Zero waste

Waste Management Phoenix Open Achieves Zero Waste

Read the full story in Environmental Leader.

The Waste Management Phoenix Open has, for the second consecutive year, diverted 100 percent of waste away from landfills amid this year’s record attendance of 563,008 fans.

As part of its Zero Waste Challenge, the 2014 Waste Management Phoenix Open earned UL Environment’s landfill waste diversion, or Zero Waste to Landfill status, a certification proven through transparent reporting and detailed data.

Defining “Zero” Waste

Read the full post at The Circular File.

The front page of the just-released draft zero waste plan for my home state—Maryland—boldly announces its goal to reduce, reuse and recycle nearly all waste generated in the state by 2040. The draft certainly contains some admirable proposals. Yet, as I read it, I realized that the plan didn’t seem to be able to make up its mind whether it was a waste management plan or a materials management plan. And in those two words—“waste” and “materials”—lies all the difference in the world.

How Minneapolis Plans to Have Zero Waste

Read the full story in Governing.

Imagine a city without garbage.

It’s not as crazy as it sounds. Minneapolis officials are taking early steps toward joining ­Seattle and San Francisco in becoming “zero waste” cities where just about every scrap of trash is recycled.

A public hearing to ban hard-to-recycle foam takeout containers is scheduled for Monday and City Hall is drafting a plan to pick up food scraps and other organic items from every home by next year, something several metro-area cities already do. And Mayor Betsy Hodges has hired the city’s first-ever zero-waste coordinator.

ISTC releases five new case studies

The Illinois Sustainable Technology Center recently published five new case studies. They are:

Governor’s Sustainability Award Case Studies

E3 Case Study

Zero Waste Case Studies

Browse the ISTC’s complete case study collection and other publications on the website and in the ISTC community on IDEALS, the University of Illinois’ institutional repository.

How Clever Companies Are Using Circular Thinking To Get Ahead

Read the full story in Fast Company.

If you needed a clear signal that circular economy thinking has moved fully into the business mainstream from its origins in CSR, you need look no further than the annual meeting of the world’s top decision makers in Davos this past February. In advance of the gathering, the World Economic Forum announced it is launching the search to find value in “100 million tonnes of material waste, with the potential to create 100,000 jobs” center stage of its proceedings.

Early last year, we took a hard-nosed look at the concept of zero-waste thinking and argued that there were five distinct business models enabling profit making companies to harness zero-waste principles in practice. This year, after analyzing how more than 100 companies are faring when it comes to putting theory into practice, we can report that we’ve found another business model and also discovered more about what motivates companies to adapt to a circular business model.

What carpet companies can teach us about a circular economy

Read the full story at GreenBiz.

The World Economic Forum recently released the report “Towards the Circular Economy: Accelerating the scale-up across global supply chains,” prepared in collaboration with the Ellen MacArthur Foundation and McKinsey & Co. Looking from across the world, it seems as though the foundation, with the backing of the WEF, really could make a difference in tackling the issue of limited natural resources and creating systems to retrieve these resources. There’s no doubt that with the right players, these systems can be created.

When considering a circular economy, we should take a closer look at carpet companies, such as Shaw and Desso. Desso CEO Alexander Collot d’Escury attended Davos to support the concept. He appropriately noted that his own company has created systems to take back its carpet and reuse, sell or recycle its yarns. Other carpet companies have done the same, including Georgia-based Shaw Industries. Both companies have recognized they could save money, reduce carbon emissions and bring added value to their customers by getting back used carpet. So when the foundation and the team at Davos discuss creating a circular economy, they need look no further than these big carpet companies that already have figured it out.

William McDonough: 6 ways to move beyond zero-waste

Read the full post at GreenBiz.

“Why make something you can’t sell?”

This is the question William McDonough posited about waste during the 2014 Executive Sustainability Forum webcast, hosted on GreenBiz and presented Jan. 30 by Waste Management.

Traditionally, businesses have strived to reduce or eliminate the waste they produce. But McDonough, influential designer, architect, entrepreneuer and co-author of “Cradle to Cradle” and “The Upcycle,” thinks this is missing the point. Zero waste is “like going nowhere,” he said. Instead, the focus should be a “cycle of endless resourcefulness.”

Waste Management — which has partnered with McDonough to push for significant environmental aims — has shown how this principle can produce results. It recently worked with a Toyota plant in San Antonio, for instance, to turn waste produced at the plant into clean-burning fuel, which was then provided to another customer. In this way, the waste wasn’t just reduced or eliminated, but actively reused.

Moving beyond zero waste requires a wholesale rethinking on what waste is and how it should be addressed. To help with the transition, McDonough provided these insights.