Businesses have traditionally accepted waste disposal as part of their overheads. But if you look at waste as a resource and act creatively to reduce it, you can save money, add value while improving your public perception and customer satisfaction.
We talked to a few local businesses to see what they are doing to reduce their waste.
Zibido are a locally owned and operated hair salon in Hamilton who wanted to reduce their waste and have successfully done this by over 90%. The changes have led to increased customer engagement and support. Shannon Dowd says, “People are surprised that a salon can be sustainable with all the chemicals we use, but we’re proof they can, and our clients love our sustainability.” Zibido have joined Sustainable Salons NZ, who recycle all the salon’s plastics into roading or seating; cut hair gets made into booms to soak up oil after a spill. They also take foil, left over colour and any old appliances. “We only have one bag of rubbish a month now,” says Shannon proudly.
Zibido actively share their ideas with other businesses in the industry to inspire and motivate others to do the same.
What changes did Zibido make?
- All stylists now work with reusable or recycled foils.
- Introduced a Bokashi bin to compost food and organic waste.
- Compost cut hair instead of sending it to landfill.
- Introduced systems to improve recycling.
Sustainability has always been a focus for Chartered Accountancy practice Accounted4 in Cambridge, where you will see staff using the company-provided keep cups and reusable containers for takeaways like sushi. This company culture sees the business’s influence spread to their wider community.
- Shredded paper goes to a local flower farm and used as packaging.
- A compost bin has been donated to Cambridge Primary School and office food waste is taken there with 95% of food waste diverted from landfill.
- All client paperwork is now digital unless otherwise required, reducing their paper usage by over 60%.
- There is a sharing table where staff can swap excess produce and food.
The dairy industry often gets a bad rap for their environmental practises, but Dreamview Creamery in Raglan are bucking the trend. Their focus is to bring locally produced dairy products to the community in the most sustainable way.
- Their milk is packaged in glass bottles, which can be returned and reused. So far this has meant 12,500 plastic bottles diverted from landfill.
- Other products in development will all have reusable packaging.
- All bobby calves are reared to 2-year-old steers.
- They have started their own native plant nursery for riparian planting.
Three tips to start your business on the journey to waste less
- Take stock—do a waste audit. “If you can’t measure it, you can’t improve it” – Peter Drucker.
- Motivate staff—73% of employees say it’s important to work for a company that is environmentally and socially responsible.
- Promote your business initiatives—customers want to know that they have made the right choice.
What can you do to support business best practice?
- Choose to support local business working to reduce their waste.
- Support social enterprise—a business that does good in a socially responsible way.