Each year Australian businesses are generating an average of 1.7 tonnes of wastage per employee – yet only around half of that is being recycled. In addition, the average Australian family of four makes enough rubbish to fill a three-bedroom home from floor to ceiling.
This alarming statistic should give us all a reason to be concerned and to take action to change it.
Almost every package we bring home from the grocery store is plastered with labels prompting us to recycle. Australian businesses have made some great progress when it comes to awareness and the responsibility we have to the environment, however there’s a lot more work to be done.
Why is it that we leave our sustainability mentality at the office front door? We go to work, walk in, sit down at our desks and leave all our environmental consciousness behind.
As business owners and professionals, we have a social responsibility; we’re in a position of influence and have the capability of leading by example.
When I created my first business, Sachi & Daphs, I knew I wanted to lead by example for my children, family and friends and wider community. I wanted to bring a product to life that was beautiful, stylish and eco-friendly. Using recycled material doesn’t mean boring colours, or uninventive designs. In fact, it’s the opposite! My placemats, coasters and pinboards are made from 60% recycled material, which is just over half of the products form. But if you aren’t in the business for creating a product from recycled material, or if you are in the service industry, there are still so many ways that you can bring eco-friendly practices into your home or office.
Here are some helpful tips for bringing recycling into your everyday business practice that can have a big impact on the environment.
1. Think about your customers - People are quickly becoming conscious consumers as they are more aware of their impact on the environment and are concerned about where their products come from. Can the products you sell be renewable, biodegradable, recycled or more eco-friendly? This will add another layer to your business. Don’t be daunted by producing a product that is 100% recyclable. Can you incorporate a small percentage of recycled material? Start small, think big!
2. What about you? - When it comes to your business, what manufacturing and production processes can be reviewed, adjusted or implemented to incorporate a more sustainable approach? Sourcing local suppliers who share the same environmental values is a great start.
3. Waste – How do you dispose of your waste? - Separating waste at key disposal points can make a big difference to your recycling efforts. Position and label different disposal units in your office, from the stationary desk to the kitchen, and clearly identify food waste, paper recycling and plastic recycling.
4. Repurpose – Are there things around the office that can be given a second life? Converting any unwanted printing to a scribbling note pad can be a cost effective and eco-friendly alternative.
5. Research - On the commercial scene, it’s refreshing to see lots of recyclable products hit the market providing consumers with a lot more choice. Widen your range when you’re researching something new for your business and choose something that’s good for the environment. You’ll be surprised what you’ll find!
If you’re looking to improve the sustainability in your business the easiest and most useful place to start is at home. Once this practice becomes habitual, it can flow through to other areas, and hopefully, all aspects of your life. You’ll also start to impact those around you without even realising!
Have a clear vision and set some goals, get creative and have fun and most importantly, focus on why you’re doing it in the first place. We can all do a little bit to make a difference.