How to Cut Down on Your Business' Plastic Waste

September 11, 2018 Pro Clean

Many businesses have a plastic waste problem. However, consumers around the nation now increasingly expect companies and their employees to demonstrate sustainability practices and plastic waste management — including here in Florida.

McKinsey Senior Partner Rodney Zemmel says in a McKinsey & Company podcast that making your organization a sustainable business can be beneficial both in terms of the company’s success and profitable growth.

According to a 2017 study from Cone Communications, consumers expect companies to take actions that promote the well-being of employees, consumers, and the global community as a whole. Of those surveyed:

  • 92% said they have a more positive image of companies that support a social or environmental issue;
  • 87% report that they are more likely to trust the organization; and
  • 88% say they would be more loyal to the company.

This leaves small to medium-sized businesses (SMBs) and other organizations trying to find ways to incorporate these goals into their business models, policies, and practices.

Here are a few of the ways your organization can commit to improving the environment and being a sustainable business by reducing plastic waste.

Define Specific & Achievable Target Goals In Lieu of Vague Ones

One of the mistakes that many businesses make when planning their plastic waste management and sustainability goals is that they write generic, vague goals that don’t delineate any specific timelines or targeted goals. Research from McKinsey shows that companies that use SMART (specific, measurable, attainable, relevant, and timely) goals and involve their business leadership from the get-go are more successful at meeting their sustainability goals.

The McKinsey research also shows that another issue some companies run into is that they are too broad in their sustainability focus: “two-thirds of companies in a representative sample from the S&P 500 have more than 10 different sustainability focus topics; some have more than 30.” Having too many goals makes it challenging for an organization’s leadership to prioritize, and if management isn’t pushing or supporting specific goals, then individual departments or branches of the organization aren’t likely to, either. Failing to support sustainability goals not only negates the purpose of implementing sustainable practices in the first place; it also diminishes the company’s environmental impact efforts and the social and economic value of their initiatives overall.

Reduce Total Plastic Waste Impact by Selling Scraps to Recyclers

Some local companies, such as Jabil, incorporate the selling of plastic and cardboard scrap from their factories into their business practices. In fiscal year (FY) 2017, the company reported improving its recycling waste by 23% over the previous year and reducing its landfill waste by 37% over FY 2015.

Include Plastic Waste Recycling Processes in Your Business

When you run an office, you’re likely to see employees using plastic drinking bottles or have in-house cleaning staff using large plastic jugs that contain their bulk cleaning materials. However, if you can incorporate plastic waste recycling processes and policies into your business model, it can help to reduce plastic waste significantly.

One of the ways to do this is to set up plastic waste recycling bins and receptacles throughout your office workspace and facility. Some businesses approach this by setting up one 13 gallon-sized plastic waste recycling bin in each common space (such as a conference room, hallways, or breakroom) and individual, smaller-sized receptacles that can be used in individual offices.

Get Help Incorporating Recycling Practices Into Your Business

Getting a plastic waste recycling program started or incorporating plastic waste management business practices started initially can be challenging for many small to medium-sized businesses. However, at Pro Clean, our green cleaning experts are passionate about serving our clients while also helping to protect the environment and can provide guidance or lend a hand in helping start your efforts. As such, one of the services we offer to clients is to help facilitate getting their organizations started on their recycling and sustainability journey.

“We've had customers who asked us to purchase plastic waste recycling bins for them and to arrange an agreement with a recycler on their behalf,” says Don Zerivitz, president of Pro Clean. “We hired out the recycler, put all the bins in place, sent out notifications to all employees, and started that process. So, the customers were not having to be hassled by setting it up themselves — we took care of the mechanics on their behalf and made it a seamless process.”

Please feel free to contact Pro Clean with any questions you have about cutting down plastic waste, or if you want to learn more about incorporating sustainable business practices — such as plastic waste recycling and green cleaning methods — into your organization.

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