6 Tips For A Zero Waste Business

Throughout the year, we help businesses and organisations of all sizes reduce their non-recyclable waste, preserve resources and save money. Forward-thinking businesses know it makes sense to reduce environmental impact and that employees and customers are demanding this more and more. According to research, 59% of consumers said they expect companies to make a stand on climate and environmental issues and Forbes tell us that “65% of employees would seriously consider leaving their job if their company harmed the environment”.

If you’re wondering where to get started, here are a few suggestions:

Switch To Bulk Bag Packaging

Any tips that apply to individual householders can be scaled up to a large business. We recommend that householders buy in bulk because it generally results in less packaging overall. If your business handles a large volume of products, consider switching to an eco-friendlier option that’ll allow you to store and transport them properly without causing harm to the environment.

Among those worth looking into are flexible intermediate bulk containers (FIBCs) or bulk bags. These can be reused by several industries in some situations, and damaged bags can be recycled to manufacture new ones. Given their sustainability, FIBCs are great for when you want to implement a zero waste business.

Look for reliable bulk bag suppliers online and find one that offers recycling to close the loop.

Manage Fleets Wisely

Whether you own a small business that uses three vehicles for its daily operations or run a large company whose fleet includes hundreds of trucks, vans, and buses, fuel management programs can save you significant amounts of money and cut energy consumption by significant amounts. Learning how to manage a business fleet is one of the true win-win situations in commercial industry.

Not only can fleet software and programs slash fuel use but owners save money by reducing expenditures via better transportation efficiency. Decreasing waste caused by fuel theft and preventing waste from repairs with timely diagnostics are just two of the ways a fleet fuel management system can impact your business’s bottom line.

Remove Plastic Cups 

Some estimates say that half a trillion disposable cups are manufactured annually around the world; that’s over 70 disposable cups for every person on the planet.  If your company uses regular vending machine cups that are then thrown in the bin, this can add up to considerable waste. Depending on the size of your company there are several sustainable options. You can look for a provider to supply cup-less machines, which mean your staff can use their own ‘cup for life’. There are options for closed loop recycling, companies which offer biodegradable cups – which can be composted – and even a company who offer paper cups which can be recycled with office paper, which brings us onto tip number three…

Reduce Paper Use

As I type this sentence, around 199 tonnes of paper has been produced. It will take 24 trees to produce one tonne of paper. While there are instances where printed documents have to be given to customers, especially for legal documents, you can still try to limit how many of those you produce within a day.

Although individuals and businesses are reducing paper usage in some instances, there is still a long way to go. A paper audit is a great place to start, so you are in full receipt of the facts. From there, you can look at where you might reduce paper use in order to become as paperless as possible. Some quick wins are to set all printers to duplex and to ask staff to consider whether they need to print something at all. It’s often just as effective to send a document via email. And if you produce receipts, ask the customer before printing them off – if the transaction is a small amount or the person paid by card, they often don’t want a receipt.

If you are a smaller company, here are some ideas for recycling office paper.


tips for a zero waste sustaianble business

Set Up Recycling Bins

One of the simplest things we did had home, which had maximum impact, was to swap the kitchen bin for recycling bins. At the beginning of this article, we mentioned that most Zero Waste measures taken in the home, can be scaled up to the workplace. The key to driving behaviour change is to make it simple. So set up well labeled, segregated recycling bins that are easily accessible to staff. One company we featured, went so far as to remove individual desk bins in order to make staff find a recycling solution. This shift of mindset was very successful and, it made staff take a short break from their desks, which is more healthy for them. That’s another win!

Consider Having A Compost Bin

No one likes seeing food being thrown away, but it can still happen from time to time. If there’s space on your premises, consider composting. This will help you reduce any food waste in your office and create a wonderful free compost that can be used on your own land or donated to staff. While you’re at it, why not create a small garden where employees can grow some food or open it up to the public as a community project?

Again, once it’s all set up, educate and engage your staff about what can and can’t go in there. Be sure to set up a rota for taking care of the area; this might be a great time to set up an ‘eco committee’ to tackle all the other areas of waste in your business..


Your business is there to make profits, but not at the expense of the environment. At Zero Waste Week, we educate on the three Ps of the triple bottom line – people, planet, profit.  While it may be difficult at first to get rid of old habits, the Zero Waste changes you’ll make will be absolutely worth it with more staff and customer loyalty, increased financial savings and not to mention that great feeling from being part of the solution. We see time and time again that what we help people do in the home translates into the workplace and vice versa. Educate, inspire and engage your staff and they’ll take that back to their homes so you are having an even greater positive impact on the environment than you might be aware of!

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Rachelle Strauss

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