Author: Ryan Collins
What motivates businesses to increase their recycling? What are the barriers to better management? What do they see are the benefits? Our new report, titled What’s The Deal With Business Waste?, answers these questions and examines the attitudes and beliefs of small to medium businesses and the actions they can take.
The report brings together the findings of a NSW Environmental Protection Authority social research project with other research from around the country.
What motivates businesses to increase their recycling? For nearly eight out of ten SMEs it is a key component of being a sustainable and ethical business, with three out of four believing that good waste management improves public perception of the company. Companies that have embraced a green mandate also report an increased ability to recruit and retain talented employees and increase overall productivity.
Surprisingly, cost does not appear to be a strong motivator to reduce waste generation, with more than seven out of ten businesses feeling that the cost of their current waste bill is relatively low, clearly a barrier. Time pressures and staff resources is another major barrier, particularly to smaller businesses and those in the service industry with high staff turnover. Another reason to make recycling work as easy and efficiently as possible.
There is a large gap in knowledge between the waste a business produces and the cost of disposal. Almost six out of ten businesses keep no records at all on how much waste they produce. Yet seven out of ten SMEs think they are already doing all they can in regards to waste management and recycling. Businesses who are aware of their gap in knowledge are more likely to be open to new information about managing their waste.
One in seven SMEs are planning to implement a waste and recycling waste management policy in the next twelve months and one in five had implemented a waste or recycling policy in the past twelve months. This is a significant number of businesses that have been or will be looking for information and advice.
BusinessRecycling.com.au receives visits from thousands of businesses each year seeking waste and recycling information and as policies like landfill levies and waste reduction incentives continue, more businesses will be looking to take positive actions.
Check out our Step by Step Toolkit to help your workplace recycle more.
Ryan is the Head of Sustainable Resource Programs at Planet Ark. After nearly a decade working in the banking and finance industry Ryan was drawn to a career in environmental conservation that saw him work in Papua New Guinea, Solomon Islands and Fiji. With a background in psychology and environmental management, Ryan’s role at Planet Ark since 2012 has been focused on developing engaging and positive environmental behaviour change programs to help everyone recycle and reduce waste.
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