Now more than ever, businesses are looking to reduce costs wherever they can and understandably so. Doesn’t this then provide the perfect opportunity to look into what items your business is throwing away and seeing how they can be reused, repurposed and recycled within the workplace. There is always value in waste if you look for it, and the saying “one man’s trash is another man’s treasure” has merit for those creative minds lingering in the office.
Written by Sarah Fernandes in collaboration with Mark Valentine
With pollution, plastics and recycling being front-of-mind for a lot of people at this point in time, the question that often springs to mind is who should be responsible for waste? How often have you looked at the back of packaging after purchase only to see the dreaded words “not currently recycled”? For those who are committed to recycling, there is nothing more frustrating. Shouldn’t the packaging producers at least manufacture something that will make it easy for people to do the right thing? It’s time to delve into the issue of extended producer responsibility.
Continuing with our series exploring the One Planet Living principles, the principle of “Zero Waste” takes the spotlight this month. This principle focuses on reducing consumption (thereby reducing waste), reusing and recycling to achieve zero waste to landfill. Businesses, suppliers and customers should be encouraged and supported to do the same.
Continuing our series exploring Bioregional’s ten principles of One Planet Living, sustainable travel and transport takes the spotlight this month. Can business travel and transport ever be sustainable?
Considering that one will always leave a footprint, be it from the journey itself or the waste produced along the way, is sustainable travel achievable? For us, sustainable travel means making conscious decisions about the travel requirements that we can control.
Many businesses have transport needs that are essential for the day-to-day running of the business which cannot be completely controlled such as using a courier for deliveries. However, staff business travel can certainly be controlled or managed in such a way that it has the least impact on the environment as possible.
Continuing our series exploring Bioregional’s ten principles of One Planet Living, the spotlight this month is on Land and Nature. In having an academic background focused on the natural environment, this principle is close to my heart and promotes the protection and restoration of land and marine systems for the benefit of people and wildlife.
The One Planet goals for land and nature include:
- To have a positive impact on natural ecosystems and prevent harm, from extraction to production, and retail;
- To source materials responsibly and eliminate the use of materials associated with the destruction of natural habitats; and
- To make a positive contribution to local biodiversity.
As our business explores the concept and principles of One Planet Living, it is important to understand the science behind the strategy – ecological footprint. Ecological footprint is the only metric that measures the demand we put on nature, and what nature can give us in return. In other words, it measures how fast we consume resources and generate waste in comparison to how fast nature can absorb our waste and generate new resources for us to use.
With the implementation of carbon tax looming in South Africa, it has become more important than ever for businesses to monitor and ultimately reduce their carbon footprint. Apart from cost-saving benefits, adopting a greener, eco-friendlier attitude will ensure that businesses are environmentally and socially responsible – a major drawcard when attracting new clientele.
There is a common misconception that to reduce your carbon footprint requires expensive technology, however this is not the case. Minor adjustments and staff behavioral changes can make a significant difference.
Did you know that more than 80% of all inkjet and laser toner cartridges used in South Africa are thrown away when empty? This means that more than 12 million cartridges end up in landfills each year, taking up to a thousand years for each to decompose.