Why businesses who don’t recycle are missing out

Making the business case for less waste Australian businesses who don’t recycle or optimise their waste management face unnecessary losses, which can directly impact their bottom line, their position in the market, and staff morale.

Every year in Australia, businesses generate over 12.5 million tonnes of waste. Almost half of that waste (46 per cent) goes to landfill1 despite estimates that approximately 70 per cent can be reused or recycled2.

New research shows that 76 per cent of businesses believe that reducing waste is part of being a sustainable and ethical business3. However, there is also the perception that they are doing all they can to manage their waste, that there may be little benefit in doing more, or that they don’t have the knowledge to improve their waste and recycling practices4.

“It’s clear that many workplaces don’t understand that they may be wasting money by sending waste to landfill. Take Cumberland Golf Club as an example; by investing in a wood chipper they cut their waste fees by $8000 a year, and The Good Guys in Rockdale reduced their skip bin pick-ups from three times a week to one a fortnight saving thousands of dollars a year,” says Ryan Collins, Recycling Programs Manager at Planet Ark.

“Our new resource, The Business Case for Less Waste, provides employees and management with advice and guidance for establishing a recycling strategy within the workplace.”

Saving on the bottom line

Australian workplaces pay a state government levy for each tonne of eligible waste sent to landfill. The rate varies depending upon material type and business location. The most common charge in Western Australia is $55 a tonne, in Victoria it is $62, South Australia $76 and in NSW it is $133. In the ACT the landfill gate fee is $146. These levies are easily avoided by sending waste material to recycling.

Workplaces who conduct regular audits of their existing recycling programs can also find savings.

A competitive edge

More than one in two (53 per cent) businesses agree that efficient waste management and recycling gives them a competitive edge5. Recent research has supported this by showing that businesses and brands with a demonstrated commitment to sustainability outperform those without6. Increasing numbers of consumers (66 per cent)7 are willing to pay more for goods and services from companies committed to reducing their environmental impact, and that commitment has the power to sway product purchases for more than 45 per cent of consumers8. By adopting positive environmental practices, like recycling, Australian businesses also demonstrate to their customers and stakeholders that they are forward thinking and innovative.

Happy staff — better business

More than nine out of ten Australian households recycle9 and employees are increasingly expecting recycling facilities in the workplace. Statistics indicate that Australia-wide, 80 per cent of employees would like more recycling in the workplace and that having recycling facilities make them feel like they work for a responsible employer10.

Help is at hand

The Business Case for Less Waste11 is a new Planet Ark resource designed to help staff at any level in a workplace look at their waste management systems, identify the inefficiencies and unnecessary costs and then make the case for better systems. It also provides scientifically proven ideas for engaging colleagues with waste and recycling initiatives.

BusinessRecycling.com.au provides online and over-the-phone information, resources, and also has the most comprehensive listing of recycling service providers in the country. Details on recycling options for over 90 different materials make the process of finding the right recycling solutions for individual businesses quick and easy.

1 A national Waste Policy: Managing Waste to 2020 Department of Environment, 2009

2 http://betterbusinesspartnership.com.au/

3 What’s the Deal with Business Waste? – Planet Ark 2016, with thanks to the NSWEPA

4 Media Release: What a Waste–58 per cent of businesses keeping no records on waste management – PlanetArk, 30 March 2016

5 Social Research on Small to Medium Enterprises (SME) Waste and Recycling–Environment Protection Authority, 2016. http://www.epa.nsw.gov.au/resources/waste/small-medium-business-recycling-research-160139.pdf

6 Global Corporate Sustainability Report The Nielsen Company, 2015, p.1

7 ibid

8 ibid

9 http://recyclingweek.planetark.org/recycling-info/theworld.cfm

10 All Sorted – Answering the Big Recycling Questions Report – Planet Ark,2015,p.21

11 The Business Case for Less Waste – Planet Ark 2017, with thanks to the NSWEPA

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