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3 Steps to EH&S Sustainability with Backend Tactics

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It is estimated that “avoidable waste” costs businesses up to 4.5% of their annual revenue. Your triple bottom line combats this by creating favorable connections between the economic, social and sustainable aspects of your business. When executed properly, it can positively impact your customers, brand, employees, and budget.

Most companies, until recently, have considered sustainability only in regards to its product. At a glance, this makes sense. If the product is “green” then the producer becomes “green.” To achieve this, companies have done everything from switching over to earth-derived post-consumer materials to reducing packaging size to comply with competitor benchmarks and the social demand for eco-friendly manufacturing. While these strategies can be effective, they can be expensive and difficult to execute.

Have no fear, you don’t have to make time-consuming expensive changes to your product to make your consumers think of you as a sustainable, green brand. 

Look at Subaru.  In 2008, when similar companies improved their triple bottom line through hybrid vehicles – the staple of a “green” automobile brand – this company found a cheaper, easier alternative. It ran a marketing campaign that it had reached zero-landfill status. Subaru was named automobile marketer of the year and attained a lasting “green” status in the public eye.

How can you do the same? Let’s look at three easy steps you can take to improving your triple bottom line.

1. Reduce

First, look to reduce waste. I assure you: excess exists. It’s not uncommon for purchasing departments to buy in bulk to reduce up-front cost. This often means inflated disposal costs and a big black mark on your sustainability report. Here are some common types of excess waste that you can cut from your day-to-day purchasing.

  • Paper: proofread documents before printing or opt to go paper free entirely
  • Invest in dishwasher equipment for your company kitchen to reduce plastic ware usage
  • Use cloth towels in restroom.
  • Educate your employees about best practices
  • Eliminate unnecessary packaging
  • Avoid over-ordering materials 

2. Reuse

Ever heard the saying “one man’s trash is another man’s treasure? The second opportunity to “green” your brand is through waste reuse. This tactic involves a company finding repurposing opportunities for materials that would otherwise be waste. This tactic will require time, planning and consideration. 

For most raw materials, the possibilities for reuse are practically endless. Talc and mica, for example, are used extensively in personal care products. They are also used in paint, asphalt, cement, rubber and plastic. So, a company’s talc and mica waste could be used in manufacturing the plastic containers that house their product.  Waste that was formerly a scuff on a sustainability report disappears and disposal costs will deflate. Below are a few helpful resources for reuse ideas, but a simple Google search will work wonders.

After you have a few ideas on how to reuse your waste, it’s important to categorize waste stream reuse by profitability and achievability. Ask yourself: How easily can the reuse cycle be created and maintained?

3. Recycle

When reduction and reuse opportunities have been tapped, measured, and optimized, there is one action left to take: recycle. Bottles, cans, wooden pallets, plastic wrapping, and metal – in all of their forms – are recyclable materials. Here are some ideas for your recycling endeavors:

  • Compost
  • Buy recycled materials
  • Create a recycling sorting center (this could be a great way to engage and involve employees)
  • Send your waster to a center that converts waste-to-energy. This technology can replace landfill as a waste management method, completely.

For details on what’s recyclable and how you can recycle it, check here.

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By taking steps like these, Wal-Mart was able to reduce its waste by 80 percent in California. With a growing customer demand “green” brands, businesses can find simple, cost effective ways to be “green.” By reducing, reusing, and recycling, you can set your company on a path to satisfied customers and a better environment. You can grow your triple bottom line.

 Want more information with your triple bottom line? Come to our upcoming webinar on waste minimization or check out our case studies in the links below.

 Want more information with your triple bottom line? Come to our upcoming webinar on waste minimization view the agenda in the link below.
 

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Or check out our case study examples on how we can help you reduce your waste.


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