Time for the Suits to Join the Sandals in Creating Zero Waste Communities

Read the full story at Waste360.

Waste=Wasted Cash. That’s the first reason many large national companies want to become Zero Waste. Eliminating waste means becoming more efficient and saving money. But there’s more to gain than economic opportunity when a large national business goes for Zero Waste. It’s a chance to generate love and loyalty from consumers, to improve employee engagement, and to toot the company horn as a good environmental steward at a time when that is increasingly a customer value.

Managing and Transforming Waste Streams — A Tool for Communities

Managing and Transforming Waste Streams – A Tool for Communities, recently launched by U.S. EPA, features a sortable, filterable table of 100 policies and programs that local governments can implement to shift their community’s waste stream away from disposal and towards waste reduction and increased materials reuse, recycling, and composting.

This tool is ideal for cities and counties that are updating their solid waste management plans and wish to consider additional measures, as well as those adopting a zero waste plan or working on sustainability or climate action plans.  By using the sorting and filtering features, planners can generate a list of measures for consideration tailored to their communities’ priorities.  The website also features over 240 examples of policies and programs implemented in communities across the country, along with relevant online resources.

Thinking in circles, cycles and loops

Read the full post at GreenBiz.

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency released its annual municipal waste Facts and Figures report last month with a new tag line of “Advancing Sustainable Materials Management.” The new name comes at an interesting time in the world of municipal solid waste management in the U.S.

In short, if America wants to recycle, people will have to pay more. So far, there really has been no discussion about the underlying reality that current practices yield a lot of contamination (aka waste).

I recently spoke at a fundraising event in Barre, Vermont for the Toxics Action Center (TAC). As part of its mission to prevent landfill expansions and associated environmental impacts, TAC advocates for “zero waste” programs. I was asked to address zero waste initiatives, especially in light of Vermont’s Universal Recycling Law, which forbids disposal of recycled materials and organics by 2020.

While thinking about how to frame my remarks, it hit me that “zero waste” is equivalent to “100 percent resources.” In other words, every material manufactured or grown can be used or consumed, and then, because what’s left are resources, can be repurposed or reused as is, recycled, digested or composted.

Ending landfill from factories kickstarts wave of partnerships for Unilever

Read the full story in The Guardian.

When a business like Unilever stops sending waste to landfill from its global factory network, how does it deal with all the stuff that used to be thrown away?

It is a question that faces every large business that is serious about reducing its environmental impact and, while Unilever doesn’t claim to have all the answers, it has made this very clear: you can’t do it alone.

By the end of 2014, Unilever sent no non-hazardous waste to landfill from any of its network of 242 factories and manufacturing sites across 67 countries. This zero waste initiative helped achieve €220m (£159m) of cost savings, and created more than 1,000 jobs. It also opened up opportunities for partnerships, as Unilever looked for new ways to reuse, recycle or recover the materials that were still left over from manufacturing even after substantial efforts to reduce waste at source.

A new interactive Global Collaboration Map, created in a partnership between Unilever and 2degrees, shows Unilever’s global network of factories – all now sending zero waste to landfill.

Phoenix’s Quest to Turn Trash Into Cash

Read the full story in Governing.

As City Manager Ed Zuercher tells it, trash “is in Phoenix’s DNA.” From two guys throwing cans of garbage into the back of a truck to automated side-loading trucks to single-stream recycling, Phoenix, says Zuercher, has always been innovative in solid waste. Now the desert city has plans to take its long-running relationship with waste innovation a step further: It wants to turn trash into a resource.

New campus recycling bins aim to bring waste awareness

Read the full story in the Daily Illini.

In an effort to make campus more eco-friendly and closer to a zero-waste initiative, 20 new recycling bins with standardized signage were installed on the Quad this month, making 30 total recycling/landfill stations.

The project was completed by the Illinois Sustainable Technology Center (ISTC). According to the project’s leader Bart Bartels, technical assistance engineer at ISTC, the center makes recommendations and completes projects aiming to reduce waste emissions on campus.

This zero-waste initiative is part of the goal of the Illinois Climate Action Plan (iCAP), the University’s mission to make campus carbon neutral by 2050.

It’s About Time New York Solved Its Trash Problem

Read the full story in CityLab.

On Wednesday, which was also Earth Day, New York City Mayor Bill de Blasioannounced a vision to overhaul the city’s garbage disposal and recycling program as a part of his 10-year “OneNYC” plan. He has two big goals: to reduce commercial waste disposal 90 percent by 2030, and to minimize the waste generated and sent out to far-away landfills. Given the city’s visible garbage problem, this plan is long overdue.