Businesses That Don't Recycle Are Missing Out - Planet Ark Environmental Foundation

Businesses That Don't Recycle Are Missing Out

By Brad Gray  March 16th, 2017

A local grocer spending $12,000 a year less on waste fees, an electronics retailer saving $8,000 and a large vitamin manufacturer saving $68,000 a year are just some of the example of the savings that can come from better waste management.


Businesses that don’t recycle face unnecessary costs, which can directly impact their bottom line, according to a new resource launched by environment organisation Planet Ark. The resource is titled The Business Case for Less Waste and is designed to help staff at any level of an organisation make the case for better waste management practices.

Every year in Australia, businesses generate over 12.5 million tonnes of waste. Almost half of that waste (46%) goes to landfill, despite estimates that approximately 70% can be reused or recycled.

New research shows that 76% of businesses believe that reducing waste is part of being a sustainable and ethical businesses. However, there is also the perception that they are doing all they can to manage their waste, that there may be little benefit in doing more, or that they don’t have the knowledge to improve their waste and recycling practices.

Less Waste & Less Wasted Money

“It’s clear that many workplaces don’t understand that they may be wasting money by sending waste to landfill. Take Cumberland Golf Club as an example; by investing in a wood chipper they cut their waste fees by $8,000 a year, and The Good Guys in Rockdale reduced their skip bin pick-ups from three times a week to one a fortnight saving thousands of dollars a year,” says Ryan Collins, Recycling Programs Manager at Planet Ark.

The costs of sending business waste to landfill are significant and not just environmental. Australian workplaces pay a state government levy for each tonne of eligible waste sent to landfill. The rate varies depending upon material type and business location. The most common charge in Western Australia is $55 a tonne, in Victoria it is $62, South Australia $76 and in NSW it is $133. In the ACT the landfill gate fee is $146. These levies are easily avoided by sending waste material to recycling.

By saving on waste costs, an organisation can reinvest in its core activities. “As a community owned not-for-profit we’d much rather use money for children’s education resources than to have rubbish taken away,” said Kathryn Barker, Early Childhood Services Manager at Illawarra Area Child Care.

Positive Action

  • Visit the BusinessRecycling website for a copy of The Business Case for Less Waste resource . It includes case studies, tips for making the case for better waste practices and links to resources like free signage and guides for Choosing the Right Recycler.
  • Look for government grants and other support for implementing better waste management like the New South Waste government’s Bin Trim Program.


All references and further details are included in The Business Case for Less Waste.

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Positive Environment News has been compiled using publicly available information. Planet Ark does not take responsibility for the accuracy of the original information and encourages readers to check the references before using this information for their own purposes.  


By Brad Gray

Brad was Planet Ark's Head of Campaigns for 10 years. He trained and worked as a history and geography teacher before moving into the health education sector for 14 years. With a strong passion for human environments, Brad started with Planet Ark in 2007 as Recycling Programs Manager.

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