In recent years, zero waste has become a buzzword in the waste and recycling industry and many businesses and municipalities are setting ambitious goals to reach zero waste. What many don’t realize is it can actually save you money. Is it an attainable target for your business?
What is Zero Waste?
Zero waste practices involve reducing the volume and toxicity of waste, and channeling that waste to conserve or recover so that none has to be burned or buried. Within a businesses’ operations, zero waste is achieved when 100 percent of waste is diverted from landfill, incineration or the environment.
The strategy involves reviewing the entire life cycle of a product and minimizing waste in all stages of the process; from material selection through to production, packaging, delivery and post-consumer.…
Gone are the days of carting off old mattresses to the local landfill site. It makes sense as mattresses are nearly 100% recyclable. Metal springs, fibers, wood and memory foam can be re-purposed for the manufacture of new items, or the entire mattress can be used as a biomass fuel source.
States with Mattress Recycling Laws
The combination of Extended Producer Responsibility (EPR) laws, together with a growing mattress recycling industry, are helping to divert more of this bulk waste from landfills.
In 2013, Connecticut became the first state to implement an EPR law for mattresses. The law requires that mattress manufacturers provide consumers with a convenient way to responsibly get rid of old mattresses.…
Concrete makes up some seventy percent of construction and demolition (C&D) generated material. The EPA estimated that in 2015 alone, more than 500 million tons of C&D waste were generated in the United States, more than twice the amount of Municipal Solid Waste (MSW). On average, 90 percent of that waste arises from demolition projects, and 10 percent from construction projects. So, what to do with all this waste?
Attributes of Concrete That Favor Recycling
Recycled concrete is 10-15% lighter than virgin aggregate, helping to increase project efficiency by reducing hauling and material costs. If concrete is uncontaminated with trash, wood or reinforcing materials, it can be recycled on site with mobile and portable crushers.…
When businesses think about recycling and zero waste, they tend to start by reducing obvious materials such as paper, plastic, cardboard and aluminum, before considering food waste.
While the standard recyclable products are initially attractive because they can be easily monetized to generate profits, recycling food and other organic waste is also financially beneficial for your business. This is because you’ll be diverting the heaviest fraction of waste away from landfill, significantly reducing your waste disposal costs (which are calculated on a cost per ton).
If your business is already recycling paper, bottles and cans, adding food scraps collections is the natural next step.…
For the restaurant industry, disposing of used cooking oils and trap grease can be a messy and expensive business, with the risk of fines for incorrect disposal.
Not only will a fat, oil and grease (FOG) recycling program reduce the amount of organic material discharged into the wastewater system, it will also reduce your maintenance costs and could generate significant income from rebates for your business.
Grocery stores and distribution stores can also benefit from implementing a FOG recycling program for their waste oils and greases.
Recycling these organic materials into biofuel is a perfect example of the circular economy in action, turning what was once considered a waste into a valuable resource for another industry.…