HomeEditor's PicksMake Waste Work for your business – by Alastair Roy, Aro Procurement

Make Waste Work for your business – by Alastair Roy, Aro Procurement

Looking for ways to minimise what goes to landfill to extract value from your own and other waste streams by reusing, repurposing or refurbishing should always be a consideration in every business.

This is not a case for hoarding, but instead carefully considering when you have a refurbishment if items such as light fittings, carpets and other FF&E could have an extended life in another location or perhaps in another business. The items could potentially be sold or donated but the main benefit is that the business is minimising its waste footprint and in addition it is saving on waste uplift costs.

It is often the easiest option to ditch the old and bring in the new, especially when space is tight for storage and ideas for reusing are thin on the ground. However, by weaving the thought process throughout your business that there is often a use for discarded materials either now or in future, benefits will arise. 

If you have landscaped areas within your premises, you will no doubt be aware that coffee grounds have long been touted as fertiliser because they contain nutrients including nitrogen, phosphorous and potassium – just spread them on to your soil or add to the compost pile. If you really want to prevent more landfill with heavy, damp coffee grounds, think about bagging them up for collection by your guests and customers. 

A more left field suggestion if you are thinking of carpark resurfacing is mixing plastic waste materials to an aggregate of crushed stones and sand before adding heated bitumen when resurfacing car parks and driveways. This is one way of recycling waste in an environmentally friendly way.  which also makes for a smoother and more long-lasting surface. By incorporating discarded plastic bags, bottles and other related waste to the repurposed mix you will not only be helping to reduce carbon emissions but also avoid filling landfill and ocean floors with even more plastics. 

Look at your supply chains for ways to extract waste before goods reach your doorstep. Engage with your suppliers to discuss how they are approaching the elimination of waste and include it as a decision-making factor in addition to pricing, service and quality because ultimately it has an impact on cost to your P&L, as well as the environmental cost. How much of the packaging is returnable and how much can be avoided in the first instance? Find ways of constantly reusing the same packaging whilst ensuring it is hygienic. 

Another key element is finding a great waste partner supplier and work with them to review all strands of your business to determine how you could be more efficient and how you can better educate your team members on managing waste streams. With sustainability seemingly being front and centre of everything right now, there will be team members who will be quite passionate about this subject. Harness that passion and direct it in a way which brings everyone on the journey to really think about what is coming in and out of the business. 

Take control and demonstrate where value can be realised from previously untapped sources and integrate the mindset that finding ways of reusing and reducing waste can help to increase profits. It is the right thing to do from an environmental standpoint but it can make the business more successful. Customers will often make decisions to stay in a hotel, dine in a restaurant or drink in a bar if the business makes clear its commitment to being ethical and responsible. Although waste may seem remote from such decisions, it is one of the elements that can help make a difference that customers will appreciate. 

For advice on waste streams contact alastair@aroprocurement. com

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