Recycling - are you doing enough?
Do you find yourself questioning the importance of recycling? It’s easy to overlook it as something that’s beneficial in the long term – but, when you have an endless list of tasks to complete, meetings to attend and clients to keep happy, it can easily fall down the priority list.
To think in this way is to miss the point; yes it can seem that recycling is filled with lofty aspirations, but there are also real benefits to experience now. Most of these benefits come down to one thing; your bottom line.
When viewed from an economic point of view, there are some very real positives to be had from recycling. For example, increasing your company’s recycling habits could lead to a drop in your landfill tax. Whilst this admittedly depends on your area of business, it’s a concrete benefit for many organisations. By reducing the amount you send to landfills, you are also opening up the possibility of renegotiating your waste management contracts; less waste to be disposed of by your provider often equals less cost at your end.
According to research carried out by recycling think tank, WRAP, over 25% of organisations who recycle have found that they saved space by having designated areas and clearly labelled vessels for each material. This, in turn, can significantly reduce the risk of accidents.
Boosting favourable brand awareness is another positive effect of having a rigorous recycling policy in place. A shift in public consciousness has meant that companies employing significant green policies are more likely to be respected and engaged with. It is getting to the point where not only could you attract new customers by going green, but you could also put yourself in a position to attract talented employees.
Job seekers are beginning to factor a company’s green reputation into their calculations. Approaching recycling from this angle requires a more long term reflection, but if you attract more customers as well as the most skilled employees, you’re likely to increase profits. This logic also extends to sponsorship and investment.
Without a robust green strategy, potential investors may either pass you over or request that you put in place more stringent measures, so it’s best to implement one as soon as possible. Research from WRAP has shown that a third of businesses who recycle say it has improved their reputation within the local community.
In the same way that it is possible to increase external positivity surrounding your company by recycling, it is also possible to do so internally. There is a noticeable boost in morale when companies successfully implement recycling campaigns. Employees begin to take more pride and responsibility when they know that their company is making a difference environmentally. This boost in morale can be capitalised on further by invoking your employees’ spirit of competition; pit departments against each other to determine which is the most efficient, thus boosting the company’s overall recycling efforts and profiting from a more productive workforce.
The environmental consequences of recycling are drastic; choosing to recycle something biodegradable instead of sending it to landfill reduces the amount of methane released into the atmosphere. Methane is commonly regarded as a greenhouse gas that is 26x more potent than carbon dioxide. The European Commission's Joint Research Centre (JRC) found that the waste of an average office is 60-80% paper, so leaving your paper waste to rot rather than repurposing it can contribute quite significantly to climate change. Recycling isn’t limited to paper either; the list of readily recyclable products includes glass and aluminium as well electrical equipment and printer cartridges - all of which require far less resources to be recycled than to be created from scratch.
Although recycled products aren’t necessarily cheaper than their ‘new’ counterparts, if trends continue and more people begin recycling, this should increase the amount of recycled products being purchased. Economies of scale dictate that as a result of this there will be a drop in cost and, potentially, an even bigger boost to your bottom line.
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