Certification: Charting Your Journey to Zero Waste

round grey and black compass
Photo by Supushpitha Atapattu on Pexels.com

Welcome to the fourth and last blog of the series about zero waste and circularity for businesses and organizations in Newfoundland and Labrador. 

The blogs have shown why zero waste is important and how it can help businesses improve their financial performance and contribute to a better planet and society. You missed them? No worries, click *here* to access all of them.

This blog looks at Zero Waste Certifications, the process that brings all these aspects together and helps your organization get closer to its goals. 

In this blog 

Zero Waste Certifications in Newfoundland and Labrador

Before diving into why certification is a wise business decision, let’s have a look at the two non-profit certification bodies we’re affiliated with and some key things to know. 
Through Planeet Consulting, the first zero-waste consulting firm in our province, we work with *Zero Waste Canada* (ZWC) and *TRUE* (Total Resource Use and Efficiency). ZWC operates across the country and TRUE across the world. Both bodies follow the principles and definitions of the *Zero Waste International Alliance*, a network of international organizations working from the bottom-up towards a world without waste.

Zero Waste Canada

The TRUE Advisor certificate program and the related logo is a trademark owned by Green Business Certification Inc.™ and is used with permission

Planeet Consulting is affiliated with Zero Waste Canada and TRUE, two certifying bodies with global networks


Key aspects of Zero Waste certifications

  • Pre-certification levels. The pre-certification stage helps businesses get familiar with zero waste policies and practices before embarking on the certification. There’s no minimum diversion rate, on-site assessments, or need for annual renewal. In the TRUE system, *pre-certification* is optional, while in the Zero Waste Canada program, it’s part of the process and it’s called *On the Road to Zero Waste*.
  • One facility at a time. If your organization has more than one facility and you want to get them certified, you’d do each one independently. You could start with the facility you consider more manageable so that you can get familiar with the certification process and then move on to more complex facilities.
  • Diversion of a minimum of 90%. Diversion accounts for what’s being diverted through recycling and composting and also what’s being avoided through reducing and reusing practices.  
  • Reasonable registration and documentation review fees. The *TRUE fee* schedule is based on the square footage of the facility and *Zero Waste Canada’s* is based on the number of employees. Certification is an investment.

To learn more about both Zero Waste certifications and discuss what’s best for you, *contact us*! Remember we’re here to help you no matter where you currently stand on the Zero Waste spectrum or the size of your organization.  

Why Get Certified?

Zero Waste certification is a path and opportunity to focus on what’s going on with the materials that go through your facility. It’ll raise questions such as: are the materials coming in in excessive packaging? Is the full amount of materials being used or are part of them wasted? Are the products sold in excessive packaging? Is the organization paying too much in hauling fees? How’s the facility’s waste polluting the environment and the surrounding community? 

Zero Waste certification provides you with the tools to find the answers and even ask questions you haven’t thought about. The process starts at the moment your organization decides to invest time, energy, and money in doing so. And continues as it commits to reducing more and more waste each year.

Achieving the Zero Waste certification is both a rewarding milestone and the baseline upon which you can continue setting more ambitious goals and improving your practices, which will help your organization get closer and closer to its financial, social, and environmental goals. That’s why we say “Zero Waste is a journey more than a destination.”

As you read this blog, remember this: at Planeet Consulting, right here in Newfoundland and Labrador, we’re ready to guide you regardless of where you are in your zero waste efforts. *Contact us* to find out what your next step is. 


Zero Waste is a journey more than a destination


Looking Inward

As you go through the Zero Waste certification, you’ll find the resources that will help you review what’s going on inside your facility regarding the flow of the materials from the purchase policies, and relationships with suppliers, to the management of the discards. 

The goal is to rethink and redesign the organization’s practices that will prevent waste in the first place. By rethinking and redesigning, your organization will become more efficient and less harmful. Waste reduction practices help uncover opportunities for avoiding costs and achieving high efficiency by closing loops through reusing, recycling, substituting and eliminating materials. 

