Become part of the solution! Decrease your business costs on supplies and materials, optimize efficiency, convert waste into a valuable product, and decrease your impact on the environment by improving your resource and disposal choices. It costs money to waste resources and haul away your trash so it makes good business sense to reduce the amount of trash you generate.
Contact Project Azul Verde to Improve Your Waste Management:
Build the Business Case
Assess purchasing inputs and trash haul outputs. Track waste with my Resource Tracking Tool Kit.
Identify ways to divert material from the landfill, reduce costs, and reduce negative environmental impacts
Determine a baseline, set goals, and monitor progress
Engage and communicate with your staff and vendors
Identify and maximize employee engagement opportunities
Improve sustainable purchasing policies
Push supply chain efficiencies
Report success and build community
Leverage your leadership by setting and communicating progress on your waste reduction goals
Share your success stories to reach more customers and investors
About Waste Management:
75% of solid waste can be diverted from the landfill.
50% of plastic is only used once and then thrown away. Remember plastic doesn’t break down, it just gets smaller.
1/3 of all food in the world is wasted.
What’s the Solution?
REDUCE what you buy.
REUSE to expand product life.
RECYCLE to conserve resources and keep recycling programs going.
REFUSE what you don’t need, especially products that go directly to the landfill after a single use.
ROT to turn trash into soil, composting returns resources to the earth.
Actions You Can Take Right Now For Your Business:
Involve staff and customers.
- Build the Business Case.
- List the benefits the company expects to receive (such as improved staff safety and reduced costs). Issue a memo by the CEO to indicate top management support.
- List materials to be reused/recycled/composted. Explain the risk of contamination.
- Include a contact’s information to answer questions. Respond to questions or problems quickly.
- If you do not have custodial staff, communicate that each employee is responsible for taking materials to a central area for pick-up.
- Ensure cleaning staff separate the recyclables/compostables from the trash and properly transfer them. Involve the custodial staff in planning as they will play a critical role in reducing contamination.
- Request feedback and implement good ideas to strengthen relationships.
- Reinforce new practices by keeping employees involved and motivated. Consider a goal chart, progress board, and contests among departments. Reward employees for improved diversion.
Make it easy.
- Provide recycling and composting containers. Place them in an optimal location where it is most convenient for staff and customers. Participation improves when collection begins at an employee’s desk.
- Post signs to explain which items go into each bin.
- If you regularly discard a confusing item, indicate where it should go. For example, if paper is frequently discarded and you don’t have recycling facilities to collect paper, indicate that you are composting it.
- Walk-through your business. Check waste containers and assess the material that you produce. Identify large waste generating areas (usually supply rooms, copy centers, computer rooms, and kitchens). Typically office environments produce lots of mixed paper (including cardboard and food and beverage containers).
- Determine the volume being generated, frequency of current waste pick-up, and costs.
- Review disposal bills periodically to ensure we are being charged correctly.
- Use the information to make informed decisions of where to improve. You may be surprised about how much you send to the landfill and how much material that you purchase is wasted.
- Once you have a baseline, set waste reduction goals to further your understanding.
Purchase and provide better items.
- Start a dialog with suppliers. Require suppliers to eliminate excess packaging, use recyclable and recycled filler, and to take back packaging for reuse. Or, select vendors that are already leaders in sustainability.
- Switch purchasing to nonhazardous, recyclable and recycled-content options. Look for Green Seal or Design for the Environment eco-labels.
- Purchase supplies in bulk, and prefer reusable cartridges, batteries, etc.
- Look for rebates and mail in options for printer toner and inkjet cartridges.
- Buy less by selecting concentrated formulas and durable/repairable items.
- Buy local to support the local economy and reduce transportation impacts.
- Use electric dryers or roll paper towels instead of c-fold towels. Compost paper towel waste.
- Set printers and copiers to a default of double-sided printing. Use electronic communication instead of paper (timesheets, direct deposit, email, contracts, marketing).
- Purchase paper products that contain post-consumer recycled content and are processed without chlorine. Look for the Forest Stewardship Council label.
- Electronics should be Energy Star rated.
- Learn about local options for disposing items that can have a significant negative impact on the environment (such as used electronics, appliances, paints, solvents, batteries, cleaners and other chemicals).
- Partner with a shelter or charity that can benefit from your usable surplus (outdated/ unsold merchandise/equipment, used electronics, appliances, paints, cleaners, etc.)
- Don’t provide (free) bags. Use recycled bags or boxes instead.
- Don’t provide employees and customers with single-serve beverage or food items. Provide reusable, paper, recycled, or compostable service-ware instead. Require work events/caterers to be zero-waste.
- Can you now reduce your trash pick-ups?
- What percentage of material is being recycled/composted?
- Is the program cost-effective?
- Have there been any employee complaints or suggestions?
- How can the program be improved?
Communicate your story–talk trash.
- Get credit for your work. Promote your efforts to increase competitive advantage.
- Share your success stories and challenges in your company blog or newsletter.
- Talk about how you overcame a challenge—you can save others the frustration of figuring it out for themselves and make more progress together.
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