Business Cents: Save Money by Reducing Waste

business teamReduce, reuse and recycle are words we’ve heard for several years now. These terms are intended to foster an environmental awareness in people. Many people have taken the ideas to heart and are implementing greener practices in their homes.

However, businesses might not necessarily be on the same page. Some businesses have embraced the practice of reducing waste in their organizations, and they should be commended. Not only are those businesses aiding the environment, they’re saving money in the process.

There are several steps that businesses can take to ensure that they’re only using what they need and recycling or repurposing what they don’t. With just a few simple changes, you and your business can be on the path to a greener life and exceptional savings.

Conserve Energy

The idea of energy conservation is a simple one, but it encompasses many aspects of day-to-day business functions. A great place to begin is by contacting your local energy company. Enquire if they offer energy monitors you can install in your office. These monitors give accurate power readings and can help you determine areas where power is overused. Some businesses report saving as much as 40 percent on their bills after using an energy monitor.

If you own a small business, you probably waste time and fuel daily while running errands. Consider ideas that allow you to eliminate part or all of the driving that you do. One of the best business shipping solutions allows you to print and pay for postage from your office computer, eliminating the need to visit the post office. Carefully evaluate your office supply usage and try to visit the store only once per month. Not only will these tactics save you money on gas, you may find that you’re reducing your overall consumption as well.

Reuse Everything

casual team meetingThere are many little things that go on in an office that are incredibly wasteful, and few people seem to notice. However, with just a few small changes these wasteful practices can be eliminated.

Purchase reusable plates, silverware, cups and glasses for the office kitchen, and discourage disposable eating utensils on the premises. For larger office functions when everyone might be eating at once, consider renting table settings from a caterer to avoid the wasteful use of paper plates and disposable cutlery.

Find creative solutions to eliminate paper waste. Reuse paper that’s been printed on one side as scratch paper or note pads. Use outdated office stationery in the same way. Save manila envelopes and consider passing around office memos rather than printing a copy for each person.

Reduce or Eliminate Packaging

One of the biggest contributors to office waste is product packaging. While this might seem like it’s impossible to avoid, there are definite solutions to the problem. Many suppliers and vendors are working with customers to tackle the issue. See if your preferred suppliers are on this waste reducing bandwagon. If they’re not, encourage them to look into it.

While some packaging is unavoidable, there are ways to deal with the waste responsibly. Reuse boxes and other packaging materials as often as possible. If your office has no need for larger boxes or packaging materials, perhaps one of your employees or another nearby business does. Check with your local recycling bureau and ask about their cardboard, plastic and plastic foam recycling programs. If you live in a larger city, chances are good that you can arrange a pickup for these materials.

Another good way to reduce packaging waste is to buy recycled products instead of new ones. Consider purchasing refurbished computers and office machines if possible, and check estate sales and thrift stores for reusable office furniture and supplies. These types of practices save money and encourage others to shop in a similar manner.

Involve Everyone

Reducing office waste is not just a management issue, it’s a companywide issue. Encourage all of your team to become involved in waste reduction around the office. Ask each department to monitor their own waste practices, and schedule a monthly meeting to allow everyone to compare their results.

Consider making an incentive program for recycling and energy use reduction. Set monthly energy savings goals and ask each department to participate. The management team can use the money saved to reward the office for a job well-done, perhaps in the form of a party or a donation to an environmental charity.

With these simple solutions, your business will be on its way to greener practices, reduced waste and increased savings. Investigate your wasteful practices today and take the necessary steps to eliminate them. The planet and your wallet will thank you.


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