Waste reduction is increasing in importance for businesses. Not only does waste reduction have many environmental benefits, but businesses are increasingly coming to the awareness that reducing waste can positively affect the bottom line. More and more governments and organizations are getting involved in helping companies and citizens reduce waste. Also, waste reduction consulting firms are being hired by companies to help decrease their costs through waste reduction.
Waste disposal is becoming more expensive to companies and our earth as landfills are filling up. As costs go up businesses seek to decrease costs anyway they can and waste reduction is more and more becoming a viable option. Also, businesses are learning they can enhance their public image by implementing green initiatives.
Johnson & Johnson is a great example of achieving big savings through waste reduction. J&J began a waste reduction program in 1988 and estimated savings of over 2.8 million in the first two and a half years. First, J&J reviewed ways to save on its tremendous amount of packing it uses to send out its products. By changing packing paper from 30lb to 28lb paper they saved 115 tons of paper, and USD 450,000 annually. To date, J&J reduced its packaging by 2,750 tons annually, plastic by 1,000 tons, metal by 100 tons, and other materials by 50 tons.
Another example given is the Brown and Sharpe Manufacturing company. Simply by recognizing that wooden pallets and shipping crates accounted for half of their waste by weight so Brown and Sharpe began re-using the pallets and crates that arrived with incoming shipments. This eliminated costs by not having to purchase new ones and reduce raw materials used. When pallets and crates were damaged they would be sent to a mill where they would be burned to create steam power which was much less costly than sending to a landfill. They used the same initiative to re-use incoming plastic packaging for packing their outgoing products.