15 / November / 2017

Making sustainability part of your business' DNA


Posted 15 November 2017

By Cleanaway

It might not be obvious from the outset, but sustainability is at the heart of many businesses in the Moreton Bay Region, and it's easier than you think to start making sustainability a part of your business DNA.

Cleanaway believes that environmental sustainability and business have a beautiful future together. This is the first of a two-part article that shows how businesses can do just that.

Integrating sustainability is easier than it looks

Setting up your business for sustainability

For many businesses, the easiest way to begin integrating sustainability practices into the business is by conducting a waste audit. A waste audit delivers critical insight into the nature of waste generated by the business, allowing the business to pinpoint recoverable resources and identify areas of improvement.

Cleanaway’s waste audit helps our customers identify several key areas:

  • Disposal errors that can lead to high contamination rates and lowering recycling rates
  • Valuable commodities that can be recovered and recycled
  • Opportunities for new resource recovery and recycling streams
  • Operational processes that can be optimised to reduce waste and improve business flexibility
  • Stock management practices that may cause product damage and create unnecessary wastage 

Waste audits not only help customers to better understand the waste generated by their businesses, but also provide them with the knowledge and insights they need to improve sustainability outcomes. A side benefit of waste audits is that it may also lead to operational business improvements, increasing profits indirectly.

Cleanaway’s National Sustainability Solution Specialist, Manny Manatakis points out that “Making a sustainable future possible is not only about managing our waste effectively and safely, but it is also about minimising the amount of waste generated in the first place. A combination of sustainable thinking, proactive stock management, and change in attitude about what sellable produce looks like… can make a huge difference.”

Re-examining procurement strategies

Procuring with environmental sustainability in mind

Small changes to your procurement strategies can lead to huge environmental and sustainability gains. Switching from using virgin products to recycled products for instance can lead to huge savings, not just in cost, but for the environment too.

Re-refined oil is a perfect example. Waste oil from used engine oil, oily water, hydraulic and sump oils can be re-refined into new oils, with almost no difference from virgin refined oil. This helps offset Australia’s oil needs by approximately 900,000 barrels yearly, and breathes new life into a hazardous waste.

Penrite’s Enviro Box takes this sustainability and waste oil idea a step further. Penrite created an innovative Enviro Box™ oil packaging and dispensing system, with all components, including the packaging, being completely recyclable. This helps minimise the impact on the environment.

Commingled recycling services make it easy for businesses to recycle

Businesses that produce a lot of packaging waste, also have a great opportunity to increase the sustainability rates with Cleanaway’s Harvest service. Cardboard, paper, plastic shrink wrap and polystyrene can be collected in one bin - simplifying the recycling process, and making it easier for your business to divert more waste from landfill.

Organics food recycling is also a waste stream that often goes neglected. Collecting and recycling food and kitchen waste can help create a 'closed loop' system that benefits both businesses and farms, by producing nutrient rich compost and mulch.

Flock Eatery (another awards finalist) participates in this closed loop by sending their organic waste and food scraps to the same farm that supplies them with their greens, creating a perfect environmental and sustainability closed loop. Diverting food waste from landfill has an additional benefit for the environment as food waste emits of a lot of CO2 when it breaks down, which is avoided when processed correctly.

Partnering for sustainability

Partnering with organisations that complement your core business operations can also extend your environmental and sustainability impact.

For instance, Cleanaway partners with Paintback, an initiative by the Australia paint manufacturing industry, to collect waste paint and its related packaging all over the country. This makes it easy for DIY and professional painters to recycle their waste paint and packaging responsibly, and creates new sustainability practices for paint manufacturers.

Our joint-venture with TOMRA as the Network Operator for the New South Wales’ container deposit scheme, Return and Earn is another example. By pairing TOMRA’s industry-leading reverse vending technology with Cleanaway’s extensive network and waste management expertise, we’re able to deliver an innovative container return experience for customers and optimise the value of the recyclables as a commodity.

Partnerships may also extend to collaborating with others in the same industry to raise awareness of specific environmental issues. In addition to their environmentally-friendly procurement and business practices, the Fox and Moon custom tattoo and art collective (another awards finalist) often collaborates with other vegan businesses to raise awareness and funds for charity.


- PART ONE: Content supplied by Cleanaway


Take a look at Part Two, where Cleanaway will list how businesses can integrate sustainability into their day-to-day culture.