • Provide ongoing educational modules to give your workers the information they need to start behaving more sustainably in the workplace and to implement better waste policies.


Partnering with waste-free businesses

Your business likely works with other, equally relevant companies in your professional ecosystem. You might be working with a local manufacturer, supplier, distributor, and all of those companies produce their own waste. Perhaps you can’t change their internal policies, but you can definitely choose who you associate yourself with.

Earning that zero-waste distinction is only possible if you start choosing your partners and investors more wisely and aligned with your sustainability goals. Make sure that your entire chain of supply is waste-free or that at the very least your partners are abiding by the same waste reduction policies, working towards the same goals as you.


Rethinking the office

Although starting with the most wasteful processes such as manufacturing or inventory management is wise, you shouldn’t neglect those smaller steps you can take in your pursuit of a waste-free business. Your office alone can be a great place for producing waste, but it can also become a herald of smarter practices about to change how you collaborate.

For starters, moving towards a paperless office helps reduce paper waste and deforestation in one move. Switching to a plastic-free lunch supplier also helps eliminate plastic from the office, while you can encourage employees to bring their favourite coffee mugs (or you can invest in a branded batch for them all), instead of using plastic or paper. 


If you’re operating a business in a developed, advanced country, you’re at the forefront of change. Make sure to start adapting your waste management policies and aim to become waste-free as soon as possible. This kind of rapid change is precisely what the world needs to get rid of overflowing landfills and to manage our manufacturing in more sustainable, Earth-friendly ways.


Peter Minkoff
Peter is a lifestyle writer at HighStyleLife magazine, living between Europe and Australia. Follow Peter on Twitter for more tips.
Peter Minkoff