Becoming more efficient will in turn help reduce costs e.g. hauling fees, purchasing expenses; and also the environmental and social impact by reducing the amount of waste that otherwise would end up polluting water, air, land, and people’s health. 

And as the saying goes “you can’t manage what you don’t measure.” The certification will also support you in measuring the organization’s progress and achieving a superior understanding of the financial, environmental and social impact of your discards. This allows you to make decisions about how to further your waste reduction goals. 


You can’t manage what you don’t measure


As you move forward, you’ll be engaging, collaborating and sharing data with the employees across the organization. This is in itself an opportunity to *increase leadership and promote cultural change* that will help the organization pursue, achieve and maintain its zero-waste goals. Certification will give you the tools.

Looking Outward

In addition to looking inward, the Zero Waste certification will also connect with what’s outside the facility’s walls, that is, your consumers and stakeholders (your supply chain, community, regulators). You’ll be able to build trust with them by showing them that you have factual evidence of your facility’s social and environmental accountability. 

Building trust and demonstrating accountability helps you avoid the pitfalls of *greenwashing* i.e. making people believe that an organization is doing more to protect the environment than it really is. 

Why is this important? In a 2020 *IBM research study* of 18,980 consumers in 28 countries, 77% of respondents indicated sustainability and environmental responsibility are important for them. Among them, 77% said that they’re willing to pay a premium for brands that are sustainable and environmentally responsible.

With Zero Waste certification, you can demonstrate that your efforts are real.

What do you think? How do you think the Zero Waste certification can help YOUR organization? Please share your comments below.

SUMMARY

By becoming a Zero-Waste Certified business, you’ll become more sustainable environmentally, socially, and financially. You’ll be able to measure your impact, create a zero-waste culture inside and outside your walls, and build trust with stakeholders. The internal and external outcomes become part of the process, a result, and the basis to continue improving your performance, which can lead to larger and more innovative steps.

Have you thought about getting Zero-Waste Certified? Please share your thoughts in the comments box or Contact me and let’s talk about how you can get started!

About me. I’m Viviana Ramírez-Luna, a Mom, a Community Leader with the Zero Waste Action Team of the Social Justice Coop of NL, an Environmental Scientist (MSc) from Memorial University of NL, a Zero Waste Advisor with TRUE (Green Business Certification Inc.), and an Associate of Zero Waste Canada.

I’m the founder of Planeet Consulting, the first zero-waste social enterprise in Newfoundland and Labrador whose mission is to move our province toward a circular economy and society.

Hi there! I’m Viviana, a Mom, Community Leader, Environmental Scientist, and Zero Waste Social Entrepreneur. In the background is the Community Garden and Georgestown Composting Program at the Kings Gate Condo. The composting program is an initiative of Planeet and the Social Justice Cooperative of Newfoundland and Labrador in partnership with Stella’s Circle, the condo, and funding from the Multi-Material Stewardship Board of NL, Food First NL, and the City of St. John’s. Photo by Tania Heath.

Leadership: Steering The Journey to Zero Waste

Photo by Luca Bravo on Unsplash

Welcome to the third blog in the series about zero waste and circularity for Newfoundland and Labrador. Previous blogs illustrated the difference between *zero waste and waste management* and *between linear and circular economy;* and showed why zero waste is important and how it can help businesses turn waste into savings and contribute to a better planet and society.

This blog looks at the role of leadership in steering the zero-waste journey.

In This Blog


Three Interconnected Ways Others Have Led the Journey

Let’s dive right into examples of what actions have increased leadership and promoted a cultural change in companies that have achieved and maintained their zero-waste goals.

