Four R’s of Preventing Waste – and then some

July 18th, 2011

Today’s post is by Mark Davis; Vice President of Operations and CTO at SafeSourcing. Mark asks "What are the Four R’s of Waste Management and how do they affect your business?"

Last week we talked about how the four R’s of preventing waste specifically affects corporate waste disposal and that we would be starting a 5-part series this week on breaking down each of the 4 four R’s and what they mean to your company.Traditionally the four R’s have referred to Reduce, Reuse, Recycle and Rebuy with equally important recover, replenish and rethink being 3 more that could be added to the list.  Today we are going to focus on Reduce, with the rest of this week focusing on Reuse, Recycle and Rebuy on the other the honorable mentions.

Reducing your waste is arguably the most important of all the R’s as it deals directly with the issue of waste.  The less waste you produce the less you need to worry about the other R’s in this equation.

Reducing waste can come in many forms that include the basic processes of change like having employees bring their own mugs and wash them after use instead of continuing to purchase paper or Styrofoam cups to using both sides of printer/copy paper for simple print jobs that do not require a clean sheet of paper.

As a corporation some of the important ways you can begin reducing your waste are:

Purchase more durable goods – By purchasing goods that last longer and come with stronger warranties you can create fewer purchases of that product which equal less waste.  In the process of choosing your vendors and products these two factors should be as important in the selection as price.  While we are on this topic, make sure you are checking the warranties of products before disposing of them.  Many times this option exercised with a repair can drastically reduce unnecessary waste.

Low-waste packaging – Select products (both for individual items and cases) that have the least wasteful packaging.  Avoiding packaging with unnecessary plastic bubble wrap or double packaged products can significantly reduce the waste generated not only your company but that of your customers too.

Energy efficient electronic equipment – The selection process is your opportunity to ensure you are choosing companies and products that support a more energy efficient mission.  These can easily be specified by you during the RFI, RFP or RFQ process in order to evaluate as another important aspect along with price.

Rechargeable batteries – Using rechargeable batteries instead of normal one-time use batteries will require an initial investment up front but will return a greater savings in the long run and reduce the waste generated by multiple battery purchases. 

Tomorrow’s blog will focus on “Reuse” and for more information on SafeSourcing and how we can assist your company with sourcing with companies that have a commitment to “Reducing” waste, please contact a Customer Service Representative.

We hope you have enjoyed this week’s series and look forward to and appreciate your comments.

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