Can your business waste be trimmed through improved stock management and the goods you procure? Are there products or services of your own that can be adapted to reduce the amount of waste being passed on to your customers? There may even be options for reuse in your business through partnerships with other local businesses and community groups.
- Plastic Bag Ban: The Queensland Government has introduced legislation banning lightweight plastic and biodegradable bags, taking effect from 1 July 2018. The Retail Transition Program contains support and information.
- Responsible Cafes: Help turn the tide of the 3 billion takeaway coffee cups sent to landfill each year by offering a discount to customers to bring their own reusable cup, promotional tools included.
- Excess food: There are several local services which accept certain types of excess food for community members in need. Get in contact with Anglicare Food Bank or OzHarvest Cairns.
Setting Up Recycling
- Identify waste and recycling streams: Do a visual assessment of existing bins before bin day to identify the volume of mixed recycling needed or priority materials for recycling. The NSW Bin Trim tool can assist with creating this profile and provides a tailored action plan to reduce waste specific to your industry.
- Engage or refine services: Council offers a mixed recycling collection service for businesses. For a complete range of services available in the region and for on-site equipment, head to the Planet Ark Business Recycling website. The QLD Guide to Reviewing Waste and Recycling Contracts can help ensure you are not locked into a service that does not meet your business needs.
- Set up your bins: Make it convenient to use the correct bin with stations of both waste and recycling bins in a pair - proven to encourage recycling and reduce cross - contamination.
- Engage staff and customers: Clear and consistent messaging is essential to assist with using the right bin. Free signage can be downloaded online and there are many tips for staff engagement. Council also has pantry cards to clarify disposal for common consumables.
- Verify your system: Ensure ‘front of house’ bins within your business are emptied into the correct ‘back of house’ bin by staff and if you have a cleaning service, clarify this practice or update it in the contract. Check that recycling isn't bagged and do quick visual assessments to identify any reoccurring issues. Monitoring the quantity and collection frequency of your waste & recycling services can also ensure that you are not paying extra unnecessarily.
- Maintain your bins: Support new habits with consistent bin placement and cleanliness. If your 'back of house' area is hosed down, consider sweeping it first to prevent litter entering the storm water system and marine environment.
- Communicate results: Flaunt your success and opportunities for improvement to customers and staff through relatable stories or statistics. This can be assisted by social media, your staff notice board or apps such as the Recyculator, which calculates the positive environmental impact from recycling.
Is your business an obvious fit for an internal or public-facing recycling initiative? Providing a collection point in your shop front can help customers recognise your commitment to sustainability and may also increase foot traffic.
- Cartridges: If your business uses more than three cartridges a month, it is eligible for a free collection box and postage.
- Mobile Muster: Most workplaces are eligible for a free mobile handset and accessories collection box, with free pick up.
- Terracycle: Recycling for niche waste streams such as stationary, post satchels, tooth brushes and coffee pods.
For information on recycling commercial quantities of specific items, head to the Planet Ark Business Recycling website.