Creating Green Teams

Green Teams are a group of employees, often from all departments, who are engaged in advancing sustainability within an organization. In zero-waste certified facilities, Green Teams have helped:

  • Change the company culture and create awareness as well as increase employee participation (*Piazza Produce* Wholesale foodservice produce and specialty foods distributor)
  • Root out and solve waste issues across the entire supply chain in a holistic way (*Colgate-Palmolive* Manufacturing) 
  • Create accountability, engagement, and commitment that helped the facility reach and maintain its goal of Zero-Waste certification (*Taylor Farms Retail Salinas* Manufacturing – Agricultural)

Engaging employees at work and home

  • Zero-waste training and updates on goals and new best practices (*Colgate-Palmolive* Manufacturing)
  • Employee Sustainability Agreements that outline employee commitments and also encourage them to contribute their own ideas (*The Bailey Company* Forklift Dealership)
  • Reuse and recycling programs that allow employees to bring materials from home and also take home unused materials for repurposed projects (*Posty Cards* Printing).
  • Celebration of environmental events such as Earth Day, during which employees pledge to further zero-waste goals at work and home (*HP* Office – R&D)

Communicating Beyond the Walls

  • Internal communication with staff directly involved with waste management, which actively provides feedback on zero-waste practices (*150 California Street* Office)
  • External communication with suppliers and partners to encourage them to embrace zero-waste principles (*Riverside Natural Foods* Food Manufacturing).

The Role of Leadership

There is one essential piece that glues these initiatives together and makes the zero-waste journey sustainable over time: leadership from upper management. 

This means that those who are responsible for making the primary decisions within an organization embrace the zero-waste goals and commit to motivating action across the organization—inside and outside their walls.

As part of their zero-waste facility certification, the tech company *Raytheon* highlights the “high level of engagement from site leadership and other upper management” in line with other activities that allowed them to divert waste, reduce costs and reinforce a culture of zero waste and sustainability.


Progress towards zero waste will depend on how often zero-waste actions are executed, how cohesive they are, how much employees are engaged, and how data and insights are shared with and used by upper management.


What if upper management is not leading the way?

Leadership might not always come from upper management. It could come from the green teams or individual employees with a strong willingness to move their organizations towards sustainability. 

Green teams or willing employees won’t automatically convince upper management to embrace zero waste either. But they can become zero-waste leaders by showing how zero waste can improve both the environmental and financial performance of the organization.  

Learning from what others have done to lead the journey, here is a shortlist of zero-waste initiatives that can provide data while engaging employees from all departments—including upper management—and promoting cultural change:

  • Waste audits of employees’ desk bins. Engaging as many employees as possible from as many departments as possible—starting with upper management. Gathering data and discussing the findings. 
  • A “Rethink” campaign that encourages employees to see waste as resources and contribute ideas about resource recovery, closing loops, and its contribution to reducing environmental impact and creating revenue opportunities. Always recognizing their contributions. 
  • Framing zero-waste activities within annual national and international environmental dates to boost employees’ engagement. Key dates include *Earth Day* (April 22), *Ocean Day* (June 8), or *Waste Reduction Week,* (starts on the third Monday of October) which has been celebrated in Canada for 20 years. 
  • Learning what other companies are doing regarding waste prevention and circular economy—may also reveal how it strengthens their brand.
  • A review of what the organization is already doing to reduce and divert waste and close loops. Recycling? Composting? Reusing? Refurbishing? Assessing how this is already contributing to reducing environmental footprint and waste costs.
  • Communication! Making sure data and insights are always shared and discussed at all levels. This will reinforce the sustainability message and empower everyone in the organization.

Progress towards zero waste will depend on how often these actions are executed, how cohesive they are, how much employees are engaged, and how data and insights are shared with and discussed and used by upper management. Ultimately, their involvement determines how zero waste can become an integral part of the organization. This, in turn, will impact how the organization operates, how cultural change happens, and how much the organization benefits environmentally and financially from zero-waste initiatives.

In my next blog, I’ll provide an overview of zero-waste certifications, which provide the tools to transform organizations by helping them engage employees across the organization, set specific goals, track their progress, and become recognized for their zero-waste achievements.


