Environmental responsibility is an important talking point in the business world. Consumers are increasingly putting the onus on corporations to acknowledge their contribution to climate change, and businesses are realising that by taking their environmental responsibility seriously, they can attract and retain eco-conscious customers. Waste reduction is an important aspect of environmental protection, so here are four strategies that large businesses can adopt to produce less waste and reduce their environmental impact.


1. Go paperless
Digital communications and data storage has dramatically reduced the volume of paper waste produced by businesses. If your organisation hasn’t already formally gone paperless, now is the time to do it. There are some industries that still require the use of paper, such as the finance and legal industries where certain documents must be in physical format to be legally valid. Unfortunately, this reliance on a limited use of paper can result in an unnecessary overuse.
According to a survey conducted in 2019, just one lawyer can use between 10,000 and 100,000 sheets of paper every year. If your business is in an industry where some physical documents are still necessary, you can cut down on waste by making the majority of internal documentation digital and paperless.


2. Redesign product packaging
If your business sells physical products, you can reduce waste by redesigning product packaging to make it as minimal as possible. Use recyclable and/or biodegradable materials like paper and cardboard. You could also consider ways that your packaging could be reused and print instructions directly onto it to encourage customers to do so.


3. Minimise automobile waste
For businesses that have a fleet of vehicles, it’s important to cut down on automobile waste. Ideally, businesses should run vehicles for as long as possible, and replace faulty parts rather than replacing entire vehicles.

In cases where vehicles reach the end of their life, they should be taken to recycling facilities. 86% of car parts can be recycled, and the majority of parts will be made into new metals such as steel, iron, aluminium, titanium, and magnesium. It’s also worth noting that used business vehicles can often get a new lease of life as domestic vehicles, so it’s important to consider selling before scrapping and recycling.


4. Cut down on single-use food and drink products
You can encourage employees to reduce their waste production by providing them with reusable food and drink products. Keep plates, glasses, mugs, and silverware in your break rooms and cafeterias instead of paper and plastic options. You could also install water filters or water fountains so that workers don’t have to bring in single-use bottled water. Around 50 billion single-use water bottles are purchased in America each year, but by improving access to palatable drinking water in your premises, your business can help to reduce this number.

Keep working to cut waste

There are many ways for large businesses to reduce waste that go far beyond this list and it’s important for organisations to constantly assess their rates of waste production and look for ways to improve. By gradually ramping up your waste reduction efforts, you can demonstrate to consumers that you take your corporate environmental responsibility seriously.


GUEST AUTHOR: Roger Gowley
Roger is a sustainability consultant who has gained valuable experience in a range of industries, helping companies of all sizes to optimise their eco credentials.