Founded in 2008, Zero Waste Week is an international campaign covering 76 countries around the world to raise awareness of how waste is harming the environment. The goal of this initiative is for businesses and individuals to stop sending waste to landfill and to encourage the preservation of resources.
Zero Waste Week runs from Monday 2nd September until Friday 6th September 2019. You can sign up to participate and receive daily campaign updates in the form of newsletters and emails offering creative ways of managing your waste and changing your habits to become more sustainable.
During last year’s campaign, the theme was to reduce plastic waste and avoid disposable or single-use items (such as plastic straws, cups, cutlery and bags). While this year’s theme has yet to be announced, we can still show you several ways to get involved.
Reduce and reuse
Reducing waste production and reusing items until they reach their end-of-life are effective strategies for reducing greenhouse gas emissions. By incorporating waste reduction procedures into your business and reusing items such as office furniture and appliances, you can minimise your impact on the environment and lessen your company’s waste generation.
- Stop unsolicited junk mail
- Buy business supplies in bulk to avoid individually packaged items
- Don’t buy more than what you absolutely need
- Avoid disposable items. This includes ink cartridges, stationery, batteries, and single-use plastics such as cups, plates and cutlery. Instead, use rechargeable batteries, refillable ink cartridges and metal kitchenware
- Track and measure food waste and reduce any that is avoidable.
- Reduce the amount of paper that is used in your business. Avoid desk-side printers which encourage wasteful behaviour, print double-sided or go paperless and invest in online collaboration and cloud-based sharing platforms such as Slack, Google Drive and DocuSign
- Use smart, energy-efficient appliances
- Reduce vehicle movements related to your waste. Private waste contractors add to the burden of extra unnecessary waste collection vehicles driving around the city.
- Choose a waste collector that has hybrid and low emission vehicles. For instance, at Westminster City Council Commercial Waste Services, our vehicles are fitted with Eminox filters to reduce emissions and pollution and none of the waste we collect is ever sent to landfill. These filters give better performance even than Euro 6 standards.
- Use natural, long-lasting and easy-to-reuse materials such as glass, ceramics, wood and metal.
- Avoid purchasing virgin materials. Instead, opt for recycled products such as paper, tissue and packaging materials.
- Buy durable, sustainable and quality goods that can be repaired easily or reused such as office furniture (desks, chairs, stationery) and electrical appliances (printers, computers etc.).
- Donate old furniture to charities or second-hand shops. Ask yourself, is it still in good shape? Will it be useful for someone else?
- Donate your untouched surplus food to colleagues, food banks and charities.
- Use durable items such as rechargeable batteries and refillable toner cartridges.
- Items like batteries, electrical appliances and ink cartridges can be returned to the manufacturer via a take-back scheme where they can recycle the items for free.
How businesses today are reusing waste
Businesses of all types are sometimes guilty of throwing away items that can potentially be reused. This is why local authorities and businesses across the UK are taking the initiative to reduce waste and reuse items to avoid wastage. According to a WRAP case study, Buckinghamshire County Council is transforming the reuse of bulky waste and diverting it away from landfill thanks to two very successful reuse shops. In another study, waste services teams at Leeds City Council are maximising bulky waste reuse in social housing.
It’s time for you to get inspired and take action in your own organisation. To view more examples of how businesses are reusing waste, check out these WRAP case studies and be sure to download our case studies on how Westminster’s Commercial Waste Services works with businesses to manage waste efficiently.
Reducing and reusing waste across your business plays an important part in helping you provide an ecologically sustainable workspace. For more information on sustainable waste management in the workplace and why it’s important for organisations to follow a sustainable waste management model, please read our sustainability guide.