Reduce, Reuse, Recycle: The Three R’s of Business

Reduce, Reuse, Recycle, Repurpose - Earth Day 2018

How to rethink your customer solutions to better fit your customer without being wasteful of company time or money.

Written By: Holmes Team

With Earth Day taking place this Sunday the 22nd of April 2018, I wanted to bring light to a wasteful part of a business that is often overlooked.

The Three Unofficial R’s of Business

A lot of the time in business, all we think consumers want is the very newest and latest gadget. So in response, businesses spend countless hours and many valuable resources to realize that our customers are wrong.

You read that right.

Our customers are wrong.

What our customers want is not, in fact, a completely new product, service, or solution, but rather just a minor tweak to the solution we have already created.

Think about it…

  • We are on the 10th version of the iPhone.
  • We are at the end of Season 43 of Saturday Night Live.
  • Professional baseball has been the highlight of American summers since 1869 (I’m looking at you, Cincinnati¬†Reds!)

While humans do evolve and change over time, it is not like we one day wake up and completely change everything about our thought processes, preferences, and problems.

Keep Your Thinking Sustainable

This year, our focus for Earth Day is the plastic pollution of our world. The changes needed to make a substantial impact on this problem are not big, but rather they have a need for everyone participate in order to really make an impact.

So, what does Earth Day have to do with your business? Below, I will outline the three R’s with examples to not only lower your plastic intake but also how to rethink your business and the services or products you offer.

Reduce

There are multiple alternatives to many of the plastic options we currently use. For example, instead of wrapping your leftovers up in plastic wrap, why not try something like these organic reusable food wraps? You can use them hundreds of times, and all you have to do is wash them off with cold water and hang to dry. Not only would this substantially reduce the amount of plastic your household consumes, but it would also help you save money at the grocery!

Organic food wrap alternative

You can use these organic food wraps as an alternative to your plastic food wraps.

As for your business, how many times have you told a customer, “Yeah we can do that!” But you know full well you have NEVER done it before, your team might not have the expertise to complete it well, and it will definitely put you behind schedule?

Reduce your products and services to what you and your team are REALLY good at, and that you do better than anyone else. For example, if you are a small car dealership, and your mechanics know cars really well, but one of your customers asks you to look at their motorcycle, don’t say yes.

While at first, it may be extremely difficult to turn down any kind of sale, over time you will notice that more of your projects are what your company is really good at, and completes with excellence every time. That is a much better reputation to have than the dealership that just does everything, but nothing very well.

Reuse

While a plastic water bottle sometimes seems like an easier option, why not try a reusable bottle instead? These options offer many different benefits, and over time you would save a lot of money by not buying a plastic bottle of water every day!

Picture this: a client emails you a question about the quantities for one of your products. While you know the answer you want to type back to her, you want to double-check that you give her the right quantities so you go check your pricing sheet and type up your response. This same scenario happens three times a day. And each email response takes you ten minutes. So you just wasted thirty minutes of your day by basically doing the same task three times in a row.

What if you copied that information from a previous email instead of re-writing it every single time? Or, maybe it is time for your company to look into an email template software like the one through HubSpot?

Why keep using a new wasteful plastic water bottle every day when you could just reuse what you already know works – and will most likely be better for you anyway?

Recycle

One of the most amazing things humans have discovered is how to recycle their paper, glass, and plastic waste. Did you know your office can start purchasing recycled and affordable paper instead of buying new paper that required someone to cut down valuable trees and ecosystems?

Canary Paper from the Paper Mill Store

Recycled canary paper from the Paper Mill Store

You can also start recycling your wasted time. Do a time audit! Have your team track their time diligently for two to three weeks. Let them know that this is not a crack-down, but rather a way to see where they can cut down on wasted time so they can make time for other things they care about.

I recently did this with writing blogs! I realized that if I sat down to try to write a blog post in one sitting, it could take two to three hours. But, if I instead blocked out writing chunks of just half an hour to an hour, I can shave on average about 30 minutes to an hour off writing a blog post! By giving myself a break,  I can realign my thoughts.

What Can You Do?

Every office might have a different version of going green, but as long as you are doing something, it is better than doing nothing at all! Have a discussion with your team to find out ways that you can help make an impact this year on Earth Day and how you can start Reducing, Reusing, and Recycling in your workplace!

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