Reduce waste activity on National Recycling Week

From 7 – 13 November, Planet Ark is celebrating National Recycling Week, and is encouraging cafés and home coffee users to ramp up recycling efforts.

Recent research from Planet Ark shows more than 75 per cent of businesses agree reducing waste and recycling is part of being a sustainable and ethical business, yet 58 per cent keep virtually no records on their waste management.

Planet Ark’s 2016 report, What’s the Deal with Business Waste, shows that failure to understand the quantity of waste and to monitor it are significant obstacles to implementing waste management practices that can have both environmental and financial benefits.

Ryan Collins, Planet Ark Recycling Programs Manager says National Recycling Week is a good opportunity for businesses to take a look at their waste streams and make improvements.

“National Recycling Week is a great time for café owners and coffee drinkers to ask where the grounds from their daily cup goes to. Coffee grounds are a brilliant, and underused, resource, and can be used as a nitrogen rich fertiliser. Options for coffee grounds include composting them, sprinkling them over café’s kitchen gardens or pot plants, or even for staff to take home to feed their gardens with,” says Ryan.

“Conducting a waste audit is an important step in reviewing a business’s waste management practices, and diverting materials from the waste to the recycling stream. The return on investment could save your business money.”

Ryan says business recycling has many benefits. Not only does it improve public perception in this age of increased ‘green awareness’, recycling does not have to be a costly or time consuming practice.

“Three out of four Australian businesses believe that good waste management improves public perception of the company,” he says.

According to the report, more than 12.5 million tonnes of business waste is generated each year in Australia, almost half (46 per cent) of which goes to landfill, and the rates of waste generation are increasing. Of this, accommodation and food services account for nearly 2.6 million tonnes per year.

Seven out of 10 businesses (68 per cent) think that they are already doing all they can in regards to waste management and recycling. Businesses that feel they have already optimised their waste management are much less likely to seek information about changes in the waste industry and new services that are available to them.

“Three out of four Australian businesses believe that good waste management improves public perception of the company,” Ryan says. “Having an environmental strategy is something that an increasing number of clients now expect, with 43 per cent of outsourcing companies finding that green factors play a role in the selection process of their clients.”

Half of small to medium businesses (SMEs) state that motivating staff is a benefit of improving their waste and recycling practices. Many report an increased ability to attract and retain talented employees, as employees who perceive the business they work for to be ethical feel a greater sense of commitment.

SMEs reported time pressures as being the number one hurdle to making more changes regarding their waste reduction and recycling improvements. The perception that waste disposal is not a financial burden is also a barrier. Businesses are motivated by cost saving strategies, and if the expense of generating waste is not an important issue for managers and investors, it won’t be a priority for them to address.

About one-third of SMEs recognise they don’t have the knowledge to proceed. For more ways to increase recycling and help to reduce waste, click here.

Planet Ark Environmental Foundation is an Australian not-for-profit organisation with a vision of a world where people live in balance with nature.

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