Zero waste certification is an increasingly popular concept that aims to reduce the negative environmental impacts of the industries that power the global economy. It encompasses a wide range of strategies and activities that focus on minimizing waste and maximizing resources
Industrial waste management is a critical issue that most business owners and nations are focusing on. Reducing waste of precious resources and reducing the environmental impact of industrial waste remains at the top of the agenda for most organizations today.
For those businesses looking to build a greener future, here’s what you need to know about the key pillars of zero waste certification and how you can work towards them. Read on to learn more about how your business can achieve sustainability success!
What is Zero Waste Certification?
Zero waste certification is a process by which businesses and organizations can ensure that their operations align with the principles of zero waste. The certification process typically involves an assessment of the organization’s waste management practices, followed by the development of a plan to improve those practices. Once the organization has implemented the necessary changes, it can then apply for zero-waste certification from a third-party organization.
There are numerous benefits to achieving zero waste certification, including reducing costs associated with waste disposal, improving resource efficiency, and demonstrating a commitment to environmental sustainability. Additionally, certified organizations often enjoy increased public visibility and positive brand recognition.
Achieving zero waste certification can be challenging, but there are many resources available to help businesses and organizations succeed. One of the most important steps is to partner with a reputable certification body that has experience working with similar organizations. Additionally, it is important to have a clear understanding of the requirements for certification and to develop a comprehensive plan for meeting those requirements. With careful planning and execution, any business or organization can achieve zero waste certification and reap the many rewards that come with it.
Why Zero Waste is Important
There are many reasons why zero waste is important. Perhaps the most important reason is that it will help to protect our environment and conserve resources. Zero waste practices can help to reduce the amount of waste that is produced, and this can have a positive impact on the environment. Certain types of waste such as plastic waste and hazardous chemical waste can be notoriously difficult to deal with and reducing wastage can be quite beneficial in this case.
Another reason why zero waste is important is that it can help to save money. When we reduce the amount of waste that we produce, we also reduce the amount of money that we need to spend on disposal costs. You end up paying your haulers and waste management companies less. This can be beneficial for businesses.
Finally, zero waste can also promote social responsibility. By working towards a zero waste goal, businesses and individuals can show their commitment to sustainability and environmental protection. This can help to create a better world for future generations.
The 4 Key Pillars of Zero Waste
The 4 Key Pillars of Zero Waste are:
- source reduction
Reducing the overall waste production is the first step in getting closer to achieving a zero waste certification. Reducing could mean using substitute recyclable materials for some of the waste materials that you currently produce that are not recycled. Using textiles or paper instead of plastic to reduce packaging waste is another example of reducing waste.
Here’s how you can implement a waste reduction plan in your organization
- Evaluate your current waste stream and identify areas where you can reduce or eliminate waste.
- Develop a plan to implement changes that will reduce or eliminate waste.
- Educate your employees on the importance of reducing waste and how they can help.
- Implement changes and monitor your progress toward waste reduction
Another part of the process to get closer to a zero waste certification is promoting the reuse of some of the residual waste that you are producing. This can be done in many ways. Say you have a lot of packaging waste that is currently being treated and disposed of by your waste processing units. If you can find a way to use the same packaging for other products that you are shipping out could be one way.
The use of some of the products may not be apparent. You have to be creative to identify what needs to be done. Plastic bottles are commonly used as planters and could also be used in many different applications. Digging into your waste stream and finding ways to reuse and repurpose your waste will go a long way in achieving zero waste certification.
Recycling waste is a must-have when you are chasing zero-waste goals. Recycling can turn your waste products into useful products. Some of the common waste materials that you see such as paper and plastic can be recycled quite efficiently without losing their properties.
The first step to recycling waste is to develop a system of waste sorting. By using dedicated waste bins and ensuring that waste collection is streamlined, you will be able to separate the different waste products. The waste collected in the recycling bins after the separation process could be sent to recycling facilities for further processing.
There are many benefits to recycling waste. It conserves resources, reduces pollution, and creates jobs. Recycling also helps to reduce the need for landfills and incinerators, which can have negative environmental impacts.
Finally, composting is one of the key aspects when it comes to dealing with organic waste products. Composting converts organic waste into manure and biogas. Organic waste contributes massively to greenhouse gas emissions as it anaerobically digests. By composting, you are preventing these emissions.
