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How To Introduce Recycling Into Your Business

What can I do
CRISIS - Pollution Crises by Annie Button Global Commons Nov 7th 20237 mins
How To Introduce Recycling Into Your Business

With climate change, sustainability and waste reduction on the agenda of many businesses and corporate leaders, it is important for them to showcase their green credentials publicly and openly. In doing so, these businesses can offer insights into lesser known recycling opportunities in their internal operations, a theme promoted in this year’s Recycling Week campaign in the United Kingdom. 

Hunt for Any Missed Opportunities

The theme for this year’s Recycling Week initiative, celebrated in the UK between October 16-22, 2023, was “The Big Recycling Hunt.” The initiative was a call on individuals and businesses to consider “missed captures”, in other words, items or materials that can be recycled but are not commonly identified as being recyclable

With a special toolkit available and educational resources for teachers and communities to download and share to get local children involved, a part of this year’s campaign was to encourage businesses to share this message and get involved by highlighting the efforts they make throughout the year. 

For CEOs and business leaders, any focused recycling campaign is a unique opportunity for them to prove to their customers, stakeholders, employees, and prospective clients the efforts they are making throughout the year to recycle materials. An ongoing initiative that is communicated between staff and shared online showcases their commitment and dedication to recycling as well as all the practical ways their business contributes to the wider recycling cause. 

Rather than being a business or CEO that falls short, today’s companies should keep identifying and using materials in their manufacturing lines or any operational areas of the business that can be recycled. While some leading companies are doing well at reducing waste and recycling, other businesses need to dig deeper into their internal and external operations to look for missed opportunities and improve their sustainability.

Businesses Should Be Held Accountable 

By shifting away from a linear approach where materials are thoughtlessly discarded, companies can step up and put greater efforts into adopting a circular model. A circular economy aims to eliminate waste by promoting the continual use of resources through strategies like recycling, reusing, repairing and remanufacturing products and materials. It is a regenerative system that minimises depletion of natural resources by using renewable energy and materials. The circular model is adopted by businesses keen to embed their commitment to sustainability and ESG values in a responsible and viable economic structure.

Strategies such as rethinking product design, enabling repair and reuse, and exploring ways to utilise by-products can help make this transformation. By-products are materials or waste produced during manufacturing or production processes as secondary outputs, in addition to the primary product. Common by-products across many industries include materials, such as:

In many cases, these by-products can be identified, recovered and reused or recycled back into production processes or repurposed for other uses rather than being disposed of. For example, sawdust from woodworking can be used for fuel, composting or as a raw material for other products. Likewise, the remnants of ground coffee can be recycled as compost. 

Utilising by-products also promotes a circular economy by reducing waste and the need for additional raw materials. With proper systems and technology for separation and collection, many by-products can be diverted from landfills and their economic value realised through recycling markets or creative reuse. 

To show support and commit to a recycling agenda, businesses worldwide can incorporate effective by-product repurposing initiatives in addition to recycling policies to transition to a more circular operational approach. Additional national campaigns, like planting trees to mark 2023’ National Tree Week (from 25th November to 3rd December) can be pivotal in how businesses set themselves apart from other companies.

You might also like: Is Carbon Offset a Form of Greenwashing?

Why Should Businesses Care About Recycling?

There are many compelling reasons for companies to prioritise recycling:

The last two points highlighted above really illustrate how Recycle Week is a crucial time to drill down on how you, as a brand, are making an active difference in the fight against climate change. Not only can you promote your recycling efforts but you can also showcase other environmental projects and initiatives you have in the pipeline. 

Furthermore, there is reason to believe that, by promoting your recycling efforts through evergreen content, you can earn your business much-needed online visibility, something which is hard to turn your nose up at in this competitive climate. In other words, keep telling your customers and stakeholders what you are doing that is making a positive environmental impact, as Justin Aldridge, Technical Director at SEO Agency Artemis Marketing explained to earth.org, “Companies recognising their role in combating climate change through recycling and other CSR efforts will gain a real competitive edge. From our experience, many of our clients are making the switch to more eco-friendly products, solutions and practices. Promoting sustainability initiatives online can also attract the attention of environmentally-minded prospects who come across this authoritative content during web searches.”

How Can Businesses Improve Recycling?

Recycling policies must be robust and organisation-wide to be truly effective. That can manifest in several different ways for businesses across sectors and regions, but as a loose, top-level guide, here are some top tips to improve your recycling efforts.

Companies can be looking for ways to boost their sustainability efforts and reduce waste. Here are some best practices businesses should consider making recycling a priority at the executive level. When company executives actively champion recycling initiatives, they can inspire other people in the company to follow suit. You can look at appointing a Chief Sustainability Officer or have the CEO directly spearhead programmes to underscore the importance of this issue.

Likewise, look at officially analysing your current waste streams and establish this as a key ongoing task. Appointing a member of staff and creating a senior role tasked with conducting a professional waste audit that monitors current rubbish levels, recycling and compost is a great idea, if finances permit. This will uncover any problem areas or gaps where more recycling could be implemented. Track the full lifecycle of materials from sourcing to disposal to pinpoint improvement opportunities.

In other ways, businesses can implement further changes, including:

You might also like: What Is E-Waste Recycling and How Is it Done?

Recycling Ideas for Businesses

Ready to plan your company’s recycling push? Here are some great initiatives to consider:

Every business, large or small, can take meaningful steps to boost recycling. This Recycle Week, why not put your company’s waste under the microscope and launch new initiatives to reduce and reuse more? Our planet will thank you for it. 

You might also like: Your Guide to Recycling Plastics

Tagged: recycling waste

About the Author

Annie Button

Annie is a freelance writer based in the UK. She has written for a variety of prestigious online and print publications. She specialises in lifestyle, business, branding, digital marketing and HR.

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