‘Sian – why should I care about waste efficiency?’

As you may know (or may not – that’s ok too), I have been speaking about the importance of waste efficiency for your business, no matter what level or nature of your business. In the realm of environmental activities, waste is not at the top of the list. Although I completely agree that you should pay attention to issues surrounding climate change, conservation and biodiversity and even being an excellent socially responsible organization, I also do strongly believe that waste deserves a lot more attention. The good thing about paying attention to waste is that there are quick wins and simple fixes that do not cost an arm or a leg and compromise your journey to sustainability.

Before I jump into the tips to making your business waste efficient, I want to go back a bit and explain what it is. Waste efficiency is simply the management of your resources so that you minimize the amount of waste that is created from your processes thereby diverting waste from the landfill.

Let’s look at a quick example – you’re in manufacturing and you have decided to rent a bin for your waste disposal. The bin costs you $3000 on average per disposal per week. Say the contractor comes once per week to clear the bin. You are now spending $12,000 per month on waste disposals alone. What if you can cut that spend down to a ¼ (one disposal per month) by throwing away less, would that make sense to you?

I will say this, any initiative that you are undertaking for your business will require an investment on your part. Whether it is time, human or financial, something must be spent. The key though is to focus on those items on a phased basis starting with the least to the most to ensure your business is not significantly affected right at the beginning. So, let’s jump into the tips.

You must understand why

I say this to anyone I come into contact with – before you start anything, you must know with utmost certainty why you even want to do this in the first place. Ask yourself, why is this important to me/us? Because knowing your why will help chart the course for your organisation’s programme. Starting a programme just because everyone else is doing it is not enough. Yes, I understand that social norms are a form of persuasion but not as a stand-alone answer. Asking yourself, how does this activity fit into your organization’s objectives is key.

Understand your waste

You can’t measure what you do not know and to become waste efficient, you must know what are the types of waste you generate. Not only that but the quantities as well. Even if you do not have exact numbers, you must at least have an appreciation for what ultimately becomes waste in our business. To sum this up, a waste audit at the beginning is an absolute must.

Chart a course 

What is your plan of action? Where do you begin? These are the questions you must answer to know what exactly you want to achieve. A part of this is setting up goals for your programme. For example, you can say you want to reduce your plastic containers by x % over y amount of time or you want to have our customers return x number of containers per month. Deciding where to start is extremely important and as I always say, ask yourself, what can I start doing tomorrow?

Get recognized for your work

I know this environmental work is not typically done for recognition and prizes but I firmly believe that if you are on this journey to waste efficiency and sustainability, you should shout it from the mountain tops and be acknowledged for all you do! A part of our programme seeks to do just that. It is completely online and self-paced where you indicate what you presently do but we also give you ideas to take it a step further.

Once you have started these activities, you are on your way to becoming waste efficient. In our Waste efficiency class starting on July 13th, we go through each of these steps and more in detail so that you can take control of the waste your business generates. It is a LIVE online class with me over 4 weeks. Your investment is $197USD or $1500TT. You can also do a payment plan of 4 payments of $60USD/$420TT. You will be able to lay the foundation and you also have access to me as a guide along the way. Register for the class here.

If you are unsure that this class is for you, schedule a quick consultation call with me here and let’s talk about it.  Feel free to shoot me an email at sian.young@sielenvironmentaltt.com as well.


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