We’ve all seen those ‘hard-to-ignore’ images of garbage-filled oceans and overflowing landfills on our social media feeds. 

Waste diversion is something that can no longer be ignored by businesses or consumers looking to play their part in tackling this massive problem. 

The bottom line is, we simply have to reduce and reuse the amount of waste that is sent to landfill and this requires a concerted effort.

What can I do as a consumer?

You might think that your actions as a consumer have little effect and while it’s true that addressing the issue with large manufacturers might have a bigger impact more quickly, much of the waste we create is avoidable.

Here are a few simple changes that can add up:

  • Don’t buy your favorite coffee in a plastic cup, instead, take your own cup or make one at home – plastic is still the biggest contributor to pollution in our oceans and it’s believed that just 9% is diverted for recycling. Similarly, take your own take-out containers and straws when eating out. 
  • Make sure that you know the rules around recycling to maximize diversion – each province and area can be completely different and unsorted waste can wind up in the garbage.
  • Adopt meal planning to avoid over-buying and food waste.
  • Always try to buy recycled or used products (household furniture and clothes for example) and donate unwanted items to charities and people in need.

Sustainable Businesses Prosper

Setting up a waste diversion program might seem daunting but the benefits can be huge. Here are a few reasons to consider diverting over dumping…

1)  Reduced Costs

The costs of sending waste to landfills can run into thousands of dollars so avoiding this can dramatically impact your profitability. Making small changes such as changing labeling on recycling cans or changing their location add up over the year but you need to understand the scale and types of your existing waste.

It’s hard to know where to begin especially if you’re a larger facility. A waste audit is a good place to start and we can help you do this so you at least have a benchmark to begin with. You’ll then be able to build on it with a plan to redirect recyclable waste away from the garbage.

2)  Return on Investment

Lots of businesses use their recycling to successfully generate additional revenue streams – aside from the obvious glass, plastic, and cans, there are growing options to recycle all kinds of different items and get paid for doing it. Scrap metal, electronics, textiles, and food waste are just some of the areas that can add incremental cash to your accounts.

3)  Creating an Eco-friendly Brand

More and more people are looking to switch their favorite brands to companies that show a real commitment to diverting waste. Consumers are savvier than ever, getting to the information they want and being vocal about who they will and won’t do business with.

A survey by ‘Accenture’ last year found that more than half of consumers are willing to pay more for sustainable products and that trend is on the rise.

Incorporating a waste management program into your business plan and successfully promoting these policies to customers and employees is a real opportunity to build a positive brand image. 

In recent years, well-known retailers have launched initiatives that reward customers for bringing in their old stuff for recycling or trade-in – businesses that harness this link between sustainability and profit are doing their bit for the environment whilst getting an edge on the competition.

Is your waste management becoming unmanageable?

If you feel like your waste management is taking up more of your time than running your business, give us a call and let us take the hassle away for you. 

We deal with all your day-to-day waste requirements as well as annual reporting to maintain compliance for the ministry.  

About The Author

Nic Ahola is the Director of Operations for AC Waste Services over the past 10+ years. With multiple years of experience in the industry Nic’s wealth of knowledge to discuss key industry topics is never-ending.

He works directly with businesses to implement waste management systems that are convenient to a business’s operations while reducing the unnecessary costs and common problems associated with waste.

Connect with AC Waste and Nic on Linkedin.