Get into the right mindset. Achieving zero landfill is a process. Like any business activity, it will take a strategy with measurable goals and most importantly, it will take the support of each of your employees, students or family members. And, yes, it will cost money... at first. But you'll soon find that the ROI is well worth the investment.
HOW CAN I ACHIEVE ZERO LANDFILL?
FIVE YEARS TO ZERO LANDFILL... IMPOSSIBLE?
If SIA, an auto manufacturer with over 3,800 Associates working in a facility that is over 3.5 million square feet can do it in just two years... You can do it, too!
BEFORE YOU BEGIN
Before you can figure out what to do with your waste, first you have to figure out what you have for waste.
Map out all of your trash recepticals, then one-by-one, dump out the contents. Sort through it. What is each item made of? Cardboard? Aluminum? Plastic? What type of plastic? Look at the symbols printed or molded on the container.
That's it! First step is done.
Start with the low-hanging fruit first.
Almost every home, business and school will have plastic beverage bottles, aluminum soda cans, copy paper and cardboard boxes that can be recycled. And in most cities, a waste management provider offers recyclable pick up or a recyclable material drop off center.
Make recycling easy. Provide easily identifiable and readily available containers to make recycling convenient, not a nusance.
Make it fun. Challenge groups of employees. Reward your family for recycling. Start a recycling club at school.
Be dilegent. Soon it will be second nature and time to move on to more challenging waste materials.
LOW HANGING FRUIT
BOTTLES & CANS
The last few items in your dumpster dive will be more challenging.
What about mixed materials?
- Check with your Solid Waste District
What about hazardous waste, like cleaning supplies, paint, and pharmacuticals?
- Check with your Solid Waste District
What about oversized items, yard clippings and leaves?
- Many thrift stores accept donations of furniture and appliances.
- Try composting your lawn clippings
What about electronics and appliances?
- Many electronic stores accept e-waste. Many metal recyclers, like Oscar Winski do, too. Try searching for e-waste in your city on the web.
What about industrial or commercial waste?
- We work with great partners such as Heritage Interactive Services, Oscar Winski and Covanta.
After you've set out the recycle bins and celebrated your recycling successes, start looking at more challenging materials.
Composting is a win-win solution for food waste and can be done at home, at school and at the office. At SIA, cafeteria food waste along with napkins, compostable food containers and restroom paper towels are composted and turned into nutrient rich compost for landscaping.
What's better than recycling? Reducing and reusing, of course! It saves even more money and is even better for the environment.
Take another look at your dumpster dive. What items can you stop purchasing in disposable packaging? What can you reuse?
SIA learned that by reusing the plastic and styrofoam packaging, plastic safety caps and switching from cardboard boxes to reusable plastic totes, we can save millions of dollars each year.
SIA was also able to reduce the amount of steel waste by working with the steel supplier in purchasing steel coils made to order. That means that instead of ordering coils of steel in pre-set lengths, the steel supplier provides coils of steel in the exact length and width that we need. This reduces waste and save money.
Work with your vendors, they'll often find that helping you go zero landfill will save them money, too!
You, your co-workers and your family members have worked hard to achieve your goals. Be sure to reward yourself along the way. Celebrate your successes, both large and small. It will help motivate you for each new step along the way.
Businesses, schools and organizations...share your accomplishments with the local media, other businesses and the community at large. You can become an inspiration to others!
READY TO LEARN MORE?
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