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Corporate responsibility in a harsher business landscape
Karen James, commercial manager at Lime, the total waste division of the PHS Group, discusses how contract cleaning services are now enhancing their offering to include recycling services.
So many aspects of business life are about getting the balance right; income and expenditure; dynamism and circumspection.
One of the most challenging is the balancing act between efficiency and social responsibility. Every organisation has to make ends meet and every business needs to make a profit for its shareholders. Yet somewhere in this list of priorities they must also fulfil their responsibilities to their stakeholders, workforce, customers and the wider community. They must also comply with the law.
Every business knows that they must take a responsible approach to their environmental impact from air pollution to unused food. Organisations with even the barest notion of responsibility now have concerns about the environment and the risks associated with their storage of their data.
As awareness has increased, an entire industry has grown up in recent years in parallel with these increasing concerns. After generations of being perceived as the dirty and unattractive face of industry, the waste disposal and recycling industry has become the leading-edge focus of environmental consciousness. The great corporations and institutions at the heart of modern society have all taken steps to measure and control their environmental impact. With these new incentives, the waste and recycling industry has become progressively more imaginative and efficient.
However although we've made massive strides, many companies still only recycle the part of their paper waste that has confidential information printed on it. Some surprisingly, still don't recycle anything at all. However, increasing waste disposal costs and ISO 14001 requirements are forcing companies to look into recycling to reduce costs and enhance their environmental performance.
A number of leading waste and recycling companies offer a total waste management solution to their clients, some of these services may include:
* Secure, confidential document shredding
* Residual waste
* Dry mixed recyclables - glass, cans, plastic, paper
* Hazardous waste
* Textiles and shoes
* Food waste
* WEEE electrical and electronic items
Lime, my company, is a case in point. We offer a much wider service, based on the improved efficiency of converged recycling technologies. In the traditionally competitive cleaning sector, competition is fierce as businesses jostle to win contracts. As the drive for cost efficiencies strengthens across all sectors, buyers are increasingly shopping around for combined goods and services.
Contract cleaning companies are turning to value added products and services to enhance their offering. The key to this growing market is to offer office recycling solutions.
The cross over between waste management and cleaning is clear to see. Traditionally, much of this waste was collected by a general waste contractor and sent to landfill, incurring Landfill Tax costs on the waste producer.
As landfill space is rapidly declining we all have a duty to utilise more environmentally sustainable solutions were possible. The waste management industry has made great strides towards "zero landfill", encouraging staff to recycle all the waste they produce. In some cases, businesses have been able to stop the use of desk-side bins, and instead provide banks of recycling bins for paper, cardboard, plastic, cans, food waste and general waste. Overall, this high level of segregation at source means that, lower waste disposal costs, are incurred and recycling rates are dramatically increased.
What does this mean for cleaning companies?
As the move towards holistic recycling and 'zero to landfill' becomes reality, contract cleaners are likely to find themselves losing business unless they provide recycling and waste management as part of their service. Emptying desk-side bins will no longer be an option.
Lime Recycling Solutions works with contract cleaning companies and enable them to offer this converged service to their clients. By operating our own businesses in a sustainable manner and helping our customers to do the same, LIME is well placed to be the partner of choice to responsible organisations seeking to instantly improve their environmental and social performance.
T: 0800 027 3333
11th August 2011