The City of San Antonio launched the program in 2018 to address environmental challenges and improve workplace recycling efforts.
We’ve all heard the phrase, “try and leave the world a little better than you found it.” As the climate crisis potentially poses significant implications to our society’s future, we’re all searching for ways to reduce our carbon footprint.
To tackle some of the daily environmental challenges common in our day-to-day, the City of San Antonio is implementing key climate initiatives to make the practice of sustainability easier. In 2018, ReWorksSA was introduced to help area businesses initiate or improve workplace recycling programs. The city’s program expanded in 2021 as a joint endeavor between the Solid Waste Management Department (SWMD) and the Office of Sustainability (OS) to offer local companies sustainability, best practices, and certification for cost-effective solutions to customers who value social responsibility.
Impact of an Eco-Friendly Workplace
The Texas Commission on Environmental Quality (TCEQ) conducted a study outlining the current and potential economic impacts of recycling, including revenue at the state and local level that may be considered lost when materials are not recycled. The 2015 study found typical recyclables (paper, plastics, metal, and glass), organics (yard trimmings, brush, green waste, and food and beverage materials), and construction/demolition materials accounted for 8.7 million tons or 94.4 percent of the total recycled materials in Texas. During that same time period, the recycling rate for municipal solid waste in the state amounted to 22.7 percent.
It’s critical for businesses in Texas to understand the impact of their efforts in helping to improve sustainability. If a Texas company isn’t recycling, they are missing out on benefits that help our state, planet and improve their bottom line.
Benefits of recycling in the workplace
Reduces Carbon Footprint: companies that institute recycling programs not only help reduce their carbon footprint but when they recycle materials these companies reduce energy costs.
Increased Business Prospects: consumers and manufacturers are more likely to favor companies that implement green initiatives and offer a recycling plan over businesses without green initiatives in the workplace.
Promotes Innovation: recycling programs offer companies a pathway to improved processes as the first step in innovation. Many businesses rely on outdated and inefficient procedures; when recycling strategies are implemented, employers begin exploring new and innovative ways to conduct business in other areas.
Reduces Waste Costs: the cost of waste regardless of a company’s size can oftentimes be substantial. Eliminating or reducing the cost of waste removal or the need to rent multiple dumpsters is tantamount to putting money into other areas of the company’s operating budget.
Maximizes Profitability: many companies pay for a business’ scrap materials. Selling materials that may otherwise be disposed of increases profitability.
ReWorksSA Impacts the Future of San Antonio
ReWorksSA works with the San Antonio business community to offer consultancy, resources, materials, and training at no cost while acting as a promotional and recognitional tool for businesses that complete the certification program. Achievements include recognition as a gold, silver, or bronze sustainable business, or with the Pinnacle Award —the highest level of completion for eco-friendly workplaces.
While only a fraction of San Antonio businesses have implemented recycling programs in the workplace, research indicates area residents value companies that provide a strong environmental record and are more likely to purchase products and services through those companies. Current trends also indicate a growing number of consumers are spending more on products deemed environmentally safe.
Looking for more information?
Want to learn more about improving becoming an eco-friendly workplace? Check out ReworksSA’s mission and their ReworksSA Toolkit with tools to help companies gauge the technical aspects of launching a recycling program at your business, by visiting https://www.reworkssa.org.