Getting Started Towards Zero Waste
1. Form a team
Does your organization have a green team, sustainability committee, environmental action committee or some other group that works on projects? If not, work with others who are interested and reach out to company leadership for support. Work together to establish priorities. Starting with waste is an easy way to generate enthusiasm and see results with little to no cost.
In order to understand where you want to go, it’s best to learn where you are starting. Establishing a baseline allows you to know your starting point. The Cuyahoga County Solid Waste District offers a step-by-step guide that walks you through the process of conducting a waste audit. Still need help? Contact Beau Daane, Business Recycling Specialist at the County for assistance.
3. Set goal
Now that you have established where you are, now you can determine where you want to go. Based on your waste sort, you should be able to identify some areas of focus and set a goal. An example of a goal is to achieve 50% waste reduction by the end of year 1. Experience shows that companies that set bold goals take further steps more quickly than those that set short-term goals. Zero waste by 2019 is an example of a big, hairy, audacious goal (BHAG).
4. Sign up
Now that you have a goal, share it with the Zero Waste NEO Network. Create a profile on zerowasteneo.org and begin to earn recognition for your waste reduction efforts. There are also opportunities to connect with resources, learn best practices from other zero waste practitioners and share pictures, videos and blog about your work.
5. Get to action
Armed with a goal, you can now begin to rethink the way you view waste and the way you do business. A zero waste strategy will change your entire approach to how you design your products and services. If you don’t already have one in place, implement a recycling program and educate associates on what you are doing.
6. Report and track
As you progress towards your goal, there will be successes and lessons learned. It’s important to celebrate the successes and integrate what you’ve learned into your process. Report your success to stakeholders and revise your goals based on progress.