SUMMARY 

The zero-waste journey, like any sustainability enterprise, is a process that requires continuous collaboration, data sharing, and engagement. Organizations that have gone through the zero-waste certification, highlight the commitment of upper management, which has contributed to cultural change and made zero waste sustainable over time. 

Leadership might not come from upper management but employees with a strong willingness to move their organization towards sustainability. And there are zero-waste initiatives that they can undertake to show how zero waste can improve the organization’s environmental and financial performance while engaging people from across the organization and sharing key findings and insights with upper management, whose involvement will ultimately determine the pace of the zero-waste journey. 

Have you undertaken any zero-waste initiatives? If not why not? If so, what data and insights have you gathered and how involved has upper management been?

Please share your thoughts in the comments box.

Contact me and let’s talk about how you can get started!

About me. I’m Viviana Ramírez-Luna, a Mom, Community Leader with the Zero Waste Action Team of the Social Justice Coop of NL, an Environmental Scientist (MSc) from Memorial University of NL, a Zero Waste Advisor with TRUE (Green Business Certification Inc.), and an Associate of Zero Waste Canada.

I’m the founder of Planeet Consulting, the first zero-waste social enterprise in Newfoundland and Labrador whose mission is to move our province toward a circular economy and society.

Hi there! I’m Viviana, a Mom, Community Leader, Environmental Scientist, and Zero Waste Social Entrepreneur. In the background is the Community Garden and Georgestown Composting Program at the Kings Gate Condo. The composting program is an initiative of Planeet and the Social Justice Cooperative of Newfoundland and Labrador in partnership with Stella’s Circle, the condo, and funding from the Multi-Material Stewardship Board of NL, Food First NL, and the City of St. John’s. Photo by Tania Heath.

Closing the loops.

Photo by Josh Power on Unsplash

Welcome back! Building on my previous *blog*, I’ll explore in more detail the circular economy and the numbers by *Bob Willard,* a leading expert on the business value of corporate sustainability strategies.

Using two hypothetical companies, one small service company and one large manufacturing company, I’ll show you the costs of the linear economy and potential savings when zero waste measures are in place. I’ll also give you examples of zero-waste companies that will get you thinking!

In This Blog


Linear Economy vs. Circular Economy

To illustrate these two concepts, I’ll use a great framework created by the *Board of Innovation*, a business design and innovation strategy firm.

In the linear economy, which is what we have today, organizations take resources from the environment, make products that are distributed for sale, and are usually used for a limited amount of time before they end up as waste.

The Linear Economy by the *Board of Innovation*

In the circular economy, which is where we all should go, organizations limit what they take and waste while creating value for all through better design that allows for repair, reuse, recycle, and return of materials. 

The Circular Economy framework by the *Board of Innovation*

With this overview, let’s look at some calculations that show how costly the linear economy can be by focusing on the cost of waste of purchased materials, which is the highest contributor to the total cost of waste. The calculations also illustrate the potential savings that come from avoiding expenses when zero waste measures are in place.


The Cost of the Linear Economy

I’ll use Bob Willard’s open-source, free online *spreadsheet,* which contains calculations, descriptions, and assumptions based on his book The New Sustainability Advantage. The spreadsheet helps estimate the potential business benefits that result from improved environmental and social practices. 

For this blog, I’ll focus on the benefits associated with waste prevention for two hypothetical companies, one small service company and one large manufacturing company (Table 1).

Table 1. benefits associated with waste prevention for two hypothetical companies, one small service company and one large manufacturing company.

