Every smart company is aiming for “zero waste,” which starts with shrinking its corporate footprint on the earth by developing ways to reduce waste and preserve resources for future generations. It’s the right thing to do—and it’s good business: Research proves today’s purchasers want to buy from companies that practice sustainable processes in their day-to-day business.
But what exactly does zero waste mean and is it achievable or is it just another buzz phrase that will fade away as so many trendy but unsustainable business mantras before it?
Since zero waste can have multiple interpretations, to reduce confusion, the Zero Waste Alliance issued this global definition in December 2018: Zero waste is the “responsible production, consumption, reuse and recovery of products, packaging and materials without burning and with no discharges to land, water or air that threaten the environment or human health.”
In short, zero waste involves products made from materials that are sustainable and are 100 percent composted or recycled. Here it is important to note the words “are recycled” since, for example, despite its ability to be recycled, according to National Geographic, only an estimated lowly 9 percent of plastic actually is recycled.
MCL Sustainable Solutions knows a lot about helping companies achieve zero waste. In fact, last July, MCL outfitted the 700,000-square-foot Metro Toronto Convention Centre, Canada’s leading event facility, with several zero-waste solutions that have helped make the centre one of the greenest in the world.
“I think our company name provides insight into how seriously we take sustainability,” says MCL Sustainable Solutions Operations Director Jeremy Lethangue. “At MCL, we believe that to leave future generations a planet worth inheriting. We have a responsibility to reduce our use of non-sustainable resources and weave sustainable products and processes into our daily business and personal lives. We have to strive for zero waste.”
While appealing, the idea of initiating and maintaining a zero-waste program can seem overwhelming at first. However, like most challenges in life, breaking the process down into steps can make the task easier—and achievable.
With this in mind, MCL Sustainable Solutions offers these 10 tips to help you start a zero-waste program in your company.
1. Create a team. Heading toward zero waste must be a group effort, so start off right by developing a team that fully understands and buys into the idea. You will be surprised to find that many workers will eagerly participate in a program that gives them a role in preserving the planet and human health. In fact, don’t be surprised if you hear them bragging about it outside the workplace, which reflects well on you, the employer.
2. Identify the sources. Investigate and record where your company’s waste is generated—warehouse, cafeteria, office printers, desks, restrooms, etc. Be thorough and specific.
Could you use some help getting your zero-waste program started or are you looking for more ways to integrate sustainability into your business? Read more waste diversion tips or contact us through MCL Sustainable Solutions; phone, 800-430-9555. At MCL Sustainable Solutions, working toward a healthier, more sustainable planet isn’t a concept, it’s a way of life.