Some Banks Just Don’t Get It

October 20, 2009 by  
Filed under Insights

inside envelope of bank preapproved credit card

It is amazing how some banks waste resources in their marketing campaigns. One example is when banks send pre-approved credit cards to their customers, even though their customers never ask for those cards.

The photo above shows all the material inside a single envelope by DBS, including the letter, pre-approved credit card, brochures, card agreement, and discount vouchers. Customers who are not interested in the credit cards offered by the banks simply throw them away, hopefully into recycling bags or bins.

Imagine the envelopes, letters, brochures and credit cards that go to waste, just because the banks simply chose to throw them at their customers without asking them if they want the credit cards in the first place. These banks are not only wasting resources and money but also ending up irritating their customers.

Are you one of those banks? It’s time to rethink and do things differently (hint: read Seth Godin’s books for help).

This post was first published at Green Business Singapore.

2008 Waste Statistics and Current Waste Situation in Singapore (Part Four)

May 5, 2009 by  
Filed under Insights

Continued from Part Three, which looked at the recycling rate of the different waste, and the opportunities for food waste reduction.

This final part explores the opportunities for reducing the generation of Paper/Cardboard and Plastics waste. We will look at campaigns, companies, services, projects and tips that help to reduce paper and plastic waste.

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Opportunities for Paper Waste Reduction

We think that there is great potential to reduce our paper mail and junk mail, and also switch to duplex printing.

epost by Canada Post

Canada Post offers a free epost box. With epost, users can have bills and other mailers sent to them electronically and allows them to view and store them online.

Zumbox

Zumbox is a paperless postal system that provides a virtual mailbox for every street address in the United States, which allows users to receive, view, organize, store and send their mail online.

Red Dot Campaign

The Red Dot Campaign is a social marketing campaign in Canada to encourage advertisers to reduce waste and resources in paper-based advertising, and evaluate their current marketing strategies.

Stop Junk Mail

Stop Junk Mail is a non-profit UK-based group giving advice on how to reduce junk mail. They also provide ‘No junk mail’ stickers for households to paste on their door and letterbox to stop unaddressed leaflets and/or free newspapers.

Voluntary Admail Reduction Program

This Voluntary Admail Reduction Program is a by-law of the City of Ottawa to regulate the distribution of unaddressed advertising material. The by-law states that:

No distributor shall distribute or cause to be distributed any unaddressed advertising material on private property if the owner or occupant of the property has affixed a sign in a conspicuous way on his or her own property, as prescribed in accordance with Schedule “A” to this by-law indicating that he or she does not wish to receive any unaddressed advertising material.

The property owner or occupant can participate in the program by purchasing a sticker to indicate their desire not to receive unaddressed advertising material.

Duplex Printing

One of the easiest way to save paper in the office is to set the printer on default to print on both sides of a sheet of paper. Here’s a guide to show you the steps for setting your printer to duplex printing.

Check out more tips on reducing paper.

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Opportunities for Plastics Waste Reduction

We think that there is great potential to reduce our use of plastic bottles, plastic bags and plastic packaging.

Tap

Tap is an ethical enterprise and campaign to get people to rethink bottled water and switch to water from the tap.

Tappening

Tappening is a campaign to educate the public about the unnecessary waste of resources and harm on the environment caused by the bottled water industry, and to encourage people to drink tap water and say no to bottled water.

Are You Ready?

This is the National Plastic Bag Campaign in Australia to help individuals and retailers move towards a phase-out or reduction in plastic bag use.

The Positive Package

The Positive Package is a campaign to share information on reducing, reusing and recycling packaging.

The Guide to Evolving Packaging Design

The online Guide to Evolving Packaging Design provides ideas, tips and tools to help retailers and manufacturers change the way packaging is produced and used.

The National Packaging Covenant

The National Packaging Covenant is a voluntary initiative by the government and industry in Australia to reduce the environmental effects of packaging.

Check out more tips to reduce plastics by avoiding disposable items and choosing products with less packaging.

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We encourage more individuals, communities, NGOs, businesses and the government to explore the mentioned opportunities to reduce the waste output of Food Waste, Paper/Cardboard and Plastics. There is potential for more awareness, campaigns, governmental and business services to reduce our waste. For a start, the new 3R Fund would be useful for providing financial support to implement these waste reduction opportunities.

Read Part One, Part Two and Part Three.

