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Eliminating the Waste Sent to Landfills Every Day

Amid sustainability discussions, the topic of a circular economy and even a “zero waste economy” occur frequently. Yet business waste is still transported into this country’s more than two thousand active landfills daily. Have you ever stopped to ponder ways to reduce what we throw away – personally or in your business? Is there a way that we can change our habits to minimize the trash sent to landfills? Industry leaders in environmental sustainability know that there are many options to reduce, reuse, and recycle the things we simply throw in the trash and to send Zero Waste to Landfills.

Benefits of Zero Waste to Landfill

You may ask yourself, “How would it benefit my business to eliminate or reduce waste sent to landfills?” By reducing waste and increasing recycling, the benefits to the environment and your company’s financial statements will probably outweigh the costs. First off, it could save your business money. Reduced waste and increased recycling can mean reduced disposal costs and increased revenues. A second benefit is meeting customer expectations for responsible manufacturing and improved life cycle assessments. Another benefit is that the process of reviewing your waste creation may identify ways to improve your manufacturing process. These efficiencies could be conserving human or supply resources, and conserving energy. Your business will be seen by investors, customers and competitors as industry leaders in environmental responsibility.

Steps to Become Zero Landfill

  1. Select a waste management team. These individuals will look over your current situation, determine your goals and develop an implementation plan. The right team should be committed to the goal of sending zero facility waste to a landfill. This can be an internal team or include help from an outside organization.
  2. Assess the current waste management and disposal methods of your company. By conducting a waste audit, you will receive an in-depth analysis of the company’s waste generation/management and disposal covering a certain period of time.
  3. Develop waste reduction and elimination strategies. After setting your goals, implement a plan to achieve short and longer term steps. Strategies can include looking at landfill alternatives like converting waste to energy (e.g. converting waste to fuels via certain incinerators or other outlets) or reusing resources through a recycling center or specialty outlets. To reduce your carbon footprint, you may need to look at your packaging and even consider the redesign of process flow and equipment.
  4. Engage employees. To reach zero waste to landfill, you need the help and cooperation of your employees. Raising awareness and providing training to your employees ensures that everyone is on the same page.

How Heritage Can Help

Every business generates waste and much of that waste can be considered by-products that still have value. By reducing, reusing, or recycling those byproducts, your company can save money or even create a new revenue stream. Heritage works with companies to attain their sustainable goals by building customized programs to reduce waste generation, improve recycling rates, and achieve Zero Waste to Landfill. Having a diverse industrial and commercial expertise, Heritage has the ability to adapt to changing environmental standards and definitions. Heritage embraces broad goals so when one goal is achieved, they can begin the process of reaching the next. We have a world class research and development team that has shown significant success in finding ways to turn waste into new products. Heritage takes pride in being a preferred partner in the process and helping 175 sites to achieve zero landfill status. Are you ready to take that next step to bettering your business and the environment? Contact Heritage today to get started.

Assuming you have not been living under a rock for the past few years, you have most likely heard the term “carbon footprint.” It’s one of those terms that people throw around in an attempt to sound “greener.” But if you’re like me, you may wonder what the word actually means. Is it like carbon paper? Am I actually making a big black footprint somewhere? If I step lightly will it lessen my impact? Okay, I’m kind of joking, I know enough about it to know my carbon footprint doesn’t actually involve my feet, but if not our feet, what parts of us do impact our carbon footprints?

So what is a carbon footprint?

Merriam Webster defines carbon footprint as “the amount of greenhouse gases and specifically carbon dioxide emitted by something (such as a person’s activities or a product’s manufacture and transport) during a given period.” Awesome. That makes it 100% clear, right?

But what does that mean?

The Guardian’s Green Living Blog provides a better explanation. They say, “When talking about climate change, footprint is a metaphor for the total impact that something has. And carbon is…shorthand for all the different greenhouse gases that contribute to global warming.

The term carbon footprint, therefore, is…shorthand to describe the best estimate that we can get of the full climate change impact of something. That something could be anything – an activity, an item, a lifestyle, a company, a country or even the whole world.”

It is important to note that although emission totals are generally reported in carbon dioxide (CO2), there are several other greenhouse gasses that contribute to the overall impact (methane, nitrous oxide, refrigerant gases, etc.). Because these other gasses are generally released in much smaller amounts, and in order to simplify the reporting process, they are converted into CO2 equivalents, or CO2e’s.

How can I measure mine or my company’s carbon footprint?

This is really where things get tricky because the carbon footprint of any product, good, or thing is so vast it becomes very difficult to measure. Many companies only account for a portion of the actual footprint. “A magazine publisher might claim to have measured its carbon footprint but in doing so looked only at its office and cars while ignoring the much greater emissions caused by the printing house that produces the magazines themselves.” The carbon footprint of every product includes not only direct emissions from the manufacturing and transportation processes, but also includes several indirect emissions, such as those caused by the extraction and processing of oil, a key component in plastic.

What I mean is this, say you go to the grocery store; you have a gallon of 2% milk in each hand. One gallon is the typical store brand and the other is from a local dairy farm. You know that in the ads for the store you are at they say that they strive to be low emission and to minimize their carbon footprint. The local company is family owned and doesn’t do very much advertising but you know they bring the milk to the store from right up the street. So which do you buy, store brand or local? It’s a difficult problem because measuring total impact is nearly impossible.

As for measuring yours or your company’s carbon footprint, the easiest way would be just to work backwards and be as all inclusive as you can. Remember to think not only about your direct influence, but your indirect influence as well. Although you could be lead down innumerable paths, this should help you to get a basic idea of your impact. And once you get good at thinking this way, it may help you make better (less carbon emission heavy) choices in your life!