Holiday Road to Sustainability: 3 Ways Your Business’ Waste Streams Can Adapt to the Seasonal Current
November 22, 2021
Businesses are already advising customers to begin holiday shopping as there are considerable product delays due to the global supply chain breakdown and labor shortage, coupled with pandemic-induced demand. Even finding a new car to purchase is troublesome as many automotive dealerships have limited inventory.
This truth has spread across all industries. Electronics, seasonal clothing, solvents, and certain foods and ingredients are just some of the things that have been in short supply lately. ‘Tis the season for holiday panic.
Not so fast! While it is true that supplies will likely play catch up for some time, there are actions to take to optimize your enterprise with sustainability in mind — and it can be discovered through your business’ waste streams.
1. Data & Reporting: Have Visibility on Your Inputs & Outputs
As you face change and the challenges that come with it – whether it’s reduced production or seasonal changes – one major key to success is having access to data reporting. Facts and figures tell you where to spend the most time and resources and what areas need more organization or attention.
Many underestimate the importance of surveying a workplace’s waste streams. It’s like a detailed dumpster dive that identifies what’s being thrown away, what’s being recycled or diverted through other means (by weight or volume). Seasonal fluctuations in service can be vital to driving significant cost mitigation by aligning those services with the seasonal needs of your business.
Through this process, you can:
- Reveal costly, wasteful problems
- Unlock opportunities (like new revenue streams)
- Maximize the effectiveness of your programs
- Improve operations
- Measure your success
Don’t operate in the dark based on guesswork. Instead, discover ways you are overspending, identify savings opportunities and learn how you can apply those insights. After all, analysis is the first step to increasing and improving resources.
2. Reduce Waste Throughout the Holidays
One big change that businesses need to prepare for is a significant uptick in waste volume, especially during the holidays. Unfortunately, while we’re entering the most wonderful time of the year, it also happens to be the most wasteful time of the year.
According to the Environmental Protection Agency, an additional one million tons of waste goes to landfills each week between Thanksgiving and New Year’s Day — a 25 percent increase of American household waste. But there are simple processes to adopt to minimize the waste that goes to landfills during the holidays.
Cut down packaging – The U.S. discards about $11 billion worth of packaging material each year. Take the time to look at how much your company spends on packaging and look at other avenues you take. For example, Amazon has “Frustration-Free Packaging” made from 100% recyclable materials to help reduce unnecessary waste. If shipping products, reduce the size of your packaging or consider using 100% recyclable packaging.
Eliminate food waste –According to a 2021 Delish report, Americans throw away a staggering $408 billion in uneaten or unsold food every year. Consider adjusting portion sizes, donating leftovers to local community organizations and evaluating. Retail grocers, for instance, can reduce their food waste going to the landfill by 95% or more with the right partner.
3. Collaboration: Look for the Team Players
When seeking assistance, no matter the case, look for partners who are genuinely in your corner and align with your business goals. Ideal partners are an extension of your team. They aid in alleviating pressure points, raise economic intelligence and help to iron out your operational process.
Whether you’re looking to market yourself with a greater environmental conscience or simply chasing better solutions, work with other businesses that have strong, common foundations and can support your long-term business and sustainability goals and provide data reporting of your key metrics.
As fall is in full swing, now is the time to turn good intentions into positive actions by incorporating mindful and sustainable practices into every stage of your business’ lifecycle. Sustainability cannot be an afterthought but rather a business imperative that should be woven into every aspect of your work.
Be ready for the challenge of change!