Wasted resources represent a significant loss to business not only due to excess costs but also negative perceptions of how a business operates. Through maximising resource efficiency, businesses can reduce waste, improve their bottom line and customer perceptions.
The best way to maximise resource efficiency is to follow the waste hierarchy for waste minimisation. Your first step should be to perform an audit of your waste. The NSW Department of Environment, Climate Change & Water have produced guides and resources you can follow to audit your business waste. Once you know the amounts and types of waste you are producing, apply the waste hierarchy to your waste streams to identify resource efficient strategies.
"You can't manage what you don't measure"
|Avoid||Priority one is to avoid resource consumption and hence waste output. Avoid creating waste in the first place.|
|Reduce||Priority two is to reduce consumption if items cannot be avoided. Try to make better use of what you already have and buy less.|
Priority three is to reuse wasted items as they are. If you are unable to, perhaps another can.
Priority four is to recycle items so they can be used again – this involves reprocessing the items.
The least preferred option is disposal. Some items cannot be reused or recycled, however you should always dispose of waste in a safe and responsible way.
See below for examples of how this strategy can be applied to waste typically generated by businesses.
Use the following examples to help you identify ways to maximise resource efficiency.
|Avoid||Is there a recycled or reused alternative to this item?||Recycled paper bags instead of plastic
Refurbished items instead of new
|Do I really need this item? Do I need this much? Can I borrow it instead?||Ensure equipment is regularly maintained|
|Do my customers need or want this?||Avoid excess packaging|
|Reduce||Can I return the product or packaging when I'm done with it?||Send boxes & pallets back to suppliers|
|If I still need it, can I get away with using less? Can I make better use of what I already have?||Portion control and stock rotation|
|Is there a better quality alternative that will last longer?||Compare products before purchasing|
|Has this item reached the end of its 'usable life'?||Product Roadmap - St James Ethics Centre|
|Reuse||Can anything I'm disposing of be used again?||Partnerships with Reverse Garbage|
|Can I buy or promote reusable alternatives?||Reusable Coffee Cups Program in Newtown|
|Can I buy this second-hand?||OzRecycle.com, The Bower Reuse and Repair Centre and Reverse Garbage|
|Is any of my waste able to be used by another business?||Ozrecycle.com
The Bower Referral Service
|Recycle||Can these materials be reprocessed or recycled?||BusinessRecycling.com.au
Recycling contracts (See below)
Recycle plastic bags
|I need this, but is there a recyclable option?||Using cardboard boxes instead of waxed cardboard or paper cups instead of polystyrene|
|Dispose||Can I dispose of this in a more environmentally friendly way?||Worm farms & compost for organics|
The following websites and organisations may be able to take your waste, refer your waste to another organisation, or may supply reused goods to you.
|Planet Ark Business Recycling||Planet Ark online directory of recycling options available for business waste.|
|The Bower Reuse and Repair Cooperative||Not for profit that repair unwanted furniture for resale. The Bower has a Reuse Referral Service available to the Marrickville Community.|
|Reverse Garbage||Not for profit that can take and sell good quality off-cuts and by-products.|
|OzHarvest||Not for profit that collects and distributes unsold food from commercial premises to those in need.|
|Foodbank NSW||Sources donated and surplus food from the food and grocery industry to distribute to welfare and community agencies that provide food assistance to people in need.|
Online waste exchange community.
Many businesses aren't aware that they have an extended user responsibility to ensure their waste is managed legally. Heavy penalties under section 143 of the Protection of the Environment Operations Act 1997 (POEO Act) may apply to offences relating to the unlawful transportation and disposal of waste. Maximum penalties are $250,000 for individuals and $1,000,000 for corporations found guilty of an offence. As a business owner, you must know your responsibilities under the POEO Act to avoid prosecution and impacting negatively on the environment. This includes keeping records of how you manage your waste. Case law indicates that being unaware of your responsibilities is not an acceptable defence in the NSW Land and Environment Court.
It is an offence under the POEO Act to dispose of commercial waste in a street litter bin, and to illegally dump rubbish in a way that may pollute the environment. Businesses must not dispose of their waste in residential recycling and waste bins provided by Marrickville Council as these are only available for use by residents who pay a waste service levy.
The following companies may be able to provide waste options to your business. This list is not exhaustive and Council does not endorse any particular waste collection company. There may be other companies that specialise in recycling certain items you can contact as well. You should ensure that waste contractors are licensed to transport and dispose of your waste streams legally, negotiate prices and frequency of collections to meet your recycling and waste needs. The alternative waste disposal page may provide better options for recycling special items, such as oil.
In some cases, groups of businesses may share the costs of waste and recycling services to minimise costs to each business, improve environmental outcomes, and address waste storage in confined areas. Try talking with neighbouring businesses to see if you can partner with them.
|Remondis Pty Ltd||
(02) 9032 7100
|SITA Environmental Solutions||(02) 9725 3773|
|VISY Recycling||13 84 79|
|Watts Waste||(02)9452 4053|
|Veolia Environmental Services||(02) 8571 0000|
|Hungry Giant||1300 101 552|
|JJ Richards & Sons Pty Ltd||(02) 9832 4022|
|Organic Recycling Group||0407 462 355|
Marrickville Council does not currently provide waste and recycling services for local businesses as business waste requirements tend to be more complex and varied to those in residential households. Residential properties are charged a waste service levy which covers their waste, recycling, green waste and bulky item collection. Business properties in the Marrickville Council area are not charged a waste service levy and it is the responsibility of individual businesses to manage their waste collection and disposal needs.
The NSW Government has placed a waste and environment levy on landfill waste to encourage resource efficiency, improve resource recovery and reduce waste. Most Sydney landfills are approaching their maximum capacity. Waste sent to landfill is expensive to transport and costly to ensure the environmental impacts are managed correctly. The waste we dispose to landfill today will be impacting the environment for decades to come. The simple actions we take to minimise our waste will reduce your costs, and help our environment for the future.