Although it’s now possible to sell, recycle, repurpose, trade or donate most consumer and commercial products, many business owners and their employees continue to throw away items that they no longer use. Whether this type of wasteful behavior is the result of habit, poor education or something else doesn’t matter: Landfills are overflowing with reusable business items.
Electronic equipment, such as phones, computers, printers, power cords, batteries, industry-related machinery, microwaves, and refrigerators, contain hazardous materials like cadmium and lead and valuable metals like gold and copper. Instead of dumping e-waste, sell or give it away to electronics repair and other businesses, charitable organizations, individuals or manufacturers.
Businesses often throw used copy and printer paper, sticky notes and cardboard in the trash even though these paper items typically have a “clean” side. Repurposing used paper can save you money. For example, used cardboard is fantastic for creating party decorations. Most office paper and cardboard items are also recyclable except for glossy and laminated pieces.
Startup businesses, churches, schools and individuals often purchase used business furniture. It’s easier to repair and upgrade used chairs, tables, desks, bulletin boards, lighting fixtures and other furniture than to buy these items new. You can also donate business furniture and enjoy a tax time deduction.
The majority of plastics break down slowly. Reuse or recycle plastic utensils and dinnerware, straws, and shipping materials. If possible, switch to biodegradable disposables that break down rapidly like compostable dinnerware and starch-based packing peanuts.
Food recycling companies like Ware Disposal can make good use of your leftover food scraps if you’re a food business. Some states require this recycling since food decomposition increases the growth of dangerous microorganisms in landfills and produces greenhouse gases. Other options: Compost food to create nitrogen-rich landscaping fertilizer or donate slightly out-of-date food to charities.
Since decorative plants can also cause landfill problems, set up a recycling program for old flowers and dying potted plants. Outside of composting, consider donating non-withered flowers, for example, to nursing homes and hospitals. If you have dried flowers, use them as an alternative to air fresheners, sell them to a craft merchant or donate them to a charity or school.
You can reduce your company’s trash bill and make a little extra money while also safeguarding people’s health and the environment. You simply need to consider better disposable methods for the things that you no longer need at your business.