Table of Contents
Many businesses worldwide have begun the increasingly important transition towards sustainability and circularity. Business-as-usual banks on resource depletion, and quite frankly, the world cannot sustain it. Eventually, these resources will dry up, and operations will simply cease. Moving towards sustainability now is for survival and not just for your company. The good news is that many ways to make your operations more environmentally friendly can actually help your bottom line. This is particularly true when you start with these top changes:
Replace Your Hazardous Materials
We used lead in our paints, food, and asbestos as insulation. As time passes, we understand the impact of the materials we use more fully and either continue as normal or make a drastic switch. The only difference between those examples and today is that we must keep the earth’s health in mind, not just humans.
A good example of this is polymers. Polymers are a common material used in the material, manufacturing, and 3D printing industries, and yet many are hazardous, soluble only in harsh chemicals, and aren’t biocompatible. This is not the way it has to be. Instead, you can opt for a water-soluble alternative like Aquazol from polychemistry.com. As the only producer of this product thirty years later, it can be an easy switch to miss. That’s why it’s so important to regularly audit your current operations to ensure you’re using the best materials and suppliers that align with your sustainability goals.
Sell On Your Waste
Many companies may very well want your waste. For example, food waste is being used as the basis for many textiles and materials producers. Even everyday business waste like cardboard or metals can be sold on to recycling companies. The only caveat is that you’ll need to sort and prepare these materials if you intend to sell them onwards. Giving your waste a second home means participating in circularity. As time goes on, see how you can expand these efforts to include the consumer waste produced by your customers. For example, you could establish a buy-back scheme to dismantle your products and reuse elements to lower your raw material cost and reliance.
More efficient systems cost less to run. They also take less energy, produce less waste, and are overall more environmentally friendly. If you can narrow your production gap so that you produce to demand, you reduce waste and cost. You’ll also be able to operate more effectively with reduced demand on the natural environment.
Other Key Changes
These changes take time to implement and usually come with bigger upfront costs. Keeping that in mind, they’ll all help you save in the long run:
- Switching or establishing renewable energy sources like solar
- Capturing emissions for cleaner air
- Establishing a net-zero carbon policy that invests in carbon-capture solutions like tree planting to offset emissions
- Partnering with sustainably-minded businesses
- Investing in circularity
A sustainable business can operate with minimal reliance on raw materials while also zeroing out emissions through various strategies. The steps that are appropriate for your company will vary drastically from industry to industry, so work with a professional that can help you build your own custom road map.