Recycling and reusing certainly are worthy pursuits, but what if we could dramatically reduce our overall waste? What if we could approach our everyday lifestyle with a focus on waste prevention? This concept, known as Zero Waste, goes beyond recycling and reuse. It’s aim to refocus production and distribution, rather than create more waste. And, its more of a long-term goal than something any of us can check off our list. But we feel it’s worth the effort and then some to drastically cut the waste and pollution our planet endures.
Let’s put an end to waste.
Every bag of trash, and every recycling bin brimming with materials, goes somewhere—it doesn’t disappear overnight. Waste in the United States is a problem that is growing by the ton (literally!). Here’s a few facts to demonstrate what we mean:
- One source states that, “According to EPA, in 2014 alone, about 258 million tons of Municipal Solid Waste (MSW) were generated in the United States.” One-third of that was recycled or composted.
- 75 percent of plastic was sent to landfills in 2014.
- Around 66 percent of energy can be saved by producing plastic products from recycled plastics versus starting with new materials.
- Every hour, Americans use approximately 2.5 million plastic bottles. Sadly, most of them wind up in the regular trash bin.
Zero waste to the rescue
We can’t ignore it; we’re working with limited resources. We simply cannot continue to charge forward and live as if plastic bottles, paper, etc. will be always readily available. While recycling and reusing is a great start, the biggest way we can make a difference on our footprint is to prevent waste in the first place.
Getting to zero waste is not an overnight process; it requires waste management as an industry to transform from a linear system to a cyclical one. We need to consider usage from the beginning—how products and materials can be used in the most efficient way possible. This way of thinking should be folded into the product development layer of production from the get-go. In other words, we should think about zero waste as a core component of any product strategy versus limiting ourselves to only recycling.
Benefits of zero waste include:
- Cutting costs. This is a no-brainer. When you reduce waste, you reduce costs.
- Streamlined production. Often, approaching your production processes with an environmental point of view can create efficiencies throughout the entire process.
- Sustainability. Zero waste promotes economic and social well-being.
- Less materials, period. You’re using less raw materials from the start, since your goal is to send zilch to the landfill.
How Recycle1 can help
Recycle1 has the expertise and resources to perform comprehensive waste audits so you can see the areas of your business where you can achieve less waste, recycle more or even sell your scraps. We take a data-driven approach to your waste allowing us to gain a clear picture of where every piece of waste is going and what’s happening to it—and your business—in the long term.
Do you have a clear grasp on your overall waste stream? Are you working towards a zero waste strategy? We’re here to help. Contact us to learn more.