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What is Zero-Waste? 7 Tips on Achieving Zero-Waste in your Facility

zero-waste, sustainability

Zero-waste is a term that’s being used more frequently. Countries, companies and households are attempting to reach a state of zero-waste by focusing on waste prevention at the beginning of the cycle rather than waste management. This philosophy encourages the redesign of products to ensure they can be reused.

Here are 7 ways for you to achieve zero-waste at your business:

  1. Conduct a waste audit! A waste audit determines the overall amount of waste disposed of throughout your facility. It can help you pinpoint where most of the organics/recycling/waste is collected.zero-waste, sustainability
  2. The culture of the company. Encouragement and communication from senior management is crucial! When senior management is passionate about achieving zero-waste, it inspires participation from the rest of the organization. 
  3. Involve your employees. Start with a training program and then set up follow-up meetings to encourage team input and suggestions, oftentimes they see things that can easily go missed.
  4. Initiate an Environmentally Preferred Purchasing policy where only recyclable and compostable products are permitted in your organization.
  5. Initiate a printer policy! Purchase only chlorine-free paper with a high percent of recycled content or other green alternatives, such as paper made from hemp, bamboo or organic cotton. Encourage printing in black and white versus colour and only print “double-sided.”
  6. Recycle your e-waste versus throwing it in the trash. Cell phones, computers, printers and other electronics can be recycled. 
  7. Save electricity by changing your thermostat, switching to compact fluorescent light bulbs, purchasing energy efficient monitors turning off lights when they’re not in use and unplugging vending machines.

The US Zero Waste Business council states that organizations diverting 90% of their waste from a landfill are classified as zero-waste. There are many companies who have made it their primary goal to achieve these numbers, those of which include:

  • Subaru: They reuse or recycle everything! The push to become zero-waste came from their employees and now 96% of car parts can be recycled or reused. Their US plant alone has seen savings of $1-2 million annually.
  • Sierra Nevada: This brewing company claims to have saved $5 million by keeping 99.8 to 100% of their waste out of landfills. All of their used brewing ingredients are donated to local cattle and farms to be repurposed as feed.
  • Microsoft: A program was implemented to keep 90% of waste out of landfills. They have also introduced a specific power management system to decrease power consumed by 27%.
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Looking for more recycling tips? Check out these other blogs:


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