Improved operational processes to reduce environmental footprint and boost brand credibility
Around the world, there’s an increasing awareness of our collective ecological impact. For businesses, this means greater public scrutiny of the products and packaging used and the associated end-of-life practices.
Embedding integrated sustainable business strategies, from manufacturing right through to packaging disposal, can help reduce your environmental footprint before it is called into question by customers. This holistic approach will set your business up with clear environmental reduction goals and strengthen your brand credibility in the public eye.
Why does your business need it?
Customers are demanding that the companies they shop with are environmentally conscious. To avoid being called out for any out-dated products or processes, it’s essential for businesses to self-audit to ensure they are as planet friendly as possible, or risk unfavourable attention. As more and more consumers factor a brand’s sustainability credentials into their buying decision, this self-analysis becomes even more essential for long-term business viability.
What’s the benefit?
Reducing overall packaging and waste can have a positive economic impact for your business and an improved result for the environment. Ingraining a policy of reduction, recycling and composting into business processes will help facilitate a circular economy for packaging and food waste. It returns organic items back to the earth and alleviates the amount of waste sent into landfill.
How can it be done?
Moving to a sustainable packaging and waste management system is a long-term goal that can be worked towards over time. It must start with your product supply chain and flow through to how the items are treated in your warehouse and office, and finally how they are disposed of safely at the end of their life.
The best ecological and economical solution is to eliminate packaging altogether. However, if wrapping is required, consider reducing the materials that are currently used and then switching to a compostable or recyclable alternative.
There are three areas your business can focus on to improve your overall impact.
- Procurement: Set packaging targets to reduce the amount of plastic your business uses year-on-year. Move away from single-use plastic products, such as straws, bubble wrap and retail carry bags and source greener replacements from suppliers. Look for options that can be composted, recycled, or reused.
- Collection: Clear and consistent composting protocols in your office and warehouse will ensure that any boxes, packaging, and food waste can be returned to the earth. Try introducing a ‘food scraps only’ bin in kitchen areas alongside the standard waste and recycling bins to help siphon any organic matter into the compost and away from landfill. Signage at collection points should communicate what can be safely composted or recycled. To minimise cross-contamination, it’s a good idea to separate organic collections into a specific area. To help with this process, ensure easy identification of any plant-based compostable items and train your teams on the material composition of company packaging.
- Disposal: Smaller businesses may choose to implement an on-site composting bin to manage organic waste. Larger companies might require a more robust compost collection arrangement. Get in touch with your local council to organise a regular organics pick-up service or to locate your nearest industrial drop-off facility.
Once you have secured improved packaging solutions for your products, cemented your internal processes and organised appropriate collection and disposal for organic waste, it’s time to share your environmental goals with your customers. Keep the conversation going by reporting on milestones and small environmental wins along the way.