Deforestation, pollution, rapidly growing landfills, oil and hazardous waste spills have slowly begun to affect the state of the local, national, and global environment. The days of unchecked waste are slowly coming to an end.
In the United States, many states have passed legislation to encourage or mandate the recycling of many objects. On a national level, environmental advocates and non-profit organizations have begun to educate the general populace about the dangers of waste and the benefits of recycling. Slowly the rate of individuals recycling within the United States has grown.
As consumers slowly begin to implement environmentally practices in their own lives, they have begun to expect businesses to adopt sustainable practices as well. Sustainable practices are so vital to many businesses, that according to an infographic created by UC Riverside’s Master of Engineering department, “66% of consumers are willing to pay more for sustainable brands.”
Major corporations have adopted the challenge with zeal. Coca-Cola reduced the weight of their plastic bottles, aluminum cans, and glass bottles. Kraft redesigned their products to reduce product packing by 109.5 million pounds since 2010. In 2011, Levi’s began to implement a new process of finishing their garments that reduced water use by 96%.
Every corporation has managed to adopt more sustainable processes by adopting a process called the Life Cycle Assessment Process (LCA).
LCA is a process with four parts:
1. Identify the purpose and products that LCA would effect.
2. Work with engineers, manufacturers, and designers to calculate current energy and raw material usage in each stage of products conception.
3. Determine the health and environmental factors that result from the current production process.
4. Evaluate opportunities to reduce waste in all stages of production.
Companies that adopt LCA can and have reduced their environmental impact. The process can be a huge expense that might be hard for small and medium sized companies to match. Coca Cola recently set a goal to replenish all of the water they utilize as a company. The company spent $2 billion dollars to meet that goal.
Don’t get me wrong. Small companies can adopt minor LCA projects. They just might not have the finances to hire an engineer to figure out how to streamline a product to reduce the amount of plastic each product utilizes or design new processes to reduce water usage in creation of that product. Small businesses should not give up on adopting sustainable strategies and initiatives though.
They can still make minor changes that can have a huge effect on their environmental footprint. The easiest place to start is to reduce your company’s contribution to the local landfill by recycling everything that you can. Below we will delve into how to recycle some common business items.
Ways to Recycle Office Supplies:
Office chairs often have a depressingly short life span. While some chairs last for years, others can become faulty after a few months. At my own workplace, faulty chairs aren’t immediately discarded. They are often exiled to meeting rooms to make meeting both mentally and physically uncomfortable. Eventually when employees tire of sitting on defective chairs, the chairs are thrown into the garbage.
Instead of sending them to a landfill, you should look into if any local companies recycle office chairs. These companies are rare, so there might not be one in your area. If that is the case, you can still recycle the chair by disassembling it and recycling the metal.
Many modern offices go through dozens of computers over the years. Computers in particular can have hazardous materials like mercury, lithium, lead and calcium that can be harmful to the environment. It can do a lot of good if your company spends just a bit more time to recycle your dead monitors and hard drives.
How can you recycle them? You can either search Earth 911 for a local drop off point or check out if the manufacturer or company you bought the computer from has a takeback program. Many of the takeback programs in particular are free to use.
Batteries are another one of those items you should recycle due to the hazardous materials inside the batteries, but a lot of individuals don’t. Batteries are fairly easy to recycle. Many large department stores like Home Depot, Lowe’s, Staples, and Best Buy accept various types of batteries.
Before you commit to a drop-off location, you should call the business to make sure they can accept the batteries you plan to drop off. Not all locations are equipped to accept the same types of recyclable.
Dead or old company cell phones can be recycled. If the phone is still functional, you might consider dropping it off at a local charity. If it’s broken beyond repair, you should locate a place that will accept old cell phones to recycle.
Like batteries, many retailers collect cell phones to recycle. Lowe’s, Home Depot, Target, and Staples all collect cell phones.
Inkjet Cartridges can either be recycled or reused fairly easily. Many major retailers (like Costco or Walgreens) will refill inkjet cartridges for you. If you want to save some money, you can also purchase a cartridge refill kit that will allow you to refill your current inkjet cartridge yourself.
If your current inkjet cartridge can’t be reused, you can either drop them off at a retailer who will recycle them for you. Best Buy, Target, and Staples all accept Inkjet cartridges.
Recycling as Charity:
CFK pays schools and other non-profits cash for every cell phone, laser or inkjet cartridge, laptop, iPod, or tablet they receive.
e-Cycle allows you to send them your end of life cell and mobile phones. They donate the proceeds from recycling the phone to a charity of your choice. They provide free shipping if you send 20 or more devices. The donation is tax deductible.
Slowly individuals in the United States are becoming more willing to accept the responsibility that they must do their part to preserve the environment. As individuals accept their own environmental responsibilities, many are looking to businesses of all sizes to adopt more eco-friendly practices and procedures. While smaller businesses cannot sink millions of dollars to fine-tune their production process, they can do a lot by simply expanding their recycling efforts.
Author Bio: This is a Guest Post Written by Samantha Stauf