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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Read the full story in The Guardian.
Unilever has achieved zero non-hazardous waste to landfill ahead of its target date, and has created jobs and reduced costs in the process.