Why upcycling your business waste is good for business and the environment

With the rising cost of materials, not only is making use of resources efficiently and reducing the amount of business waste a great way to save financially, but it is also good for the environment.

The price of sending rubbish to landfills across the country and especially in London is increasing, so also are restrictions and things that can be recycled. Companies can face heavy fines for failing to properly handle rubbish or having the appropriate paperwork and processes for the disposal of commercial waste in London. This is why you should consider upcycling

business upcycling

There are several benefits your company can get by lowering, recycling, reusing, and recovering their waste. But bear in mind that waste clearance activities such as recovery and recycling also use energy, so you should always try to prioritize reducing waste in the first instance. Waste clearance costs companies up to 4 percent, on average, of their turnover which is enough of a good reason to start thinking about alternatives like upcycling.

Benefits of upcycling

Saving money

All businesses generate waste that can be expensive to dispose of. Upcycling rubbish has the potential to save and make you money. There are also other indirect costs that can affect  the price of waste disposal such as staff effort and time, cost of storage, plus handling and transportation. All of which can be reduced if you were to upcycle some of your waste.

Legal compliance & corporate responsibility

Every company has a duty to responsibly dispose of their waste, so as to avoid facing penalties and to enjoy some peace of mind, it helps to have a waste disposal/recycling strategy for your business. Aside from legal implications, corporate responsibility is a keystone for many businesses and being open about your carbon footprint is something that customers view in a very positive light. This is another area in which upcycling your commercial waste could help your business.

Environmental change

By embracing sustainable behaviours and processes such as upcycling business waste, your company can reduce the negative impact on the environment. When waste is disposed of in landfills, it contributes greatly to climate change, and one of the largest contributors to this are businesses. Waste in landfills sits there and decays over time, creating dangerous greenhouse gases that can seriously damage the environment. Furthermore, transportation to the disposal sites produces additional emissions.

Competitive advantage

The shifting trend towards a green environment will affect how your company will get future contracts. With the rise in environmental concerns, the more customers will want to buy green. When you put in place measures to lower waste it will give you a competitive advantage over competitors who are not as serious about their waste management.

If your organisation generates a huge amount of waste, it can usually be associated directly to inefficiencies in your processes and systems. Having a change to your rubbish collection strategy depends on the approach you take.

There are additional things that can be done to help your company reduce its waste, such as:

  • Knowing the nature of waste produced: An easy way of establishing the types of waste produced in your company is to take a look into the trash bin.
  • Separate wastes according to types: It is necessary to know the things that can be reused or recycled. Also, you need to have different bins for waste that will end up in landfills and those for recycling.
  • Have a waste reduction program: Introducing this program will be great to build communication and cooperation among employees on reducing waste.
  • Review your business products: You can save big by doing this. If the cost of rubbish removal in London is more than the cost of production, then that could be a problem.
  • Go green: Ensure your supplier brings materials and products that are environmentally friendly since they are easier to recycle and dispose of.
  • Save on paper: Instead of printing documents in the form of hard copies, save them on drives and send them via email.
  • Get an environmentally friendly printer: Ensure your printer prints double-sided pages and use small fonts as much as possible.
  • Make use of e-billing programs: To pay your bills so as to save as much paper as possible.
  • Use paper clips: As much as you can, make use of paper clips rather staples
  • Reuse envelopes: That have metal clamps and also file folders for sticking labels over older ones.

How to upcycle your business waste and save the environment

One average, the waste from a commercial premises contains three-quarters cardboard and paper, 12 percent food waste, and 6 per cent plastic and glass. This means that you can recycle almost 95 per cent of the rubbish generated, and also upcycle a lot of that too.

In order to begin the process of upcycling and reusing your waste products you need to have a plan of how to process them. To get started you could:

1. Audit the waste generated by your business

It is impossible to upcycle your waste without having an understanding of the various waste areas of your company. Start off by having a general look around and then begin going into specifics once you understand where the waste cycle begins. Speak to your workers to see if they have an idea of the amount of unnecessary waste packaging or product that is being generated. You can also ask employees if they can see areas that are using excessive raw materials.

2. Provide training for your employees

Your employees are the people that can make all the difference. Keep them informed on any waste initiatives you intend to undertake within the business and ensure they understand the benefits that these changes will have. Provide the appropriate training to make it easier to implement your strategies.

3. Streamline the management of your waste clearance

Following the above, you can now begin to streamline how you manage your commercial waste. There are various things to consider that can affect the impact of your waste management and the strategy you develop will likely be unique to your business due to the type of waste and also the circumstances around you that determine what your options are. Sometimes the answer is to outsource your waste management to a waste disposal company, and sometimes it helps to have a hybrid model whereby your staff manage the filtering of the waste and then an external team manage it thereafter.

4. Reuse and recycle

By gathering useful data from the tasks above, your business can see areas to lower usage, reuse materials, and recycle others. By lowering your impact on landfills, the environmental profile of your organisation will be improved and you can save money whilst saving the environment.

Ideas for upcycling

Upcycling requires you to get creative, which is why we’ve listed a few ideas below to get you started:

  • Reupholstering old office chairs.
  • Building office furniture/games from scrap materials or packaging.
  • Setting up team building activities where staff need to upcycle a seemingly boring item of office equipment.
  • Selling old office furniture of Facebook Marketplace.

Harsha Rathnayake is the founder and director of Junk Hunters, a rubbish removal and waste management service that started life as a man and van, and now serves thousands across the country each year. Junk Hunters has now grown from its London base to 3 other locations thanks to their franchisees, and continues to grow thanks to their emphasis on an honest and reliable service.