The Zero Waste Movement and How Your Business can Make a Difference
by Fatima Cristina
We have all heard the term “zero waste”, but do you really understand what it means? In simple terms, the goal of zero waste is to not send any waste to landfills, incinerators or the ocean by reducing, reusing, recycling, and composting as much as we can in order to conserve natural resources. For businesses, becoming a zero waste facility can be an effective waste management strategy that can help reduce costs. It also can help with your sustainability goals, as well as benefit the environment and the economy in your community.
There are many companies that have already committed to zero waste practices, and you’d be surprised to know that they aren’t waste companies. These companies, though, are committed to sustainability and global responsibilities. These are some of the companies that are leading the charge:
• Subaru: Their automotive plant in Indiana became the first auto manufacturer in the U.S. to achieve zero waste to landfills by either recycling or turning their waste into electricity. That equated to a savings of approximately $1 -$2 million annually.
• Toyota North America: By 2015, they reduced, reused, and recycled 96% of their total non-regulated waste production. That equated to roughly 900 million pounds that were taken out of the landfills. Toyota is also a founding member of the U.S. Zero Waste Building Council.
• Google: In order to achieve zero waste, they began focusing on their data centers and made aggressive efforts to reuse wasted data servers. Google has also introduced programs to their employees to find ways to repurpose and recycle their old office furniture, and they also have composting programs to reduce any organic waste.
Boro-Wide Recycling has taken steps to reduce the amount of waste in our office and will continue to move towards the goal of zero waste. We have reduced the amount of paper we use by requesting that our vendors email us their invoices. We currently email approximately 70% of customer invoices and are moving towards a goal of 90% by 2022. We offer our customers an online payment option and automatic monthly payments that helped to reduce the amount of paper checks that were sent to our office.
We have reduced the amount of paper and plastic products that we use for our meals by giving our office employees new eco-friendly reusable mealtime sets made of wheat straw. Everyone was also given stainless steel cups that are used for hot and cold drinks.
We have sorting containers throughout the office that are used to sort any remaining paper, plastic, mixed recyclable materials, and food waste. These materials will either be recycled or composted. By implementing these processes, we are well on our way to moving towards our zero waste goals.
Businesses wanting to move towards their own zero waste programs can contact Boro-Wide Recycling Corp. We can help set up waste audits to help you achieve your sustainability goals through reusing, recycling, and composting your waste in order to reduce the amount that now gets sent to landfills.