Businesses losing money by not recycling

03_Businesses losing money by not recycling

Andi Yu
(Australian Associated Press)

Cafes in inner Sydney are paying to dump 3,000 tonnes of coffee grounds in landfill each year, when a little more attention to recycling could save them money.

A report from not-for-profit environmental group Planet Ark says 70 per cent of businesses think they are doing all they can to reduce waste, even though only 60 per cent of commercial and industrial waste is recycled.

If businesses use a recycling contractor to pick up their waste instead of sending it to landfill, they will save money and in some cases even make money, Planet Ark campaign head Brad Gray said.

“Most of the time businesses don’t actually spend any time thinking about what they’re paying for waste,” Mr Gray said.

“If they are part of a bigger building it’s probably part of their rental fees.”

Recyclable items commonly sent to landfill include plastic, cardboard and food scraps.

This includes more than 90 per cent of coffee waste from the 921 cafes in the City of Sydney, which could instead be sold to make oil or compost.

“It’s really good for growing mushrooms,” he said.

Cardboard is a material most businesses are either lazy or ignorant about, Mr Gray said, as it is flattened to remove the big spaces between pieces.

“(Businesses) are paying for air to be removed from their property,” he said.

Business managers are often limited in their understanding of recycling because they think of it only in terms of what is recycled in the home.

“What we’re trying to do is encourage them to think in a fuller range,” Mr Gray said.

“If you’re a manufacturer, those plastic off cuts – why not recycle those?”

The report also said 76 per cent of Australian businesses believe good waste management improves their public perception, an incentive to be environmentally friendly.

“They have to recruit less often and staff are happier in their work,” Mr Gray said.


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