Have you stopped to think recently about how much your waste management is costing you? Not just in terms of money, but in terms of time and effort? Recycling your business waste can improve the efficiency, image and environmental impact of your enterprise, regardless of its size. Both small businesses and large corporations can benefit from taking an eco-friendly approach to waste management.
Throwing away your commercial waste without considering other options may be costing you in the long run. Doing so can be more expensive, hurt your business reputation and even put you at risk for regulatory violations. And thats not to mention the severe impact you could be causing to the environment. So how can you implement a robust waste management policy? In this article, well go over why this policy is so valuable to your organization and how to incorporate it effectively.
Green initiatives can also help you improve yourbusiness reputation. Peoplevalue recycling, and they are buying more sustainable products than they were previously. A recycling program can influence how people perceive your company and put your product on eco-friendly radars.
You can use environmentally friendly packaging, such as recycled and recyclable products and minimal plastics. Donating to the cause and running or sponsoring community programs and events can also help if you want to get serious about these efforts. You will likely need to make your environmentally friendly actions known to the public to reap any of these benefits. Updating them on your efforts, posting your measurable key performance indicators (KPIs) and implementing a PR campaign are all ways you can do this.
Being green will also help youmeet legal and regulatory obligations. Any business that generates waste must abide by specific standards about the ways that they dispose of materials. If you produce hazardous materials, you must be especially careful. A slip-up here could cost you significant financial penalties. A violation of the Resource and Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA) couldcost a civil penaltyof up to $70,117per day,per violation. Clean Air Act violations can reach $93,750.Aside from financial penalties, youll also need to consider any legal costs associated with them.
A damaged reputation is another risk of violating fines. If you make headlines by pumping thousands of gallons of hazardous waste into the ocean, the public isnt likely to be very happy with you. The reaction may hurt sales and make for a very stressed-out PR team. You can alleviate these concerns by ensuring your business doesnt generate an excess of harmful materials or dispose of them improperly. Working with the expert team at ERC can give you peace of mind due to the knowledge that your business is complying with complex disposal regulations. We will also streamline the process for you, making it as easy as possible.
You may think your business isnt big enough to be a significant contributor of waste, but waste management can work for companies of any size. If one office building of 7,000 workers recycled all of its paper, plastic and corrugated waste in a year, they wouldreduce greenhouse gas emissionsby 1,200 metric tons of carbon equivalent, equal to taking 900 cars off the road.
Regardless of how you do it, all recycling costs money, time and energy, but you can minimize how much of that even needs doing. The best way to reduce waste management costs is by reducing the waste that needs managing. There are a variety of strategies you can use to reduce and reuse the materials you use in the first place.
You can do this in-house or hire an expert. Smaller businesses may be able to get by with an in-house audit, but larger, more intricate companies will likely want to hire outside help with more resources and expertise. However you choose to run it, a waste audit identifies areas where your facility can reduce the use of materials and improve its disposal practices, among other goals.
Find areas where you canreduce or reuse materials. Take a walk through an average day at the office or worksite and review the material used in each operation. Are there any places where you can reduce material usage? You may be able to start using more emails instead of printing out company-wide memos or install hand dryers in bathrooms. If you dont already shut off the lights when not in use, you can save significant energy costs there. Here are a few more ways you can reduce your energy and materials used.
While small businesses probably dont have the means to apply these next few suggestions, large companies may be able to make significant changes. One big eco-friendly initiative could be to installsolar panels. While their upfront cost is nothing to sneeze at, solar panels could offer a profit ofover $41,000 after 25 years, depending on the location and utility costs. They also eliminate the concern of rising and fluctuating utility costs. If youre serious about going green, solar energy can be an efficient long-term solution, and grants are often available to help with purchases.
You can similarly implement wind turbines or hybrid vehicles. If you live in a windy area without a particularly energy-heavy operation, a wind turbine or two may be enough to significantly reduce or pay off your electric bills. Once paid off, a turbine can provide additional revenue from the utility company. Hybrid vehicles use much less gas than traditional cars.
Another way to reduce your usage is by examining your workplace efficiency. For manufacturers, a review of your layout, equipment choices and production process could offer decreased energy and materials consumption. You may want to talk to equipment vendors for suggestions on how to run the machines as efficiently as possible, such as using less material or creating less waste and byproducts.
Consider what kinds of materials you are using. If you opt for a hazardous substance over a nonhazardous one, you are likely creating a bigger headache for yourself. Hazardous materials are more expensive to get rid of and come with more regulatory stipulations. It is easier to run into compliance issues with hazardous materials. See if there are nonhazardous alternatives that can minimize the amount of hazardous waste you generate.
If you generate a lot of oil waste, remember that it can be recycled. Oil doesnt wear out it merely gets dirty and doesnt work as well. Recycling oil keeps a valuable resource in use and prevents it from polluting the environment. Re-refined oil can be used as lubricants, processed into fuel oils and be used as raw materials. The re-refined oil isequivalent to virgin oil, passing the prescribed tests, and can sometimes outperform virgin oil.
See if you can donate any of your materials to local organizations. Not only does this avoid creating waste, but you can gain some clout in the community and a nice PR bump. Churches, Boys & Girls Clubs and schools are all places that may be able to repurpose your old materials. You could also work this into press coverage. A news story about the local animal shelter using your donated supplies to revamp a deteriorating space? That wouldnt be a bad headline, would it?
