13 Dec Beyond Recycling
Beyond Recycling: Achieving Sustainability Through the Five R’s of Waste Management
We are in the midst of a global waste crisis on a cataclysmic scale. Rubbish can be found on every corner of the planet – from the deepest oceanic trenches to the highest mountain tops. So with the data collected, scientists estimate that by 2050, the ocean will contain more plastic than fish.
Under the five R’s of waste management, recycling is a last resort. Its energy-intensive and current infrastructure can’t keep up with demand – just 9 per cent of all plastic created has been recycled! Beforehand, several steps are available that protect the environment and keep prices down.
Refuse Wasteful Products
The first step is to refuse products that you do not need. In the UK, over 70 per cent of plastic rubbish is from packaging. It’s important to have meaningful conversations with suppliers to prevent any deliveries smothered in plastic.
Consider implementing reusable and returnable containers for your deliveries. Where this isn’t possible, biodegradable packaging is a great alternative.
Reduce Your Consumption
Audit the environmental impact of everything you need for your business – locate any items that aren’t environmentally friendly, such as single-use plastics, and phase them out.
By placing your orders in bulk, rather than across many small orders, to reduce packaging, transportation costs, energy use and waste contribution. Only order what you need to eliminate excess purchases that may end up in a landfill.
Reuse Your Purchases
The popularity of single-use plastics has birthed a “throwaway culture”. The harsh chemicals found inside plastics prevent them from completely degrading. After 450 years, a plastic bottle will degrade into microplastics, a plastic piece less than 5mm in size that will survive in the environment forever. There’s believed to be 14 million tonnes of microplastics sitting on the ocean floor – a number that’s rapidly increasing.
If your employees regularly visit the local coffee shop and pick up a drink in a non-recyclable cup, consider gifting them a branded, reusable coffee cup. This single act reduces energy consumption, plastic pollution, landfill contributions and water use.
Once your candle’s life has come to an end, you can clean it out and reuse it as a drinking glass, make your own candle with it,, or many other options before deciding to recycle it.
Repurpose Old Items
Also known as “Upcycling”, repurposing items needs a little creativity. Rather than disposing of old products, see if you can transform them and bring them a new use.
In the UK, we throw away more than 300,000 tonnes of furniture every year – most ends up at a landfill or in an incinerator. If you’re looking to redecorate your office, buy second-hand, protect the environment and save some money.
Recycle – as a Last Resort
Where waste is unavoidable, recycling is the most environmentally friendly disposal method. Ensure recycling bins are readily available at your workplace and track your recycling efforts! Incentivise your team to get on board with your mission to protect the environment through sustainable business practices.
Here at The Minch Candle Co, we’re holding ourselves accountable for our contribution to the problem. By following the five R’s of waste management, we’re minimising our waste to build a sustainable company, and a sustainable future.