5 Ways to Apply Zero Waste to your Startup

Guest Post by Aemilia Lvy

When you launch your startup, you want to do something that will make your business stand out. Something iconic! Providing a high-quality service or product is great, but there are several other ways to stand out. If you can position your startup in a way that contributes to causes outside of commercial success, it can strike a chord with people in your market, as well as in the media.

Corporate social responsibility continues to grow in importance. The cost of doing business generally comes at a cost to the environment. However, there are businesses that have made it their mission to minimize their impact on the environment by pursuing bold environmental goals. The boldest being zero-waste.

At first glance, it sounds like it is an unachievable feat if an entrepreneur wants to gain commercial success. However, there are simple steps startups can take towards achieving zero-waste with their organization. Here’s how it can be done.

Eco-Friendly Building

There are clever building designs that allow an office building to function just like any other, but it has no negative impact on the environment. This is achieved in a few ways.

  • The building uses solar panels to harness energy that can be used in the building.
  • The building’s power source comes from renewable energy.
  • The building harvests rainwater, which can be used in the building’s irrigation and plumbing systems.
  • The building’s interior design is created from recycled materials.
  • The building’s design utilizes solar lighting. Any artificial lighting is powered by LED lights.
  • The building’s design allows heat to be controlled through solar, wind and environmentally-friendly HVAC systems.

Hire remote workers

Building an in-house team requires people to commute to and from the office. Additionally, people will bring items from home, which they will dispose of in your office.

Additionally, office workers require more energy to power their electrical equipment and for their lighting needs. This increases the operating costs in your organization.

Hiring remote workers eliminates this financial and environmental cost. If you decide to have office workers, give them the option to work remotely from home or a location of their choice.

Incentivize eco-friendly travel for people in your organization

There are things such as bike schemes, car-pooling or even subsidies for taking environmentally-friendly public transportation that can be used to incentivize eco-friendly travel. Even things like providing subsidies for rent or mortgages if employees live within a commutable radius can help.

Partner with ethical suppliers

There’s only so much you can do within your startup when pursuing zero-waste. So it’s ideal to partner with suppliers that can ethically supply your goods, as well as provide a sustainable process for when the product that they supply reaches the end of its life.

For example, Australian ink cartridge supplier Cartridges Direct works closely with the businesses that it supplies by providing parcels to return the used ink cartridges when they reach the end of their product life-cycle. Cartridges Direct then passes on the used cartridges to Cartridges 4 Planet Ark, who ensure that they are recycled ethically and used to produce other goods such as inks, pens and ewood.

Create a culture of zero waste in your startup

The culture starts with the people in charge. So lead by example by stating and practicing zero-waste within your organization. Allow employees within your startup to ‘champion change’ that will result in sustainability improvements within your organization.

Small actions towards sustainability for startups can result in big cost savings in the future for both the environment and the business. Explore ways your startup can champion an eco-friendly change by adopting a culture and mission around zero-waste.

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Nikki is an author and writer specializing in green living ideas and tips, adventure travel, upcycling, and all things eco-friendly. She's traveled the globe, swum with sharks and been bitten by a lion (fact). She lives in a tiny town with a fat cat and a very bad dog.

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