Sustainability: Save money and reduce, reuse and recycle

Learn which methodologies your company can utilize to reduce, reuse and recycle.

Less wastage creates cost savings and reduces the number of discarded items that pollute our environment. When we think about recycling and reusing, we think blue box. But sustainability means more than that. Sustainability in business means changing the mindset of every employee so that they make an effort to consider how their work environment can reduce waste and how discarded items can be reused in a positive way.

Simple ways to reduce, reuse and recycle:

  • Shift from a paper-based environment to an electronic system. Use electronic forms, such as expense reports, rather than paper-based forms. Electronic forms can be delivered within minutes, can contain more controls, such as identifying the recipients of the form, providing timestamps and making fewer calculation errors, while paper-based forms require longer delivery times, storage space, and contribute to the destruction of trees and wildlife.
  • Reorganize internal mail systems. Rather than investing in resources to facilitate the delivery of internal mail, switch to an electronic mail system or create a shared central repository. Printing paper copies and disseminating them to various internal departments or users clogs internal mailing systems and uses resources that can be redistributed to benefit other areas.
  • Map processes to eliminate or reduce waste. Process mapping with key personnel allows them to increase their knowledge of everyone’s role in the process and to identify elements that can be eliminated. Non value-added activities can be streamlined or eliminated altogether.
  • Reduce energy and water costs. Switch to energy-efficient lightbulbs and windows. These may cost a lot initially but, over the long term, will result in savings. These cost-saving initiatives may be partially or fully funded by local utility companies or through government grants. Consider swapping old leaky water faucets in bathrooms to sensor-based water faucets, which allow running water to stop only when the sensor does not pick up any movement around it.

These are a few initiatives that your company can implement to create a sustainable environment and cut costs, now and in the future.

Keep the conversation going

What is your company doing to reduce, reuse and recycle to support sustainability? Post a comment below.


The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect that of CPA Canada.

About the Author

Wendy Castanha, CPA, CGA, BAccSc

Consultant, DuCa Management Consulting/Professor, Durham College