Guide

How to reuse wasted resources in your business

Advantages of reusing waste

You may be able to reuse materials and equipment in your own business or another organisation may be able to reuse your unwanted and wasted resources.

Reusing resources can reduce the costs of buying raw materials or having to pay for disposal. You may also be able to generate income from materials and goods that are valuable to another business.

Reusing wasted resources within your business

The goods and materials you can reuse will depend on your type of business. Office-based businesses, for example, can:

  • refill toner and ink-jet cartridges
  • use waste paper as notepaper
  • use durable cups, mugs, glasses and cutlery rather than disposable alternatives
  • reuse envelopes and other packaging
  • donate used equipment and furniture to charities
  • use greywater recycling systems for your toilets

Manufacturing businesses, for example, may be able to reuse packaging and off-cuts, and capture waste heat generated by manufacturing processes for heating or reuse elsewhere in production.

You should speak to your staff and ask them to 'think before they throw' as someone else may want to use their waste.

Reuse by other organisations

You can offer unwanted materials to other organisations which can use them without alteration, such as:

  • production by-products
  • second-hand products
  • end-of-line products
  • obsolete equipment

Industrial symbiosis encourages resource matching between businesses - you can find out more about the advantages and disadvanges of trading waste and what resource matching is.

You could try business-to-business online waste exchanges which trade a wide range of used industrial materials and equipment. You may also be able to sell goods and materials on online auction sites.

Donating goods and materials can improve the image of your business and demonstrate your corporate social responsibility.

Whichever way you choose to deal with your wasted resources, you are responsible for making sure you comply with your duty of care for business waste.