Small Service CompanyLarge Manufacturing Company
Number of employees<10>3,000
Revenue $1,000,000$500,000,000
Materials and water expenses $50,000
(5% of revenue)
$150,000,000
(30% of revenue)

To calculate waste cost savings for both cases (see Table 2), Willard assumes the following based on his research:

  • Between 60 and 90% of materials companies buy are wasted. The value on the table is very conservative and assumes that only 30% is wasted. Materials include raw materials, water, auxiliary materials, and packaging materials. 
  • For a typical company, the total cost of waste involves four contributors:
    • the cost of wasted materials (60%),
    • the cost of resources used to process those materials (20%),
    • the cost of waste prevention and environmental management (10%), and
    • downstream management (10%).

The total cost of waste is calculated using the highest proportion (60%) and the cost of the wasted materials (30%) calculated for both companies on bullet point (1)

  • When designing waste out of the system (even partially), the table uses a very conservative 20% to calculate net savings on waste.

Table 2. Waste cost savings for two hypothetical companies, one small service company and one large manufacturing company

Waste cost savingsPercentageSmall Service CompanyLarge Manufacturing Company
1) Cost of purchased materials that are
later wasted (i.e. not in final products
or packaging)
30$15,000$45,000,000
2) Total cost of waste = (Value of
purchased materials that are wasted) ÷ 60%
$25,000$75,000,000
3) Total potential waste costs savings
when expenses are avoided through zero waste initiatives
20$5,000$15,000,000

Quick recap. 

Annually, a small company with a revenue of $1,000,000, that spends $50,000 (5% of revenue) in materials and waste, can potentially save at least $5,000 when implementing zero waste initiatives.

On the other hand, a large company with a revenue of $500,000,000, which spends $150,000 (30% of revenue) in materials and waste, can potentially save at least $15,000,000 when implementing zero waste initiatives.

Those savings above are based on a conservative 20% net savings. If we increase to 50%, savings can increase to up to $12,500 and $37,500,000 for the small and large companies respectively.

The lesson? Paying attention to waste and quantifying it will give you insights into how your company, small or large, can find weak spots and start figuring out how to make them your strength. Reinvesting part of the savings in pilot sustainability projects can help you move further and faster.

I hope this framework got you thinking and you’re excited to discover the savings for your business. I encourage you to download Willard’s *open-source, free online* spreadsheet and plug in your numbers. *Contact me* if you need any help. 


Paying attention to waste and quantifying it will give you insights into how your company can find weak spots and make them your strength


What zero-waste initiatives have companies implemented to realize these savings?

We just learned that small or large, any company has the potential to save on waste expenses when implementing zero-waste strategies. Now, let’s look at some examples of real companies that have reduced the amount of materials they purchase through a variety of waste reduction initiatives. 

These are companies that have gone through the zero-waste certification process for their facilities, which have enabled them to map the route with clear objectives, metrics, and ways to improve continuously. 

I’ve grouped the initiatives by stage of the circular business loops and rephrased them for readability. The initiatives aren’t comparable to each other in terms of time, resources invested or saved. But they will get you thinking!

Take-Make

Eliminating the use of glue in production, which saves more than $250k per year and furthers the company’s sustainability efforts (Beverage manufacturing. *Milo’s Tea Company, US*).

Reducing paper usage and expenses by 57%, in a year, by going entirely paperless in the payroll department, conducting processes electronically as often as possible, and programmed each computer to print double-sided. (Beverage manufacturing. *Milo’s Tea Company, US*).

Return-Recycle

Developing take-back options for secondary packaging and introducing re-usable containers for certain products (Food manufacturing. *Nature’s Path, US*).

After a full hotel renovation, refurbishing over 350 cast iron tubs; recycling to the local metals recycling company all the metal parts from the air conditioner units, aluminum railings, and the aluminum on sliding glass doors; salvaging copper piping by a local commercial plumbing company. In total, over 2500 tons of waste were diverted from the landfill. (Hotel. *Hyatt Regency Maui, Hawaii, US*).

Contracting with local pig farms to pick up food waste since Maui [a remote island] does not have a commercial composting facility (Hotel. *Hyatt Regency Maui, Hawaii, US*).

