Monday, January 21, 2013

Waste Not, Want Not

This adage is best interpreted as - wise use of one's resources will keep one from poverty. For example, to throw out good food—waste not, want not. This proverbial saying was first recorded in 1772 but had an earlier, even more alliterative version, willful waste makes woeful want (1576).
The adage of waste not, want not was generally popularised around food resources.  For that area, it is very true, and maybe some of the current discussions around food waste [around 50% of food is wasted] might do well to remember this very simple concept.  Food wastage is so often related to excess food being present and overeating, at least in western society, and simply remembering this old maxim might allow some better thinking to emerge, with resources, particularly financial ones being better directed.  Think before buying or using more food…….will it be wasted?  Plus some simple options that need to be thought about, such as using leftovers.  Their reuse is unlikely to hurt you and most likely will save money.

But the same maxim also has relevance in business.  Lean business principles have moved beyond the factory floor to become an organizing set of principles and practices applicable to all business operations and activities, including entrepreneurial start-ups. Every idea in your company can benefit from a lean approach, be it a product, process, service, or strategy.  Cut waste, in effect.  Sustainable principles in business in effect also rely on cutting waste.  And that cuts costs.
The Australian focused Do Something web site [ ] has recently been highlighting reducing use of paper, particularly for small business – driving  a more sustainable approach to business but also offering ideas how paper use can be reduced and business efficiency improved with electronic filing seen as a big potential improvement, due to electronic searching capabilities. Waste not, want not principles in action.  And improving not just the bottom line but that elusive triple bottom line.

How can you and your business implement waste not, want not principles?     

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