Industrial-sized tools may help prepare your waste for the disposal process. Compactors can save you space by pressing large quantities of trash into a smaller area.This process can be especially valuable for businesses with less space, like restaurants and bars.Doing this can help you use fewer pickups to collect more waste, saving you money as well. And you dont need to make a hefty investment for this. ERC offers roll-off compactors. A baler works similarly to a compactor, but it compresses materials down into a dense bale and bundles everything together. It eliminates the need for a bin and, again, will save you space. You can have fewer pickups and dont need to pay for containers.
Depending on your location and business, you may qualify for grants, tax breaks or other incentives for green initiatives. If your recycling efforts require a larger fund for the startup,grants can helpwith financing. Popular targets for these grants include the implementation of solar or wind power. Many states also offer tax incentives for businesses that recycle or reduce waste. You can search theDatabase of State Incentives for Renewables and Efficiencyto see what is offered in your state. Heres a tip: Filter your results by sector and navigate to your category of business to see the results that will apply to you.
Investing more in a durable, long-lasting tool or piece of equipment can help you reduce waste. Throwing out one device after years of use is much more resourceful than throwing out multiples. Depending on the application, better equipment may reduce the need for replacement parts or maintenance components, like filters and oil changes. Higher-quality materials also tend to perform better and can improve efficiency.
If you distribute product to consumers, run a restaurant or participate in any number of other industries, you may be a perpetrator of unnecessary packaging. Do a thorough review of your products and make sure that every component of your packaging is necessary. Eliminate any extra plastic or other materials that you can.
You could also try and replace your packaging with recycled materials. These materials are often cheaper and can be a great way to show your customers your commitment to sustainability. Since83 percent of consumersfeel that environmentally friendly product design is important or extremely important, using sustainable materials can significantly boost your company image. As compared to five years ago, 72 percent say they actively buy more environmentally friendly products.
Most people see plastic as the least responsible type of packaging, and with good reason. Plastic doesnt degrade at anywhere near the speed of paper goods, leaving it to take up space in landfills and bodies of water for years to come. Aluminum, on the other hand, is highly recyclable. It can be reused over and over without any loss of quality, and recycled aluminum saves95 percent of the energyrequired to make the same amount of aluminum from a virgin source. Choose your materials carefully. This can save you on costs associated with recycling more expensive items.
Once youve decided how exactly youre going to reduce and reuse your materials, be sure to communicate it. Train employees appropriately. You can even hold events or competitions to encourage green practices and jump-start your recycling campaign. Update any policies or add new ones if necessary. If youre focusing heavily on your company image, you may want to release information about your sustainability initiatives. An email blast, press release or blog post are all ways you can do this.
After youve reduced and reused, you are still likely to have some waste left over. At that point, a responsible waste management facility can take care of it, whether that is through recycling, more reuse or disposal. ERC offers a variety of waste management solutions that will efficiently take care of your waste and recyclables in an environmentally sound and cost-effective way. Once its on our trucks, you can take it off your mind. We will collect your waste, find and process reusable and recyclable materials and dispose of whatever is left through a process that is as smooth as possible for you.
Be sure to choose a provider that has the necessary permits and knowledge to treat and dispose of the different types of waste you may generate. Also, look for one that prioritizes recycling and processes any materials they can. ERC does this and can streamline the process for your organization while thinking about your bottom line. Here are a few waste disposal and recycling services that may apply to your business, all offered by ERC.
In an industry with strict regulation likethe pharmaceutical industry, you need a waste management service you can trust. ERC provides documented tracking information through the entire process, from pickup to disposal. You need a company that is well-certified and adheres to all pharmaceutical regulations. Youll likely have many types of containerized wastes to be collected, both hazardous and nonhazardous, along with bulk liquid and sludges. Lab packing is one collection method you may want to consider. This method involves collecting smaller containers of chemical waste in larger bins. Secure destruction is another service youll want to ensure that your sensitive information is protected.
Construction and demolition activitiescan generate a lot of waste from many different sources, which is where a waste management company can make your job easier. They can handle your concrete, building, roofing, tank removal and HVAC waste, along with any building debris. Companies like ERC will take the time-consuming process of construction waste disposal and recycling off your hands. We can come to you with a variety of roll-off dumpsters and can reach your project site almost anywhere in the Mid-Atlantic region.
Manufacturers companiescan have a variety of unique waste management needs, and a service company can provide these, often cheaper than in-house options. ERC focuses on sustainability and personalized service, providing custom solutions for industrial, chemical, cosmetic and electronic manufacturing, among many others. Some of our services include tank management, wastewater treatment, containerized waste collection and oil recovery and recycling. We can also help with facility shutdowns and industrial cleaning.
If your business generates a significant amount ofoil waste, you may need field service, waste transportation and disposal. Waste services can provide environmentally friendly recycling and disposal. They can also offer wastewater treatment and take care of your hazardous and nonhazardous wastes.
As weve discussed the methods of recycling and disposal, youve likely gathered that there are several benefits to addressing your business waste management policy. A successful approach to your commercial waste can positively affect your operation and the environment in many ways.
Of course, waste management isnt without its drawbacks. You still want to use disposal and recycling as little as you can resorting to waste disposal should indicate that youve exhausted all efforts to reduce and reuse your materials. Reducing and reusing products can be vitally important to minimize the burden on landfills. Below are some of the difficulties associated with a waste management solution and how you can mitigate their adverse effects. You may need to select which aspects are most important to you. For example, if you care more about convenience than cost, you may want to schedule more pickups.
Though business waste management can be a complicated process, ERC makes it simple for you. By working with a streamlined, turnkey service provider, you can save on the costs and headaches associated with your waste disposal. We can take a variety of wastes from whatever containers work best for your operation. We can also generate custom solutions for the treatment and disposal of the materials you handle the most.Get in Touch with Mechanic