There will be no changes to kerbside collections due to Matariki (Friday 28 June). Pop your bins out as usual by 7am on your normal collection day.

Waste minimisation for businesses

Customers, employees, and other stakeholders now expect that companies take responsibility for their sustainability practices, which means that waste minimisation is a key part of doing business.

"Forty-eight percent of New Zealanders have deliberately switched to a brand/service provider which is more sustainable."

 

*Colmar Brunton Better Futures Report 2020

Reducing waste can also have great impacts for the bottom line as it leads to less disposal costs. It can foster innovation by finding new ways of doing things, such as new ways of procuring resources, and creating new partnerships.

Below you will find some pointers on implementing waste minimisation in your workplace, plus some simple ideas. For a more in-depth look, download Reducing your Workplace Waste – it’s our easy-to-read guide with more information, ideas and tips to help you on your way.

Remember though, it’s your waste minimisation journey, so make small changes that you are comfortable with, based on where you’re at.

Get everyone involved

Engage your staff, ask for ideas to minimise waste and ensure that support or budget is available to help implement the great suggestions. Everyone can make a difference, and it may even lead to empowering people to make personal changes, too.

A dedicated ‘green team’

If there are some enthusiastic individuals, then perhaps setting up a ‘Green Team’ or other dedicated group might help to implement the changes. Empowering them to lead the change, answer questions, and set the example, can help other colleagues to get involved.

You may also need to talk with your waste collection company (if you have one) about any changes to your collection process, if your actions impact on this. Please note that Hamilton City Council doesn’t provide a rubbish and recycling collection for businesses, so you’ll need to engage a private contractor.

Waste audits

A ‘waste audit’ involves looking at and documenting rubbish and recycling. It’s an effective way to see the types and amounts of waste you produce, and what alternatives you can use to reduce this.

To get a good understanding of waste minimisation and the waste hierarchy before getting started, check out the waste minimisation page.

An easy guide to conducting a waste audit can be found on the Plastic Free July website.

Your waste audit could include:

  • walking through the workplace and recording what items, and how many of each item type, are being wasted
  • emptying the bins (employing the correct health and safety measures), then laying the materials out into piles to measure and compare the different types of waste
  • presenting the findings to all staff and stakeholders involved, linking back to the importance of waste minimisation and a sustainable work ethic.

This will make what you’re trying to achieve very clear and it’ll encourage everyone to be on board. 

Any change counts. You can do follow-on audits later on too, to find out how you’re doing on your waste minimisation journey and identify more items for reuse and recycling.

Have a plan

Referring to your waste audit, write a step-by-step plan that will help you minimise the waste you see. The more detailed and creative, the better. Remember to include milestones, too, so that you have something to work towards.

For example, if you found that a lot of recyclables were in the waste bins, you might need the following in your action plan:

  • Educate staff on what is recyclable
  • Place posters and signage around the bins
  • Move recycling bins to more accessible places
  • Milestone – second waste audit shows a reduction in recyclables in the rubbish.

If you found lots of single-use takeaway containers in the waste, you could:

  • Research cafés and restaurants that accept reusable containers
  • Set up a ‘lunchbox library’ for your staff in an obvious place (such as the canteen or common area) and raise awareness of it via company-wide emails, newsletters, posters, etc.
  • Milestone – lunchbox library is used for the first time.

Assess and amend

Remember to check-in on your plan. This will help to determine whether what you’re doing is working to minimise waste. Ask everyone who has been involved – staff, customers, stakeholders – for their opinion and/or ideas for improvement.

Celebrate!

This is a really important step. Celebrate successes – no matter how big or small – and be sure to communicate them to everyone involved. This praise will inspire your team to keep up the hard work and continue minimising waste.

Simple ideas

  • Print/copy on both sides of the paper and make this the default setting on printers
  • Reuse scrap paper wherever possible – set up scrap paper trays and encourage staff to use these first
  • Switch from disposable to refillable toner cartridges where possible
  • Start a friendly competition between different units or teams, to see who can reduce their paper usage (or other waste) the most. A great prize on offer will be an incentive
  • Provide a ‘reusables’ library, including shopping bags, lunch boxes, cutlery, and coffee cups, for staff to take with them when eating out. It’s a good idea to mark them clearly with the company name and keep track of how many there are, so they don’t go missing
  • Switch to suppliers who offer recycling or reusing services for their products
  • Encourage customers to bring their own bags and cups where possible and offer a discount if they do
  • Remove disposable coffee cups and cutlery from your work’s cafeteria and meeting rooms. If this isn’t possible, explore compostable alternatives instead.
  • Ensure recycling bins are colour-coded and easily accessible. This will encourage recycling and reduce contamination. Check out New Zealand’s standardised colours and signage here
  • Place recycling facilities close to where waste is created, such as in the kitchen or staff room
  • Include waste minimisation information as part of employee inductions, so they understand how the company lives out its sustainability principles
  • Consider reusing or donating old office furniture, kitchen equipment, or stationery, before disposing of them.

For a more in-depth look, download Reducing your Workplace Waste – it’s our easy-to-read guide with more information, ideas and tips to help you on your way.

Funding for waste minimisation projects

Hamilton City Council's Waste Minimisation Fund receives $50,000 a year from the National Waste Levy administered by the Government. This money is allocated each year to groups and organisations in the Hamilton City area that are operating projects achieving and/or promoting waste minimisation.

Find out more about the fund here.