Every business generates waste. It’s a fact of life like the weather changing and taxes. When you understand the impact waste management can have on a business's bottom line, the value in doing a better job with it becomes immediately clear. Roughly 300 million metric tons of plastic waste are created every year across the globe. Improperly dealing with waste can affect everything from a business’s reputation to the amount of trash that winds up in the ocean or landfill. It has also become a global concern, going far beyond “it’s just the right thing to do.”
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How managing waste better can help your business
Here are five ways in which responsible waste and recycling management can benefit your business.
1. Cost savings
Taking a hard look at the waste your business generates and how it gets disposed of can equal major cost savings. For larger businesses, that can mean saving money by location and even the company as a whole. Perform a waste audit to find out what’s being thrown away:
- How much of it is paper? What percentage is cardboard?
- What can be recycled instead of landfilled?
- Is there food waste that can be composted?
- Are there differences in the waste generated among locations?
- Do different haulers charge different rates for offices in multiple locations?
- How do staff changes impact the overall amount of waste?
What you’re paying for waste disposal can be tied to things like weight and the fluctuating cost of fuel.
Being proactive in dealing with waste and recycling streams means you know what your business is generating, how much is being generated, and how much you’re paying for it to be managed. Armed with that information, you can then begin to explore ways to drop that cost.
2. Protect supply chains and future profits
Running a company-wide recycling program across dozens of locations with thousands of employees is not easy. But good recycling practices are at the very least a step in the right direction. Protecting the environment means protecting supply chains, which means your business can stay profitable well into the future.
An analysis from one of Wall Street’s major financial institutions last year found more than 5,000 publicly-traded companies and their millions of underlying facilities face “substantial exposure to physical climate risks.” That means rising sea levels, hotter weather, stronger storms, and more of a risk of wildfires and flooding. Finding the best way for your business to deal with waste and recycling that lessens the impacts on the environment helps mitigate those impacts on your operations.
Finding more sustainable ways to conduct your business will also help. There are numerous options when it comes to recyclable packaging for shipments. These use less energy to create, produce less waste, and contribute to a closed-loop process. Many companies are now employing electric vehicles or zero-emissions vehicles in their fleets. That cuts greenhouse gas emissions and saves on fuel costs. Using energy-efficient office equipment also helps cut CO2 emissions as does install solar panels.
3. Contribute to a more favorable reputation and ESG score
As we said before, there’s interest from consumers and investors alike in companies that are pushing toward sustainability. Investing time and money into the management of waste can produce a more favorable public image. That helps attract top talent, builds customer and employee loyalty, and could lead to expanded business opportunities.
On top of that, ESG scores are a big deal for many organizations. Scores include things like a company’s carbon footprint, how it sources its energy, and waste management practices. The higher the score, the better a company is able to mitigate things like climate change. The hope is also that these companies are working toward a more sustainable future.
About a quarter of all professionally managed funds across the globe involve ESG investing in some fashion. At the start of 2020, more than $17 trillion of U.S. assets were managed under ESG strategies. Improving a business’ score could lead to big paydays.
4. Drive toward sustainability and green goalS
There’s a push for corporate America to have a greater hand in fighting climate change. Responsible waste management is one avenue businesses can take to help. Whether your business deals with construction aggregates or logistics for the automotive industry, reducing your trash output means fewer items sent to the landfill. Packaging can be recycled into new products. Concrete, wood, glass, asphalt, and metals can all be recycled. Food waste can be composted instead of landfilled, cutting the impact of methane on global warming. Choosing waste companies that utilize more fuel-efficient trucks or electric vehicles can cut greenhouse gas emissions, impacting potential reporting to the SEC.
Further, many large companies have been accused of greenwashing, in which they market themselves as environmentally friendly but never actually deliver on their promises. Oil and chemical companies are prime examples. They run television ads about cleaning the environment while working to produce more plastic than ever before. Actively working to do a better job of managing waste is one way to fight greenwashing. It not only hurts your brand, but it also does nothing to protect the environment.
A 2021 study found that 75% of millennials and 64% of Gen X consumers are willing to pay more for a brand seen as sustainable. Choosing responsible waste management practices is one way in which companies can meet the values of consumers.
Not dealing with waste in a responsible manner leads to a number of employee and environmental safety problems. Slip hazards are created from overflowing bins. Hazardous materials pose a public health risk. Contaminated ground can lead to long-lasting health issues for plants, animals, and people.
Dealing with waste in the best way possible means taking an active role in protecting the air and water. It means helping your employees and the communities in which your business operates to be healthier and happier.
CLICK HERE: 4 reasons every business should be recycling
The bottom line
The benefits for companies large and small to deal with waste in a better way can mean the difference between a big payday with future profits, and having to shut the doors. It’s a step toward meeting many corporate sustainability goals along with regulatory and investing targets. And consumers have said they want to spend their money with companies that are helping the planet.
RoadRunner can help your business get started dealing with waste in a better way. Our experienced teams can save your business money and help your business meet its green goals. We can leverage our nationwide network of contracted haulers to find the most cost-effective solutions for any waste stream, no matter how complex. RoadRunner boils everything down in an easy-to-understand format whether your business operates one location or thousands. We’re the experts in waste and recycling. Contact us to see how we can take care of it for you.