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clean up australia

Photo by Tim Levy (supplied by Clean Up Australia)

With single-use plastics and waste piling up on Australia’s streets and beaches, an annual initiative returns in March to help us all clean up.

On 1 March, Australian businesses will get the opportunity to step up to conserve the environment with Clean Up Australia’s Business Clean Up Day.

For over 30 years, the not-for-profit environmental conservation organisation has been responsible for Australia’s largest community-based environmental event. It’s a way for businesses to support their communities while boosting team morale.

“Right now, our environment is experiencing the full force of the pandemic,” said Clean Up Australia Chairman Pip Kiernan.

“We’re seeing a huge surge in single-use plastics and unprecedented numbers of face masks, takeaway coffee cups, and food packaging littering our footpaths, parks, and beaches. There has been no better time for Australian businesses to step up to support our communities and environment.”

According to recent figures from the Australian Bureau of Statistics, the country generates 76 million tonnes of waste, with 20.5 million tonnes going to Australian landfills. Between 2018-2019, $17 billion was spent on waste management services.

Said Ms. Kiernan, “Not only is Business Clean Up Day a powerful team-building activity but can be a springboard for businesses to make ongoing changes to benefit the environment by supporting solutions which move us towards a circular economy – where everything is a resource, and there is no such thing as waste.”

Businesses can arrange simple one-off clean-up events, host corporate challenges, or book virtual team-building sessions on the importance of reducing environmental impact.

Over 19 million Australians have donated their time to Clean Up Australia activities in the last three decades. 

If businesses can’t participate in this year’s Business Clean Up Day, Ms. Kiernan suggests donating to Clean Up Australia or joining the Workplace Giving Program so that employees can make small, regular donations through their pre-tax pay.

Source: Jilbert Ebrahimi on Unsplash

Why should businesses care about their waste management?

There are numerous benefits to businesses taking stock of their environmental impact:

  • It assists a businesses’ reputation as consumers are more likely to support organisations that care about how their actions impact the environment
  • It can result in cost savings by spending less on raw materials, water, energy, and waste management
  • It can improve workplace health and safety by reducing exposure to chemicals and waste materials
  • It can help avoid fines and assist legal compliance as businesses must meet certain environmental protection laws

How can businesses reduce their environmental impact?

  • Consider any excessive packaging for your products, shipments, and supplies. Can there be less plastic wrapping? Could one box be removed? 
  • For businesses that generate organic waste, composting can be a convenient way to get rid of the waste while developing healthier soil in the community.
  • Apart from providing recycling bins and paying for recycling services, businesses can ensure employees understand how these recycling methods work. What materials can’t be recycled? How can individuals implement these measures in their households?
  • Many businesses are moving to a paperless model to reduce their paper waste. Companies can look into digitising records, making payments digitally, and encouraging e-mail over paper services for purposes like invoicing.

READ MORE: How important will sustainability be in 2022? Very.

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Rhea Laxmi Nath

Rhea Laxmi Nath

Rhea L Nath is a Sydney-based writer and editor. In 2022, she was named Young Journalist of the Year at the NSW Premier's Multicultural Communications Awards.

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