Why recycling is important to business and individuals alike
As a collective, we all need to take action to preserve the environment we live in. This approach is no different regardless of your perspective as either a business or an individual.
As the person in charge of Inland Digital’s environmental policies and procedures, it’s something that I think about in our business on a daily basis. It concerns me that, while issues such as climate change are often debated, we seem to minimalise other important issues. One such issue in my mind is recycling, given the latest news reports about other countries, predominantly our Asian neighbours such as China and Malaysia, no longer accepting our plastic waste for recycling.
Is it just me or does there seem to be a lack of concern about this from all levels of government and even, at times, business? It’s something that I believe needs to change.
Government plays a role
Recycling is a core issue that I deal with at Inland Digital. As a business that sells multifunction devices and printers, plastics waste and recycling are a major part of our environmental policies.
I am amazed at the lack of facilities available on some products. For example, our headquarters is located in the Central West of NSW. Much of our recyclable material is shipped to major centres such as Sydney and for core plastic waste, that’s achievable. But something like polystyrene isn’t and we don’t have any recycling options in our region. It’s an example of the challenge that we face in the business community and is something I want to see changed.
Governments have to take recycling seriously. There have been plenty of media reports in recent times covering the amount of plastic recycling that ends up back in landfill. It’s just not good enough: It may be an optimistic view but we really need an all–levels-of-government approach to recycling.
Take the lead
As I mentioned above, I manage Inland Digital’s environmental program. We take our environmental footprint seriously and do everything we can to minimalise any material going to landfill.
For example, when a multifunction device is returned to us post its life with a client, we make a decision on whether to refurbish that device to be used again in the field or to strip the device for parts and recycle the remainder. For those latter situations, we decommission the device and remove anything that is reusable in other client devices. Waste products, such as metal and plastic, are then sent for recycling. We track everything to ensure we know exactly where it is going to end up.
All of our paper and packaging is recycled and we are part of the toner recycling process run by Planet Ark.
It’s something I’m incredibly passionate about and I am proud of the fact that we take our approach to recycling seriously. It’s something that I would challenge all businesses to do; while governments need to act we cannot wait for that alone. All of us can take a local approach to doing our bit to recycle as much business based waste as possible.
Three steps to a better environment
For me, there’s three action items on recycling we can push for today.
- A coordinated approach from government
As spelled out above, our government at all levels needs to get its act together. We need options other than sending our waste offshore. I’ve seen some great initiatives turning plastic waste into everything from park benches and housing bricks right through to it being used to build roads. Surely business and government can work together to better use plastic recycling across a broad range of industries.
Andrew ‘Twiggy’ Forrest has even led the charge on a plastics ‘tax’. It will be interesting to see what happens in this space.
- Alternatives to plastic packaging
This is something I think could be a real game changer. Plastics in packaging are a huge issue, from children’s toys to supermarket packaging and everything in between.
There are alternatives available, for example, plant-based packaging. It’s something we should all start to demand as an option.
- We all need to own it
As a business, we’re taking the issue seriously. If all businesses ‘get on the bus’, then it will make a huge difference to the recycling issue.
If you haven’t, I’d ask yourself the question: Why not?