Use-Reuse

Deploying reuse programs to extend the life of office supplies, furnishings and computer equipment. (Office. *HP, US*).

Moving to bulk storage of raw materials and reusable drums. (Home, Dish Fabric and Personal Care products *Ecover NV, Belgium*).

Inventing an oil bottle draining device that allowed the plastic bottles to be recycled. The used oil is then used to heat the mechanic shop (Forklift Dealership. *The Bailey Company, US*).

Waste

Conducting multiple physical waste audits to better understand the composition of the waste stream. (Hotel. *Hyatt Regency Maui, Hawaii, US*).

These are great examples of how companies in any sector can realize savings through reduce, reuse, recycle, and return practices, and even eliminating unnecessary materials.

Did you notice that some companies work with their suppliers and other companies for their downstream materials (e.g. organics)? It’s teamwork with those along the value chain. Visit *TRUE projects* to learn more about these and other companies.

Have you implemented any of these practices? Have you thought about implementing one or more? Please share your thoughts in the comments box.


SUMMARY 

The linear economy is costly, not only financially but also environmentally and socially. Circularity provides a different direction that benefits businesses, people, and the planet. 

In this blog, we’ve learned how any company, small or large and in any sector, can start moving towards circularity by implementing zero-waste initiatives that close loops, cut costs, and drastically shrink carbon footprint.

To uncover your own opportunities, start with a zero-waste audit, then run pilot projects targeting low-hanging fruit, and take it from there. If you’re still unsure how to go about it, *contact me*. 

In my next blog, I’ll look at the role of leadership and cultural change. That’s one thing companies often mention as both a motivator to achieve their goals and as a gain during the zero-waste journey.

About me. I’m Viviana Ramírez-Luna, a Mom, a Community Leader with the Zero Waste Action Team of the Social Justice Coop of NL, an Environmental Scientist (MSc) from Memorial University of NL, a Zero Waste Advisor with TRUE (Green Business Certification Inc.), and an Associate of Zero Waste Canada.

I’m the founder of Planeet Consulting, the first zero-waste social enterprise in Newfoundland and Labrador whose mission is to move our province toward a circular economy and society.

Hi there! I’m Viviana, a Mom, Community Leader, Environmental Scientist, and Zero Waste Social Entrepreneur. In the background is the Community Garden and Georgestown Composting Program at the Kings Gate Condo. The composting program is an initiative of Planeet and the Social Justice Cooperative of Newfoundland and Labrador in partnership with Stella’s Circle, the condo, and funding from the Multi-Material Stewardship Board of NL, Food First NL, and the City of St. John’s. Photo by Tania Heath.

Planning for tough times.

How Zero Waste can help your business turn waste into savings and reach your environmental goals.

Welcome to the Zero Waste for Businesses and Organizations Blog Series. The first one of its kind in Newfoundland and Labrador. The goal of this blog series is to start, promote, and facilitate the conversation about zero waste and the circular economy in our province. Each blog will show businesses and organizations the value of zero waste and its connection with the circular economy. Don’t worry if you’re not familiar with the circular economy. On my next blog, I’ll cover it in detail.

Circular economy might sound like a too-far-away-complex goal, but zero waste can provide simple and practical steps to get started. However, the term zero waste can bring confusion too.

To clarify, this blog starts with a brief explanation of the difference between waste management and zero waste. Then it follows with a short list of key zero waste strategies that your business can use to start moving towards circularity by closing loops, turning waste into savings, and creating potential revenue streams while contributing to a better planet and society.


Waste Management vs. Zero Waste

One way to look at the difference between waste management and zero waste is by reviewing their core question and answer:

Waste ManagementZero Waste
Q: What can we do with the waste we produce? Q: How can we prevent waste from happening in the first place? 
A: Recycle, compost, or burn as
much as you can. 
A: Go beyond recycling, composting,
and burning by Redesigning,
Rethinking, Reducing, Reusing (and some other Rs). 
A key difference between waste management and zero waste

Waste management deals with the downstream waste and assumes that natural resources are infinite and waste will continue to increase and its management will become more challenging and costly. Consequently, there’s an emphasis on investing in new infrastructure, technology and programs to better recycle or landfill our never-ending waste.

