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8 Ways to Reduce Waste as a Small Business for Zero Waste Week

recycling bins

Welcome to Zero Waste Week! This annual event - started in 2008 - is dedicated to reducing waste and promoting sustainability, as well as encouraging individuals and businesses alike to take steps towards a greener future. You might wonder how you can participate and make a positive impact in your small business or job. In this blog post, we'll explore eight practical ways you can reduce waste and contribute to a more sustainable world.

1. Refillable Cleaning Products for Cleaning the Workspace

Cleaning supplies can generate a significant amount of waste. Consider switching to refillable cleaning products. If you're based close to a zero waste shop, you should be able to take your own containers down and top up on things like washing up liquid, window cleaner and more - search zero waste shop directories online to find a shop near you. Alternatively, there are several brands and mainstream supermarkets that now offer dissolvable cleaning tabs for products like surface cleaner - just reuse an old spray bottle and add water! By refilling your cleaning solutions, you reduce the need for single-use plastic bottles and minimize your environmental footprint. Plus, it can save you money in the long run.

2. Buy Refurbished Equipment

When it comes to purchasing office equipment, such as printers, computers, or machinery for making products, consider buying refurbished items. Refurbished equipment is not only cost-effective but also reduces electronic waste and conserves valuable resources. Try sites like eBay where many high-street shops also sell display models at a discounted rate.

3. Second-Hand Office Furniture

Furnishing your office space with brand-new furniture isn't always necessary. Opt for second-hand or upcycled office furniture instead. You'll give these items a new lease on life while preventing perfectly usable furniture from ending up in landfills. Try charity shops and sites like Gumtree or Freecycle for second-hand pieces with a heavy discount (or even free in some cases).

an office space with wooden desk and lamp

4. Refillable Pens

Every year, countless disposable pens are discarded. Switch to refillable pens, which can be used indefinitely by simply replacing the ink cartridge. This small change can significantly reduce your plastic waste over time. Alternatively, look for pen recycling programs such as those run by Terracycle.

5. Plastic-Free Packaging

If you post items out as part of your job or small business, strive for plastic-free packaging options. Eco-friendly packaging not only appeals to environmentally-conscious consumers but also reduces the environmental impact of your business. Explore alternatives like recyclable cardboard, FSC certifed paper, paper bubble wrap, compostable paper tape, biodegradable materials, or reusable packaging solutions.

6. Donate Damaged Products

If you are a product-based business, instead of discarding slightly damaged products, consider donating them to charities or food banks. These organisations can often put these items to good use, helping those in need while reducing waste.

donating items to a food bank to reduce waste

7. Seek Sustainable Swaps

Evaluate your product or service offerings to identify opportunities for sustainable swaps. Can you use more eco-friendly materials for product packaging, offer plastic free alternatives to disposable items that you business uses regularly, or switch to more energy-efficient equipment? For example, our range of zero waste cosmetics come in plastic free packaging and utilise refill options, like our natural dry shampoo powder. Small changes can have a big impact on your sustainability efforts.

8. Switch to Renewable Energy

Consider transitioning your small business to renewable energy sources, such as solar or wind power. Not only will this reduce your carbon footprint, but it can also lead to cost savings in the long term, as renewable energy sources become increasingly affordable.

Reducing waste as a small business is not only a responsible choice but also a smart one. Many of these swaps are easy to implement and can often save you money in the long run. By adopting these sustainable practices in your business or workplace, you'll help contribute to a greener planet during Zero Waste Week and beyond.


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