Sustainable Practices: Recycling Solutions for Small Businesses

Small businesses can still generate a significant amount of waste when they’re dealing with the production of their products and upkeep of their office space. With sustainable practices at the forefront of consumers’ minds, what recycling solutions can these businesses adopt?

The first step to sustainable practices for your business is to implement good waste management. At SL Recycling, we are the leading provider for metal and waste recycling in South Wales. In this article we’ll discuss the recycling needs of small benefits, how to recycle more, and the benefits increased sustainability can offer.

For support with your commercial waste management, don’t hesitate to get in touch.

The Recycling Needs of Small Businesses

We’ll start by addressing the recycling needs that businesses face. This involves getting an understanding of where waste comes from, and how it might be mitigated. Knowing what activities produce waste is the beginning of your journey in implementing sustainable practices.

The recycling needs and responsibilities of small businesses can be split into three main categories: manufacturing, transportation, and day-to-day activities.

1.     Manufacturing

One of the largest sources of waste products will be from your manufacturing process. Creating products involves using lots of different materials for both the item and its packaging.

Reducing the amount of packaging used in your products while increasing the sustainability of packaging you do use is a great solution to recycling. Not only will you cut down on the amount you spend on packaging, but you’ll be able to recycle a lot more of the materials you produce.

Consider options like:

  • Recycled plastics
  • Paper and cardboard made from sustainable sources
  • Reduced/thinner materials using high-strength, renewable alternatives
  • Interesting packaging solutions from materials like bamboo

Another way in which you can reduce waste from manufacturing your products is to make them with their entire lifecycle in mind. This involves where you source the materials from, the energy used in production, the journey to the customer, and the reuse or recycling of the product after its intended use is complete.

2.     Transportation

Transporting materials and completed products uses up a lot of fuel. This results in damage to the environment and an increased carbon footprint.

While not specifically about recycling, being eco-conscious about your transportation methods is step towards sustainability for your business. Some steps you can take to improve the impact of your transportation are to:

  • Consider whether your current methods of transportation are the most efficient
  • Find places to reduce weight and packaging to increase the number of products you can deliver per trip
  • Explore alternative, more environmentally friendly options like electric vehicles or local courier services

3.     Day-to-Day Activities

While creating your products does make up the majority of the materials and waste you’ll generate, your day-to-day office activities are also a contributing factor to your overall waste.

Paper waste from documentation and mail; coffee jars; food waste; and packaging like bottles, cans, cartons, and more. All of these are common sources of waste in an office environment.

Reducing the amount of waste that goes to landfill is a good start. Introduce recycling bins that separate the different types of recyclable waste and ensure your employees know which is which.

The next step would be to consider more consciously what you buy. Try switching mail to a paperless, online format. Buy products that were made sustainably. Perform an audit of the things you use and determine where you can cut back.

The impact might not be enormous, but all of these steps feed into a sustainable mindset and help to improve the recycling practices of your business.

Increase the effects of your recycling efforts with our article on what plastics can and cannot be recycled >

How To Manage Waste and Recycle More

Managing waste can be easily improved in a number of different ways.

You can start by implementing sustainable practices to your business. We’ve detailed some of them above, but another easy way to increase your sustainability is to outsource your recycling to good waste management providers. Experts will know how to manage your waste effectively, creating a simple way to cut down on waste while recycling more.

Next, consider what the waste points are in your products and activities. Be conscious of what can be recycled or reused and how this can be done – then, introduce recyclable components to parts of the process where there are currently gaps.

Separate Your Waste into Categories

There are lots of different categories that you should split your business waste into to aid with the recycling process. Not only will this make things easier for the recyclers and increase the overall impact of your sustainability efforts, but it will ensure you don’t exceed the capacity or weight limits of your bins.

The primary channels for waste products are:

  • Cardboard
  • Food
  • Metal
  • General waste
  • Hazardous waste
  • Wood waste
  • Plastics
  • Glass

There are smaller and more nuanced classifications for recyclable materials, like different grades of wood or types of metal, but if you follow these categories you should be in a great position to increase the effect of your recycling.

Plus, having clearly labelled sections about what you can recycle might decrease the number of recyclable materials that could otherwise end up going to landfill!

Find ways to improve your waste management – contact SL Recycling today.

Benefits of Recycling for Businesses

Recycling benefits more than just the environment – it can provide advantages to operating your business as well. For example, recycled materials are typically cheaper than ones made from virgin resources, leading to a decrease in procurement costs while supporting sustainable practices.

Making your packaging thinner is another good way to introduce recycling while receiving benefits, as less materials used can mean greater profit margins for your business.

The key benefits of recycling for businesses, small or large, are:

  • Reduced costs for materials
  • Reduced carbon footprint from production and transportation
  • Increased sustainability of resources and practices
  • Support your corporate-social responsibility (CSR) activities
  • Contribute to a greener society

Need some tips on how to manage manufacturing waste? Read our article for more >

Good Waste Management from SL Recycling

To conclude: consider your waste points, identify ways to cut down on waste, think sustainably, and introduce better recycling practices. If that doesn’t sound simple, outsourcing your waste management might be the way to go.

To get started with implementing better waste management for your business, get in touch with SL Recycling. See our waste management or specialist metal recycling services to find out more or read on with some related articles.

Explore the full scope of waste management in our ultimate guide >

Discover the benefits of outsourcing your business’s waste management >

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