Conduct a Waste Audit

December 8, 2008 by  
Filed under Reduce

If your company or organisation wishes to reduce the waste generated from your premises, you can first conduct a waste audit.

A waste audit involves finding out the type and quantity of waste generated, and how the waste are generated and disposed. This audit would help you to identify the problems and opportunities for waste reduction.

How to Conduct a Waste Audit

You can conduct a simple waste audit by:

  • Sorting the waste in the waste bins to find out the waste type and quantity
  • Checking the material purchasing records and waste disposal records to learn where the waste comes from and where it ends up
  • Walking around the site and checking with the staff to identify where and how the waste are generated

With the data collected from the waste audit, you can identify the major waste types and find ways to reduce them at the source of generation or divert them from disposal through reuse and recycling.

Check with your suppliers and see whether there are opportunities to reduce their packaging or take back the packaging for reuse. You can also find out whether some of the waste can be given to someone who wants it or whether it can be sent for recycling. What is considered as waste to your company might become a resource for another company.

To find a recycling collector or someone who wants your waste, check out NEA’s list of collectors and traders.

If You Need Help

Green Future Solutions provides consultancy services to help companies and organisations introduce an effective and sustainable recycling programme in the office. The scope of the recycling programme includes:

  • Conduct a waste audit to establish baseline
  • Source for recycling collectors and bins
  • Educate staff on waste minimisation and recycling programme
  • Monitor and review the programme

Guidebook on Waste Minimisation for Industries

The National Environment Agency (NEA) has published a Guidebook on Waste Minimisation for Industries to help companies reduce their waste and practise recycling. The guidebook contains information on how to conduct a waste audit, and also how to introduce a waste minimisation programme through tips and case studies. Visit the NEA website to download the guidebook.

Conduct a Waste Audit for Your Home

You can also follow the same steps above to conduct a simple waste audit for your home. Find out the waste types from your dustbin and try to find ways to minimise them. Can you reduce the waste by not buying them in the first place? Can you reuse the waste for another purpose? Can you recycle the waste?

Start Recycling at Work

December 8, 2008 by  
Filed under Recycle

office recycling bins

If your company or organisation already has a recycling programme, that’s good and you can recycle at work. If not, it’s time to start one now. Just follow our 6 steps to minimise waste and start recycling at work.

First, you would need to form a team and get commitment from your management and colleagues. Conduct a waste audit and find ways to minimise waste through reduce and reuse. Next, start a recycling programme and educate your staff on how to recycle. Finally, remember to gather feedback, review and improve your recycling programme.

1. Get Commitment and Form a Team

Highlight the benefits of waste minimisation and recycling to your management and colleagues, and get their commitment and support. Form a team to be in-charge of the waste minimisation and recycling programme, and ensure that resources are allocated to implement the programme.

2. Conduct a Waste Audit

A waste audit involves finding out the type and quantity of waste generated, and how the waste are generated and disposed. This audit would help you to identify the problems and opportunities for waste reduction. Learn how to conduct a waste audit.

3. Minimise Waste Through Reduce and Reuse

Based on the waste audit, identify the major waste types and find ways to minimise the waste generation. Reduce them at the source of generation or divert them from disposal through reuse. Refer to our Reduce and Reuse categories for ideas.

4. Set Up a Recycling Programme

After your waste minimisation efforts, identify the remaining waste that can be recycled. Find a recycling contractor to provide recycling bins and collection services. First, you can approach your current waste contractor and check whether they can provide recycling services.

For commercial buildings and industrial estates with recycling programmes, recycling bins or skips are usually placed at certain locations and the recyclables are collected by the recycling contractor.

To find a recycling collector or someone who wants your waste, check out NEA’s list of collectors and traders, or you can use the online business waste exchange, Waste is not Waste, to find someone who wants your waste.

5. Educate Staff on How to Recycle

Educate staff on the new recycling programme – the location of recycling bins, what can be recycled, and where the recyclables end up. The education could be conducted through events, talks and through posters.

6. Review and Improve

Gather feedback about the recycling programme from the staff and conduct checks on the recycling bins to ensure that the correct items are recycled. Monitor the amount of waste generated and recycled. Adjust and improve the recycling programme if necessary.

If You Need Help

Green Future Solutions provides consultancy services to help companies and organisations introduce an effective and sustainable recycling programme in their office. The scope of the recycling programme includes:

  • Conduct a waste audit to establish baseline
  • Source for recycling collectors and bins
  • Educate staff on waste minimisation and recycling programme
  • Monitor and review the programme