What Businesses Can Gain From Zero Waste
There is an increase in waste costs. Getting to zero waste is one of the most effective long-term strategies for controlling rising waste costs. Zero waste has other benefits as well. Zero waste is becoming more and more popular for the following reasons:
Reduced Cost of Waste Stream
As businesses go Zero Waste, they will be able to salvage the value that is being disposed of in landfills. Businesses should aim to reuse packaging whenever possible rather than sending it to a landfill. If reuse is not possible then look into selling your waste to local recyclers. There is a thriving market for reusable packaging. This includes used cardboard boxes, wooden pallets, IBC totes, scrap plastic or scrap metal, etc.
The amount of cardboard in a retailer’s waste stream can reach 50%. Business costs can be reduced if cardboard is diverted from landfills and sold as a commodity. You’ll pay less to have your trash picked up if you throw it out less.
As a result of landfill waste, we waste both the product and the natural resources used to produce it. Using water, forests, food, minerals, fossil fuels, or any other natural resource in this way is unsustainable
Gain an advantage over your competitors
Zero waste is becoming increasingly popular, and those who don’t take advantage of it will be left behind. Environmental impact and sustainability will be a very hot issue in 2022. Moving forward it is not stretch to think there may legislation passed to enforce environmental standards on manufacturers in the United States. it is better to get ahead of this harming your business, make a profit off your waste stream.
Their corporate social responsibility reputation and employee/customer goodwill will suffer as well as the value of what they are landfilling, resulting in higher costs for waste removal.
As a result, they will become less competitive and less efficient in the long run. The future of waste management lies in this technology for both cities and companies.
Landfill costs are on the rise
Despite the fact that the U.S. does not run out of landfills, some states are reaching their capacity. Despite the possibility of creating more landfills, landfill fees and hauling costs are likely to rise. The waste industry is big business.
Costs associated with the environment
The decomposition of organic materials in landfills releases methane and carbon dioxide, contributing to climate change. There is already damage being done to the environment before your trash reaches the landfill.
The transportation and processing of recycling also incur environmental costs. Therefore, businesses can achieve zero waste by reducing and reusing.
Steps a business can take towards achieving zero waste
It is becoming increasingly important for businesses to have a zero-waste mindset.
Business operations, the environment, and the bottom line have a direct impact on waste management. GE and Walmart, two of the world’s largest corporations, are leading the way in Zero Waste initiatives. You can do the same. I’ll explain why and how.
Controlling business costs with zero waste is a long-term strategy
In light of the increasing cost of waste removal (one study predicts waste disposal services will rise by 2% annually) and China’s import ban continuing to rattle the U.S. recycling market, becoming a zero waste business has become one of the best long term cost control strategies.
Businesses are not only paying more for waste removal than they need to, but waste costs are also on the rise. What’s the reason? Most of the trash thrown away by an average business isn’t trash, but recyclables that can be recycled.
Misconceptions about zero waste businesses
It is not necessary to stop generating waste immediately in order to become Zero Waste.
It is possible that some businesses are not reaping the benefits of being Zero Waste companies because of misconceptions about what Zero Waste means. Essentially, Zero Waste is a plan that enables you to gradually shift your mindset and actions towards reducing waste.
Exactly what is Zero Waste?
Having learned what Zero Waste isn’t, what is it? There may be a wide range of definitions, but in a nutshell…
The goal of Zero Waste is to reduce waste in the first place, as well as to reuse, reduce resource consumption, and recycle.
Waste management is effective when you go Zero Waste.
With certifications like TRUE Zero Waste, points are awarded if 90% of waste is diverted from landfills.
Zero Waste Business: How to Get Started
Become Zero Waste by following these steps.
Take the first step towards zero waste by conducting a waste audit
Auditing waste is crucial, and we cannot emphasize this enough.
Waste audits provide a clear picture of your waste streams – what you throw away, what you recycle, and whether your waste programs are working effectively (or not). If you don’t conduct an audit, you’re just guessing and not knowing.
Why are waste audits important?
You can learn a lot about how your business or building operates by performing a waste audit. Auditing your waste streams at least once a year will help you understand what your trash is telling you.
It is possible to uncover wasteful, costly problems with waste audits, or you may find new revenue streams or opportunities with waste audits. To maximize program effectiveness, measure success, and improve operations.
You may be able to uncover a sizable revenue stream if, for example, a waste audit reveals a huge percentage of recyclables end up in the trash.
