Businesses have been urged to actively monitor and record their waste and recycling efforts in a bid to understand both their environmental impacts and the costs of such wastage.
A new report by Planet Ark, titled What’s the deal with business waste?, has revealed that while three-quarters of businesses agree that reducing waste and recycling wherever possible is key to being a sustainable and ethical business, more than half (58 per cent) keep next to no records of their waste management.
Ryan Collins, recycling programs manager at Planet Ark, said this is not only causing businesses to overlook ways to reduce their environmental impact, but also the potential cost savings associated with minimising waste.
“Conducting a waste audit is an important step in reviewing a business’ waste management practices and diverting materials from the waste to the recycling stream,” Mr Collins said.
“The return on investment could save your business money.”
In addition to reducing costs through waste minimisation, Mr Collins said environmentally responsible businesses are increasingly being sought out by consumers.
“Having an environmental strategy is something that an increasing number of clients now expect, with 43 per cent of outsourcing companies finding that green factors play a role in the selection process of their clients,” he said.
“Three out of four Australian businesses believe that good waste management improves public perception of the company.”
Half of the SMEs surveyed also saw staff motivational benefits from improving their waste and recycling practices, with many reporting an increased ability to attract and retain talented employees, suggesting that employees who perceive the business they work for to be ethical feel a greater sense of commitment to their employer.
According to Planet Ark figures, Australian businesses produce more than 12.5 million tonnes of waste each year, just under half (46 per cent) of which ends up in landfill.