If you’re a facilities manager, you’re under growing pressure to trim more waste out of waste management. Waste reduction is now in the spotlight, with its potential to help organizations:
- Control costs. Companies and institutions can see significant bottom-line savings from reducing waste, using more recycled materials, lowering energy consumption, and increasing recycling
- Polish your corporate image. Improving sustainability can attract more desirable tenants and enhance your reputation
- Stand up to stricter scrutiny. The corporate responsibility movement has brought new eyes to examine the way institutions use—and waste—resources
- Shrink your environmental footprint. Waste prevention and recycling reduce greenhouse gas emissions and conserve natural resources, including lumber, metals, and water
Here are 3 tips to help make reducing waste more manageable:
- Measure everything. It’s a fundamental management principle: If you don’t measure it, you can’t control it. Quantify a baseline for every source of waste, including food, packaging, electronics, paper (especially printing), food service supplies, water use, energy use, greenhouse gas emissions and more. To collect data, consult the EPA’s advice on best practices for waste assessment.< https://www.epa.gov/smm/best-practices-wastewise-participants#01> Consider using Energy Star® Portfolio Manager< https://www.energystar.gov/buildings/facility-owners-and-managers/existing-buildings/use-portfolio-manager> to track and manage data for a single building or a portfolio of buildings.
- Set lofty but specific goals. Explore every opportunity to reduce your waste across the product lifecycle. For example:
- Establish a green purchasing policy
- Purchase 100% postconsumer fiber paper products
- Purchase office products with recycled content
- Purchase products that are recyclable/compostable
- Eliminate bottled water
- Minimize paper usage and require double-sided printing
- Follow the principles of environmentally preferable purchasing for pest control and cleaning supplies
- Purchase in bulk and negotiate recycled content
- Create a materials exchange program
- Donate functioning electronics
- Reuse packaging
- Start a recycling program
- Replace individual trash cans with a central disposal facility
- Reuse packaging
Get others involved. Success depends on getting help from a dedicated team that shares your goals. You can build a new team dedicated to waste reduction and recycling, or assign new responsibilities to an existing group. Recruit members from as many parts of your organization as possible, including a variety of departments, tenant groups, job functions, management levels, and types of businesses. The more diverse your team, the greater the variety of perspectives you’ll hear from, and the more advocates you’ll have on the ground to evangelize change and report progress.
The goal of reducing waste is bringing a new sense of purpose to facilities management, offering benefits to every stakeholder. The task may be big, but it is achievable, thanks to a wealth of available support and resources.
At Gigantic Bag, we specialize in Plastics with Purpose—quality polyethylene films and bags designed specifically for jobs that plastics do best. We can help you manage waste more efficiently with custom bags, bulk orders, and more. Call 601-300-0744 or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.