Most states have stringent regulations when it comes to organic waste processing both as a part of municipal solid waste(MSW) and Industrial waste treatment. Make sure that you are collecting organic waste separately in dedicated trash cans and that these are being composted. The manure can be used in the gardens in your facility or given away.
How to Implement Zero Waste Practices in Your Business
Getting a zero-waste certification is not an easy process. You need to put in the work and you also need support from the whole organization to get there. Only a cohesive effort from the part of all the stakeholders will help you get there.
The first step is of course understanding how you can get there and also getting a sense of where you currently stand when it comes to waste management.
Running a Waste Audit
One of the key ways to get started is to run a comprehensive waste audit and see how your waste management processes are currently working. The audit will help you identify key areas which need attention.
Understanding how much waste you currently produce and how it can be dealt with without it being disposed of is key in working towards a zero-waste certification.
Source Separation of Waste
The process of source separation is when waste is divided into its components at the point of generation. This means that instead of putting all of your waste into one bin, you would separate it into different bins for each type of material.
For example, you would have a bin for paper, a bin for plastic, a bin for e-waste, and so on. By doing this, it becomes much easier to recycle or repurpose the waste because it is already sorted.
Waste separation is an important step in your waste management process. By preventing intermixing of waste, you can ensure that these waste products can be reused, recycled, or composted.
Segregation is a very important step if you are to use waste recycling as most vendors need properly treated waste that can be easily recycled and not waste that has been contaminated by other materials.
Here are some of the other steps through which you can achieve a zero-waste certification.
- Invest in sustainable packaging. This is one of the simplest and most effective ways to reduce waste in your business. Use recyclable or compostable packaging whenever possible, and avoid using single-use plastics.
- Reduce food waste. One of the biggest contributors to waste in businesses is food waste. Make an effort to reduce food waste by implementing portion control, using leftovers creatively, and donating excess food to charity.
- Encourage employees to recycle. Many businesses have recycling systems in place, but they often don’t work as well as they should because employees aren’t properly educated on how to use them. Make sure your employees know what can be recycled and where to put it. You may also want to consider giving incentives for recycling more.
- Reuse or donate office supplies and equipment. When you need new office supplies or equipment, see if you can find something used first. If not, look for items that can be reused or donated instead of thrown away.
- Educate yourself and your employees on zero-waste principles. The first step towards reducing waste is understanding what zero waste is and how it works. Make sure you and your employees are up-to-date on the latest information so you can make informed decisions about how to reduce
If you would need more information, one way is to seek out businesses that are already certified by the Zero Waste International Alliance (ZWIA) or other such bodies. These businesses have demonstrated a commitment to reducing their waste output and are required to follow certain standards to retain their certification.
Why is Contracting with a Waste Management Company the Best Bet
When it comes to working towards zero waste certification, one of the best bets is to contract with a waste management company. Here are some of the reasons why:
- They will be able to help you develop and implement a waste management plan that is tailored to your specific needs and goals.
- They will have the necessary expertise and experience to help you properly treat all your waste, including hazardous materials.
- They can provide you with the latest information and resources on zero-waste practices and technologies.
- They can also help you find the right vendors, employ the best sorting technology, find the right equipment to use, and more.
- They can help you monitor your progress and compliance with zero-waste standards.
At Waste Control, we have worked with a host of organizations and have helped them set their goals and work towards zero-waste certification. By employing strategic waste management principles and relying heavily on the 4 pillars discussed above, we help organizations be efficient with waste.
Zero waste certification is an incredibly important way of ensuring that businesses and organizations are doing their part to reduce the environmental impact of their practices. It sets measurable standards for how these companies can work towards reducing waste, conserving resources, and improving efficiency.
Taking the time to understand each pillar of the zero waste certification process will help ensure that businesses are taking all steps necessary to minimize their negative footprint on our planet. With a bit of hard work, it’s possible to make significant progress toward becoming certified as a zero-waste business – and this kind of transformation can have a tremendous positive impact on both our environment and ourselves!
We at Waste Control are experts in industrial and commercial waste management and zero-waste strategies. Our experts will work with you to develop a tailor-made plan for you to achieve your waste management goals. Talk to us today!