On the other hand, zero waste goes upstream and raises awareness of the limited availability of natural resources, current business practices, and the need to prevent waste from happening in the first place. A zero waste approach helps you see your discards as “resources” not as “waste.”  And to consider not only the visible physical resources, but also the “hidden” costs related to financial and human resources.

Zero Waste Hierarchy of Highest and Best Use 7.0. Source: Zero Waste International Alliance

In his book “The New Sustainability Advantage”, Bob Willard, a global sustainability speaker, argues that costs associated with waste usually include the cost of: 

  • materials purchased but later wasted (packaging, raw and auxiliary materials, etc.)
    • 60 percent of total costs
  • processing the material before it is wasted (water, energy, labour, etc.)
    • 20 percent of total costs
  • services for waste prevention and environmental management (external services for environmental management, research on waste issues, etc.)
    • 10 percent of total costs
  • downstream management (storage, disposal, tipping fees, liability, etc.).
    • 10 percent of total costs

Here is a neat chart that can make those numbers easier to digest:

Costs associated with waste from purchase to discard. Pie Chart by author using original data from Bob Willard’s Business Case Simulator. See text above for more details.

These numbers can give you a pretty good picture of the relationship between waste and costs. Next, I’ll show you some of the zero waste strategies that can help you quantify both waste and costs so you can start finding ways to turn waste into savings and potential revenue streams, while contributing to a better planet and society.


How zero waste can help your organization during COVID times

While the pandemic has hit every part of our society, it has also become an opportunity for businesses to review Willard’s numbers, rethink practices, reduce costs, and be agents of change by influencing everyone throughout the value chain from suppliers to customers to regulators. 

A zero waste approach offers strategies that can help you rethink your business so that you can find ways to save money and make a better planet. Here are a few of them, some are easy, some are more complex, but all of them will give you a different perspective and way to start your zero waste journey:

Conduct a Zero Waste Audit. You can audit your discarded materials (waste, recyclables, and compostables) and the purchasing agreements. Together, the audits give you a snapshot of the input and output of materials in your facility and help you identify ways to prevent waste in the first place, save money, and reduce pollution that impacts the environment and community health. If your business has done it before, make sure you repeat it at least once a year to measure progress.

Review garbage bin sizes inside and outside the facility. Chances are, you’ll be able to reduce their number, switch to smaller sizes, and downsize dumpsters accordingly. This way, dumpsters can be hauled once completely full and thus, you’ll avoid unnecessary hauling costs.

Implement tracking programs. This will eliminate waste before it occurs. In the food industry, there are many systems that track inventory, which helps avoid food waste.

Review your supply chain. More often than not, you won’t be able to reduce your waste by yourself. Reviewing your supply chain will help you identify where materials are coming from. And to reduce it, you will need to work with your suppliers and figure out ways that can benefit both parties.


SUMMARY

This very first blog about zero waste and circularity in Newfoundland and Labrador, has shown you why moving from waste management to zero waste and circularity is good for the environment, our society and your business, especially during these tough times. Zero waste gets you thinking about the limited availability of natural resources, the impact of current business practices, and the why and how you can start finding the value of your discards and contributing to a better planet and society.

What challenges does your business face in moving towards zero waste? Please share your thoughts in the box below

Photo of Viviana smiling. She has dark long hair, brown eyes and brown skin

Viviana Ramirez-Luna is an Environmental Scientist from Memorial University of NL, a Zero Waste Advisor with TRUE (Green Business Certification Inc.), and Associate of Zero Waste Canada.

She’s the founder of Planeet Consulting, a St. John’s-based firm whose mission is to move Newfoundland and Labrador towards the circular economy and society.