As more people are becoming environmentally conscious and friendly, businesses are doing the same and picking up zero waste policies. Zero waste is a form of sustainability that involves reusing all resources to decrease the total environmental impact. Basically, the zero waste philosophy entails redesigning the entire life cycle of a product so that every part of the product is reused and no trash is sent to landfills or incinerators. Overall, businesses that adhere to zero waste policies and philosophies see it as an efficient, lucrative, and ethical guide to imitate natural and sustainable life cycles where all discarded materials become resources for others.
Zero waste, if correctly implemented, will eliminate toxic waste that poses a threat to our entire earth, including the people on it. Rather than being a form of waste management, many see it as a form of waste prevention with the goal of completely changing the way our communities use and reuse our resources to result in a world free of unused and discarded materials.
The tricky part about implementing a zero waste policy for your business or personal life is learning how to do it correctly and changing your lifestyle to fit this philosophy. There are many benefits to aiming for a zero waste policy, albeit many challenges. So here is why having a zero waste policy can be worth the work to reap the rewards.
Because We Can
Simply put, you should aim for and implement a zero waste policy for your business because we can. Although recycling has become a major part of everyday life all around the United States, it used to be that recycling was the “holy grail” and the best we could do to help save our planet. The thought of having absolutely no waste was seen as a dream, something that was basically impossible to achieve, but now with advances in environmental science, we understand that zero waste is not only a possibility but it also should be a priority.
Not only can gaining the classification of a zero waste business help our earth grow and thrive, it can also help your business grow and thrive! There are many financial benefits that can be gained through following a zero waste policy. By eliminating waste, you are also eliminating your waste management and disposal costs while also drastically improving your business’ overall efficiency. As an example, Hewlett Packard in California reduced its waste by 95 percent in 1998, and that year alone they saved over $850 thousand! In addition to saving money, you can also generate money through reselling recyclable materials. Overall, becoming a zero-landfill business can drastically help improve your bottom line.
Taking Responsibility – Building Trust
Taking responsibility for the waste your produce will get your business a lot of positive recognition from your local communities, clients, and potential customers. By committing to reduce the amount of waste your business produces and therefore reducing your overall carbon footprint, you are showing your consumers that you care about our environment and that you are committed to helping implement a positive change in our world. Overall, switching to a zero waste policy will show that you’re working toward achieving economic and social well-being as well as environmental protection.
Our world is made up of resources and how we use and treat these resources determines their life cycle. Most resources are finite, meaning they are limited. By switching to a zero-waste policy, you will promote the creation of a cyclical system that allows materials to be used as efficiently as possible while also preventing future creation of unsustainable products.
As more and more businesses become zero-landfill oriented, environmental worries begin to wean, and we can focus less on how to save the earth because we won’t be harming it as much. Zero waste means that you can use fewer raw materials and more recycled materials, which will also decrease the pressure you feel from your consumers to be more sustainable. Being zero waste completely supports the ideal of sustainability by protecting the environment.
Committing your business to a zero waste policy can also help you avoid greenwashing scandals. Many businesses face a lot of pressure to be environmentally friendly, but some try to cut corners to provide a product or service that looks green but really isn’t. Focusing on a zero policy philosophy makes following environmental regulations and policies put in place by the Environmental Protection Agency much easier, allowing you to focus on other, more critical aspects of your business.
Increase and Improve Material Flow
By eliminating waste production, you will increase the amount of materials you have for production. Essentially, you will end up using fewer new, raw materials to generate your products and instead reuse your material waste as compost or recycled products. Any material waste you generate should either return as reusable or recycled materials or end up as compost for your zero waste policy. The greater and better material flow you have, the easier production becomes. Also, using recycled materials is a great way to promote your products as more and more people are turning to sustainable goods.
Zero waste policies are a great way to help your business go green! It is important that our local businesses take an interest in preserving our environment because in the past they have had such a meaningful and negative impact on it. Landfills in general are hazardous to the environment, as the liners that lay between the trash and the ground are only one tenth of an inch thick. Luckily more and more businesses, especially the larger ones, are making commitments to work toward being 100 percent landfill free. For example, Wal-Mart, which is generally considered to be the world’s largest retailer has committed and is working toward it. Also, General Motors, Toyota, and Honda are all very close to being zero waste.
Going zero-waste is a hard and intense process, but it can do wonders for your business in terms of saving money, publicity, and taking the overall pressure off the earth. No business will be able to go zero-waste right away, but as long as you are making an effort, you are making leeway!