Recovery, Recycling and Revenues
Earlier this year, the UK’s Local Government Association (LGA) revealed that almost 615,000 tonnes of material is disposed of in England, even though it can be reused. It was calculated that by reusing this household waste, British tax payers could save up to £60 million.
Most industries produce some form of waste whether it’s broken machinery, surplus food, or unused packaging. As landfill sites pile up, governments are introducing more legislation like increasing the landfill tax in this year’s Budget to try and reduce these problems.
Although legislation is forcing businesses to reduce their waste, often with financial penalties, the financial opportunity from recycling is motivating them to look at sustainability.
One way in which businesses are saving money is by not making use of expensive, natural resources that are in short supply. Another is by ensuring high value materials such as those used in electronics can be recycled, allowing some value to be recovered at the end of a product’s life.
Money is saved when materials and products can be used more than once, and also helps ensure the business model is sustainable in the long term.
The long-term goal of many businesses today is to support a circular economy. An example of this is through the use of smart packaging, which can help contribute towards closing the loop. This could be through removing unnecessary packaging or redesigning manufacturing processes so that less material and energy is wasted in the packaging creation process.
There are also potential revenue opportunities from unwanted or end-of-life materials through dismantling and recycling, or auctioning off equipment and devices.
In addition these end-of-life items can be sent to charitable causes or recycling initiatives which can support CSR objectives, and in turn help build brand equity.
This is especially important in today’s world of corporate transparency where environmentally conscious consumers want to know that corporate waste is disposed of ethically.
An increasing number of businesses will adopt circular business models to remove waste from the supply chain, and avoid linear processes as the recognition of the benefits of properly managing waste grows.
By making sure recycling or reuse is designed into products in the earliest stages, businesses will save time and money, opening up new revenue streams and ensure sustainable practices are adopted for the future.