Three Steps Your Organization Can Take to Achieve Zero-Waste

Ashley Halligan, of Software Advice, recently published an article outlining how organizations are undertaking zero-waste initiatives – specifically, diverting all of their waste from landfills through a series of efforts ultimately tackling their waste stream.

Ashley interviewed several industry experts to find out how organizations can go about undertaking this ambitious goal and shares a summary of her insights here.

Kirk Varga, Chief Sales Office of the International Environmental Alliance, says, "A zero-waste initiative is a great way for a facility to stay ahead of the sustainability curve, enhance positive visibility, and save money." Companies from Clorox to Procter & Gamble to DuPont and Kraft Foods are taking on the challenge.

Experts from Waste Management Sustainability Services, RecycleMatch, and the Zero Waste Alliance also chime in with the necessary steps and suggestions for a company to prove successful in their efforts. Because this is a growing trend, both private and government entities are getting involved in its progression – supported by numerous nonprofit organizations coast-to-coast in the US and beyond.

The experts all agree on three essential steps for kicking off and successfully implementing such an initiative:

  1. Determine and Define Your Goal: Eric Dixon, VP of Waste Management Sustainability Services, says, "There is no minimum standard to define what constitutes zero-waste in the U.S. – a goal can't be achieved if it hasn't been defined... Success in attaining the ultimate goal depends on the types of non-product outputs produced--some are more easily recyclable than others."
  2. Engage Your Employees: Without employee engagement, meeting any kind of performance goal--environmental or otherwise--is not only a bigger challenge, but it also becomes merely impossible. Varga adds, "Most people want to do the right thing for the environment--but aren't always sure how to help or don't want to do more work than necessary."
  3. Audit and Tackle Your Waste Stream: This process first involves identifying where waste can be reduced within an organization; from there, an organization can determine the route for the remaining waste stream--that is, reuse, recycle, or sell byproducts to organizations who can find value in them.

So what else did the experts have to say? Read the remainder of Ashley's article here.

If you have experience in waste reduction efforts, please share your experience and insights in the comments below.