Waste Reduction Activities: What Businesses Can Do to Reduce Solid Waste

eco-friendly business

The more a business grows, the more likely it is to produce more wastes. From restaurants, hotels, office spaces, and other commercial buildings, these establishments are producing significant numbers of waste materials. Waste has been a cultural problem worldwide. In fact, the U.S. produces over 30% of the overall planet waste, although the country is just four percent of the world’s population.

According to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, the U.S. produced a total of 292.4 million tons of municipal solid waste (MSW) in 2018. This is equivalent to at least 4.9 pounds of individual waste each day. The largest contributor to the overall US solid waste often comes from businesses and institutions. These include industries involving food, paper, paperboard, rubber, and textiles.

Knowing how to reduce solid waste plays a critical role in a business’s corporate social responsibility efforts. Most manufacturers are already responding to these concerns by inventing machines to decrease product waste, such as tabletop piston fillers, shredding systems for recycling, and granule machines.

So if you are a business owner and want to contribute actively to this cause, here are some ways to reduce wastes in a business.

Reduce waste

Waste reduction efforts employed by most companies are by going paperless or eliminating paper cups. But reducing waste is not as easy as it sounds. There’s more you can do to reduce solid waste than just doing the obvious steps.

The most effective way to eliminate disposal costs is through source reduction. Conducting waste audits will help identify the biggest offenders of your waste streams. You can make this easy by simply peering into the dumpster or make it technical by hiring waste providers to evaluate the waste of your business.

The waste assessment results will identify the proper waste reduction efforts. For example, if there’s contamination present in the recycling stream, you need to conduct waste education to your employees on which trash goes to the recycling bin. But if the waste comes from manufacturing, find ways to streamline operations to reduce toxic waste.

When identifying the best waste reduction activities, focus on the biggest sources of your waste. In fact, waste sources have a direct association with daily business expenses. If you can determine all your waste sources, you will be surprised how much money you can save on your supplies and utility costs.

Apart from waste prevention, evaluate composting and recycling options to manage wastes effectively. Get employees involved by implementing waste reduction projects for your company. Roll out these activities every year to promote waste recycle and prevention throughout your workforce.

Assess product packaging

Are you aware that a third of the U.S. MSW goes to packaging? Evaluating the packaging of your business has a significant impact on your waste reduction efforts.

For example, if your business produces large amounts of cardboard waste, switch to reusable packaging such as reusable plastic containers. If this isn’t possible, upgrade packaging by using stronger materials to avoid damages during shipments. The more often you use it, the more money you can save per package and shipping costs.


You may also consider upgrading shipping supplies and repairing packaging. Although wood pallets easily break, you can still repair and recycle them once worn down. This will allow you to reduce material costs and shipping waste as well.

If you want your customers to join in with your sustainability efforts, communicate your waste goals to them by including recycling/reusing your packaging instructions. You can also include recycling bins at the office or storefront to let them know about your waste reduction initiatives.

Streamline communication channels

Communicating the importance of waste reduction to your workforce and ensuring employee participation are the best ways to optimize your waste reduction goals. Communication channels are critical in reducing expensive logistical problems that produce extra waste. Often, these logistical problems result in excess fuel use and wasted shipping supplies and space.

For example, miscommunication leads to multiple shipment batches instead of combining them into a single trip. This results in unnecessary shipments and wasted fuel. To fix communication issues, streamline communication channels, and identify problems that lead to inefficient production speeds and poor response times. Hiring an expert to handle your business’s communication channels will determine potential issues, such as delays in information flow, information bottlenecks, and communication breakdowns.

Once you’ve tackled all the waste reduction strategies of your business, you’re likely on your path to becoming a low- or zero-waste business. Keep in mind that sustainability efforts don’t happen instantly, but the results are certainly worth it. The more efficient you handle your business’s waste products, the better it will operate as a whole.

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