Environmentally sustainable businesses are often more efficient and have lower operational costs than those who aren’t. They also tend to achieve a better bottom line, all while protecting New Zealand’s natural environment for future generations.

Over the next few weeks, we will update you on various ways to help you obtain a more sustainable business.

If you’re looking to make your business more sustainable, cutting waste is a good place to start.

What is a sustainable business?


Ways to Cut Waste


The first, simple step is to check everything that comes into your business really needs to be there. Think about the packaging your suppliers send you. Can it be reduced or recycled? Can they take it back to reuse?

If it’s possible, avoid low-quality products, materials and tools. These rapidly become waste, especially single-use or disposable items and plastics.

For example, Auckland-based Kōkako Organic Coffee Roasters reduces waste by asking suppliers to minimise packaging on inwards goods. They are also in the process of converting its wholesale coffee bean deliveries to a returnable bucket system that eliminates the need for packaging.


Reusable cups, refillable soaps and reusable hand towels or dryers are great investments, not only for the environment but also financially. Consider whether you or anybody else can reuse leftover materials or equipment. See if there are products you can share or hire instead of owning them.


A common method is to set up a simple three-bin system: landfill, recycling and paper. Check all bins regularly to see what your biggest wastes are and consider adding a bin for the next material you most use. Involve staff so they are aware of the system as well.

How you dispose of your waste is different in each region and it’s important to check with your local council to understand what options are available as this may influence how you recycle.

Your supply chain may also be a source of waste and by-products, so it might pay to look at what happens to your products at the end of their life. Can you design, make or package them differently so there’s less waste? It’s good to think about what happens to your products or what you’re using after

General waste resources — Ministry for the Environment

Myth: “The landlord/our cleaners sort the waste out, I don’t have much control over it.”

Fact: It’s generally not difficult to negotiate your own waste services. You can ask the current contractor to do things a little differently for you. Or you can find your own waste companies to work with you on things like food waste and recycling.



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