Sustainable development has been what all organizations strive for in their business conduct, and even more so in the current age and time, when the world has finally recognized that it can no longer afford to ignore environmental issues. In response, the circular economy has been proposed as a way to achieve efficient resource management.
The make-use-return model of the circular economy keeps useful resources in the value chain and increases the efficiency with which waste, materials, expired products, and energy are processed and retained in a system. For the management of tangible products, in addition to material selection and product design that take into account end use, recoverability, and waste minimization, another thing that plays just as important a role is the infrastructure that will put any waste generated back into the cycle.
Waste management is the key link that puts the waste in the hands of end users back into the system. The first step in this process is to recover reusable or recyclable materials and feed them back to production. Any remaining waste must then be disposed of properly. Food scraps can be, for instance, composted or processed into fuels, while hazardous waste must be eliminated in accordance with experts’ suggestions.
Waste management begins with the cultivation of a waste sorting habit and proper waste disposal. To foster employee participation and serve as a model for waste management, SCG has initiated the Bang Sue Model – an internal waste management project at SCG Headquarters at Bang Sue. This program is part of SCG Circular Way, which is a practice that ensures the sustainable co-existence between humans and the world, and aims to encourage SCG employees to embrace and incorporate the circular economy into their daily routines through the campaign “#ResourceMaximization #CorrectSorting #ProperDisposal.”
SCG consistently raises awareness of the value of resources among its employees, encouraging them to do what they can to reduce what they discard and thus the amount of waste they are potentially creating. This includes utilizing resources to the best advantage, exercising care to extend product lifetime, and choosing to reuse and repair when possible. SCG employees are also educated on correct waste sorting and proper waste disposal. These two components are key to bringing about a circular economy as they make waste recoverable, allowing it to be reused and generate further value. The realization that waste does not simply vanish once we get rid of it will eventually lead to behavioral change both in ourselves and in the people around us.
In the Bang Sue Model, the first step is removing food scraps and liquids from containers, as they can spoil and make the whole batch of garbage dirty. This simple step makes the remaining waste management process easier and more efficient. The waste is then sorted by material type and transferred to six bins as follows.
- Gray: Food scraps, liquids, fruit peels that can decompose
- Blue: Paper stained with food, tissue paper, milk cartons, bamboo chopsticks (A separate bin is provided in the photocopying room in the office for dry and clean paper, such as used paper, magazines, and cardboard boxes)
- Green: All types of plastic and styrofoam containers that have been cleaned and are not stained with food.
- White: PET bottles, which can be distinguished very easily and are high in value as they are easy to recycle (labels and bottle caps must be removed and placed in the green bin)
- Yellow: Metal and glass containers, such as beverage cans and bottles
- Red: Hazardous waste that must be processed or disposed of by experts, such as aerosol spray cans, batteries, and light bulbs
In addition, signs and information boards have been placed across the company to help SCG employees and visitors sort waste correctly. Furthermore, to create an environment conducive to behavioral change, trash cans have been put in different areas, such as inside the office and canteen, to make it easier to dispose of different waste types properly.
Just as important as the management of the physical space in the workplace is the monitoring and reporting, which will inform the employees of the positive change they have been making through waste sorting, such as the increase in the percentage of recycled waste and the continuous decrease in greenhouse gas emissions thanks to their recycling.
It takes determination to manage waste properly. Although it is not as easy as simply throwing whatever waste you have into the same trash can, it is not too difficult, especially when you consider the positive impact that your behavioral change has on the environment. Waste sorting plays a critical role in creating a closed-loop system that ensures resource preservation and maximization.
Once you start sorting waste, you will discover very soon that nothing is worthless and what you do can create positive impact on not only your life and every life on earth.