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If you’ve been on social media, read the news or even watched Netflix recently, then you’ve probably heard of the ‘zero waste’ movement. If you haven’t, let us fill you in. It’s both a philosophy and a way of living that aims to reduce the human production of waste and rubbish that goes to landfill. At the moment the movement is mainly focussed on plastics, but there are other areas such as palm oils and single-use packaging that have been in the crosshairs. Plastic single use straws are a hot topic right now, with consumers calling for businesses to make the switch to biodegradable paper alternatives. And businesses are listening. That’s because while you might think a consumer movement might not seem like it’s affecting you as a business owner – think again. Because as customer grow more loyal to businesses who use paper over plastic and put the environment first, and even boycott brands who don’t, you will start to see your customer base slowly decline. So really, your only choice is to start embracing the message of the zero waste movement, and look for ways to cut down your business waste at every turn.


Wait, Why Should My Business Care? 

If you’re not particularly driven by environmental concerns, it’s easy to see how this movement could be ignored. But let’s look at this another way. Business owners are, by nature, system optimisers. They like to make sure everything in their business runs like clockwork, seamlessly and efficiently. And if there’s one big signal for inefficiency, it’s waste. Waste in a business symbolises bad system design, wasteful manufacturing processes and an overall loss of profit that makes it a bad business practice. So in this way, business owners are perfectly placed to support the zero waste movement, as it aligns with their own goals. Even small changes in the supply chain for even the biggest businesses can have a massive impact on the bottom line, which ultimately helps the business become more successful. Add to that the positive press and goodwill of actively reducing your waste contributions as a business, and you’re bound to see increased sales and a new, fiercely loyal customer base. Plus it’s good for the environment too!


So What Is Mission Zero?

Mission Zero is the ultimate destination – to have removed non-biodegradable waste from your business altogether. Now, for many businesses this is a long way off, though it is possible. But achieving zero waste requires significant management commitment, because it can impact every facet of a business. From product design, choice of manufacturing processes, logistics and supply chain decisions as well as waste management and recycling considerations. The supply chain processes play a pivotal role in realising targets through developing more sustainable product management and recycling practices. So, the first step is to analyse every part of your business to determine where the waste is being generated. Not just in your own business, but in the suppliers you use and the things you buy in to provide your services. This may result in you switching manufacturers or suppliers, or even choosing to take some things in-house that you were previously outsourcing. A major change will be to opt for paper or biodegradable materials in your business instead of plastic, which not only reduces the environmental impact your business will have, but also makes it easier for you to dispose of waste ethically. It won’t happen overnight, but taking even those tentative first few steps will have a big impact. (and don’t forget to tell people about it!)


Dealing With Paper? 

The main aim of zero waste at the moment is to significantly cut down or even eliminate plastic waste, particularly in the single-use or non-recyclable areas. But all of those plastic products have to be replaced with something, and in a lot of cases that will be a paper alternative. But what do you do with that once it’s been used? Thankfully, this is an easy one to solve. If you’re in retail and using paper for things like food containers, coffee cups and so on, most suppliers will also offer a collection and recycle scheme as part of the service. So you can fill a box, bag or other container and have it collected to be recycled. You also have kerbside recycling options, if they exist for businesses in your area. But for all of the other paper waste your business is producing, you have shredding companies like us. We take all of your unneeded, waste paper, and feed it through our industrial shredding units. The resulting shreds are secure – so you don’t have to worry about losing data – and formed into huge bales. These are then sent off to recycling plants all over the country to be reused again and again, reducing the amount of new paper needed and cutting down significantly on plastic manufacturing too. And we don’t just take paper – we can also destroy and recycle hard drives, old products, even fabric and clothing!


At Greenaway, we love working with businesses across the UK who are committed to reducing waste and saving the environment. Or secure shredding service means that your business can implement a simple and easy recycling programme for unwanted paper and documentation. Simply request one of our secure shredding consoles and use it to store your waste paper and confidential documents when they are no longer needed. Because it is a lockable container, these documents and products can’t be fished back out, so you can be safe in the knowledge that your data is secure and compliant with GDPR. When it’s full, just contact us and we will come to empty it. The contents are then shredded, packed into bales and sent to recycling plants across the country, helping your company contribute to recycling and no waste. 99% of all the materials we shred are recycled, helping preserve the environment one tree at a time. For more information, we’d love you to get in touch!