How to Reduce Waste at Work and Increase Profits

Anna and I work with many businesses, educating them about reducing waste. This nearly always has a positive benefit on profits, especially as we like to model the triple bottom line throughout our workshops and courses.

With the triple bottom line, the emphasis is on measuring social and environmental as well as financial performance. We refer to it as the three P’s – People, Planet and Profit.

Gone are the days when just profit numbers on sheets are enough. These days both customers and staff are demanding 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”.

So what are some of the most effective ways business leaders can reduce their waste? Besides obvious strategies like seeing that product packages use minimal materials, there are solutions involving transport fleets telematics, energy use in the office, encouraging telecommuting, and aiming for a paperless workplace. Here are a few of the most frequently used weapons in the ongoing battle against wastefulness.

Smart Design for Product Packages

Some companies’ most significant source of wasted materials is excessive product packaging. We’ve all received things in the post that has far too much excessive packaging. Readers regularly tag me on social media or send emails with pictures of the latest assault through their letter boxes.  Too often, merchants don’t think ahead or work to avoid redundant wrappings, coverings, seals, and printed labels. When businesses make an effort to minimise components of packaging – while ensuring goods are kept safe – they can not only increase profits but reduce the volume of commercial waste.

Fleet Telematics

Most of us know how to drive a car for better efficiency and it’s no different with haulage. Telematics solutions deliver valuable data about driver behavior, fuel use, locations of drivers and trucks, engine performance, and more. When transport firms use reliable systems and programs to manage large or small commercial fleets, they benefit from efficient operations. You can use such solutions to minimise fuel consumption, develop the shortest routes, and keep massive engines operating at peak efficiency. It’s reported that Samsara has the best telematics in the UK, offering solutions to help keep track of vast amounts of relevant data. Fleet operators rely on detailed information to minimise expenses across the board.


triple bottom line - people planet profits


Programmable Office Thermostats

Those who run small businesses often discover that their best friend in the battle to conserve energy is a programmable thermostat. Even for large corporations with hundreds of office-based workers, a set of low-cost thermostats can reduce annual electricity consumption by a significant amount. And we certainly need that in the midst of such energy price hikes. The simple devices require no special tools or expertise to install, deliver usage reports digitally, and help keep employees comfortable in winter and summer.


Encouraging telecommuting and designing your business to operate with minimal office space is one of the most potent ways to bolster the bottom line and transform how modern organisations function. With proper planning, most small companies can convert at least half of their workforce to home-based arrangements. Many of us tried it out for over a year during lockdown and have learned about some of the benefits. Where my sister-in-law works, she is now expected to work from home permanently, because the company saw the many benefits to people working with families, to reduced cars on the road and reduced running costs in the office.

The Paperless Office

It was just a dream only two decades ago, but now, the paperless workplace has entered a golden age. The advent of the smartphone and tablet helped the trend gain full speed. Today, organisations of all kinds opt to use digital-only communications, data storage, and workflow charts. In addition to vastly reducing the use of wood-based products and paper of all kinds, the new way of working helps businesses nearly eliminate paper-related office supply expenses.

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Rachelle Strauss

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