It opened up a new revenue stream and, most importantly, drastically reduced waste in the trash stream, thereby lowering their waste disposal costs by greatly increasing the amount of baled cardboard and plastic that could be captured and sold.
Plastic bottles constitute the majority of office waste in another corporate office. Staff were encouraged to bring their own mugs and a water filtration machine was installed to reduce costs and waste.
A waste audit can also influence your purchasing decisions, for example, by pointing you to suppliers that offer take-back programs or reduce packaging.
Waste Audits: What Are They?
In other words, it is a survey of the regular waste stream of a facility. The waste auditors sort and record data after going through bags of waste. Through this process, we identify what is being discarded, what is being recycled, and how much of each type is being diverted.
In addition to verifying what you throw away, a waste audit also determines the value you are losing. You operate in the dark based on guesswork without performing an audit.
From basic to comprehensive waste audits, there are varying levels of waste auditing. Make your choice based on your needs
Waste Audit Example
There is a lot of value lost there. How much trash do you have? You can only find out by auditing. For more specific waste audits you can go deeper and determine what type of packaging is being used and what to do with it.
Benefits of waste audits
Analyze the effectiveness of your operations
Don’t guess anymore. Discover the truth.
You can find out what is working or not working with your current waste and recycling management program by conducting a waste audit. A breakdown can be uncovered, wasteful problems exposed, or successes confirmed. As a result, your operational efficiency can be improved and maximized by making the necessary adjustments.
By refining your recycling program or by educating employees about recycling, you can correct a problem if your audit reveals that most recyclables end up in the trash. You can also use the results to influence your purchasing decisions, such as looking for suppliers with packaging reduction or take-back programs.
Reduce waste and save money
There is potential for savings and revenue streams to be unlocked through waste audits. Your waste hauling fees may also be reduced if you reduce the trash you put in your trash. You might even be able to sell your recyclables for a profit.
Setting goals and measuring success
In order to measure your waste and recycling program’s progress and effectiveness, a waste audit helps you set a baseline and create benchmarks year after year.
Seeing that their efforts were making a positive impact was also a morale booster for their employees.
Advanced Data Analysis for your waste stream
Data provided by haulers can be verified through waste audits, which is critical for operations and billing. It is possible to incur unnecessary fees if the data is incorrect. When it is time to renegotiate contracts, accurate data is also essential for conducting a waste removal RFP.
requirements for certain regulatory compliance and reporting
If you need audit data for regulatory compliance or CSR or GRI reporting, you may need information from audits.
Various certification standards require waste audits
Goal-setting for a zero-waste business
A zero-waste approach requires serious commitment and a plan for dealing with waste.
Whether your goal is short-term and easy to accomplish or long-term and ambitious, it is entirely up to you. You may want to plan a series of small steps to gradually reduce waste and move the business toward Zero Waste, or you may want to create a comprehensive company-wide strategy. From purchasing to disposal, a waste audit sets benchmarks for tracking your waste and setting Zero Waste goals.
In contrast, printing double-sided can reduce paper use and waste almost immediately, even if going entirely paperless takes some time and planning. Don’t be afraid to set both types of goals.
Having a cafeteria or working in the food industry requires you to consider organic products. The US EPA reports that organic materials make up the largest component of municipal solid waste in the country. Zero Waste goals should always address organic materials.
The Zero Waste Mindset
The Zero Waste mindset in the workplace must be adopted by businesses in order to achieve Zero Waste.
In other words, we should encourage everyone to rethink waste in the workplace. The solution might lie in finding alternatives to recycling or reusing something?
To find sustainable products, to reduce waste, and to learn best practices for waste management in their cities, businesses and employees should reexamine their sourcing and purchasing practices.
It is important that all stakeholders, including staff, janitorial crews, and vendors, understand the company’s Zero Waste goals, and why it is working to reduce waste, not only to control costs, but also to reduce our impact on the environment. Be a leader in your field.
Without awareness and education, even the best programs will fail. Waste and recycling programs should be understood by stakeholders. Materials need to be separated, placed in the appropriate places, and avoided from contamination, which can result in trash being generated from recyclables.
Don’t forget to showcase your achievements as well.
Work together to reduce waste and show how much you have accomplished. Make a big statement about the environment or share facts and figures. In this way, you can ensure that your Zero Waste efforts receive support from the entire company, especially management, and activate cooperation between stakeholders and departments within your organization. Often times zero waste companies actually make more profits, and therefore should pay workers more. Especially when you are trying to cultivate a Zero Waste mindset, this sets the tone for the entire company. Management and colleagues will set the example for employees.