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Going green: How your business can reduce waste and save money

Mike Doman
Technology Journalist

Mike Doman is a technology, lifestyle, industrial and education writer

Mike Doman
Technology Journalist

Mike Doman is a technology, lifestyle, industrial and education writer

It’s National Recycling Week. And from rebates to plans, there’s a lot businesses can be doing to cut down on waste.

Every year, Aussie businesses throw out thousands of computers, printer cartridges and batteries used during the course of day-to-day business – NSW Environment Protection Authority estimates that NSW alone accounts for 1.8 million tonnes of business waste, of which 70 per cent could be reused or recycled.

For businesses looking to minimise their environmental impact, there are a number of options that can be investigated. These include free waste assessments, internal policies and investment in recycling equipment that can help make the process easier.

To celebrate National Recycling Week, we look at three ways businesses can improve their recycling practices.

A recycling box sitting on the side of a road with a car driving towards it.

Use the right tools

Getting an idea of how much waste your business is generating can go a long way to increasing recycling rates in business, according to NSW Environment Minister Mark Speakman.

“On average, those SMEs that receive a Bin Trim waste assessment increase their recycling rates from 36 to 49 per cent,” he said.

“This not only has the environmental benefit of reducing the estimated 800,000 tonnes of SME waste from landfill every year, it also helps those SMEs that receive a waste assessment to reduce waste management costs by an average of $3,000 per year.”

Have a plan

The next step for your business is to develop a waste-reduction action plan. There are a number of guidelines available online, but as a start, it’s important to look at the following areas of your business:

  1. How much waste do you create, and is it all necessary?
  2. What are you doing from a process perspective to reduce waste?
  3. Do your infrastructure and bins match your waste?
  4. Where can you replace disposable materials with recyclable materials?

From there, it’s possible to set targets, allocate timelines and put people in charge of achieving your goals within the business.

The NSW Government has announced it’s recycling rebate.

You can understand more about getting the initiative by visiting the NSW Environment Protection Authority website.

Find Out More

Apply for rebates

There are a number of government programs available to businesses than can help when it comes to investing in small scale recyclable equipment.

This varies state to state but as an example, the NSW Government has doubled the recycling rebate for small and medium sized enterprises (SMEs) to encourage purchasing small-scale recycling equipment in celebration of National Recycling Week.

To be eligible for the rebate, NSW businesses need to go through a free waste assessment by an approved a NSW Environment Protection Authority assessor and develop a waste-reduction action plan.

If the assessment concludes that recycling equipment will help divert more waste from landfill, the SME can then apply for a rebate to cover half its capital costs of acquiring the small scale recycling equipment (up to $50,000).

The bottom line for Derivan

One business that’s seen huge success from implementing the right process, people and planning is Derivan – an artists’ paint manufacturer in NSW that’s seen savings of $50,000 annually after going through the BinTrim program.

“The BinTrim program, I think, is really good,” says CEO at Derivan, Steven Patterson. “It’s made us actually take a look at what we’ve done.”

“We identified a piece of packaging that we use [and] by changing it around and actually using a different one … we ended up that over a year we should save three and a half tonnes of plastic.”

Watch Derivan’s full story below:

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