Zero waste might look like a daunting goal, but any goal becomes achievable when you break it down into intermediate steps. When you set out on your zero waste mission you need to look at the particular circumstances of your business.
It’s not all about the rubbish you produce. In fact, it is often about the decisions you take long before that. Make the right choices, and it is not a question of how to dispose of waste ethically. The waste might not be produced at all.
Perhaps you print a lot of documents? You could try going paperless. That slashes your waste. But if paperless is not possible, at least use refillable printer cartridges. Not only are they generally cheaper, they don’t have to be thrown out when they run low. Good management eliminates waste, which eliminates the waste disposal problem.
Or what if your company needs machinery on an occasional basis. Perhaps it is equipment that is used in maintenance, rather than being central to your business. Instead of buying that gear, consider leasing it. That way you only use it when you need it, and don’t have a stockpile of redundant tools.
And keep track of what you have. If you use a staple gun twice a year, make sure that you don’t have to buy a staple gun twice a year, because you can’t remember where you stored the previous one. It all comes down to management and planning.
If you are a food outlet, consider using compostable plates and cups. Forget landfill – your waste will go back into the soil as compost, rather than killing the soil for a generation. There are lots of ways of moving towards zero waste.
Zero waste management software
If it all comes down to management and planning, modern digital technology just made our job so much easier. You can start easily with very accessible software. Waste can be tracked using spreadsheets, and good stock keeping can help you keep track of everything. But if you really want to get on top of the problem, there are specialist waste management software packages out there.
At CEC we specialize in this. We know exactly what you are looking for, and what will work best for your company.
In most cases it starts with a digital waste audit. You can carry out a pencil and paper audit, but digitizing it will allow you to keep track of your progress. A paper audit is a record of how you are doing. A digital audit is a powerful tool. It sets goals and lets you know when you hit them. It gives you the roadmap towards reaching those goals.
The software we specialise in can accept your existing waste reports and turn them into valuable intelligence. Our certified circular waste classification system will give you a way of analyzing the data that can throw up opportunities for reusing, recycling, and reducing your waste. With knowledge comes opportunity.
You will be able to design projects and monitor every step along the way. You will be able to share your success with your co-workers, and with peers in your industry. The results can be staggering. Companies using the right waste management software can transform two thirds of their waste into quality materials. This is a financial boon, and also improves your sustainability.
Zero waste certification with CEC
The software will help you move towards zero waste. This is an important goal, and if your company achieves zero waste certification you will reap the benefits that come from that. Today your customers care more and more about the environment. And they like to know you share their concerns. Lots of companies talk about going green and increasing sustainability. But if you achieve certification it is no longer talk. You have done the work.
Here’s the rub; you don’t get the certification because you apply for it. You have to prove you have made those fundamental changes to your waste management systems. The software tracks and records your progress. It makes achieving certification so much easier.
An example of zero waste management
The Maryborough House Hotel is one of Cork’s most prestigious hotels. It is very popular for conferences and weddings, and is always busy. The hospitality industry is a huge waste producer, and when they came to us with their ambitious plans, we knew they had a hard road ahead of them.
The hotel wanted to shoot for the stars – zero waste to landfill. That’s zero food waste, zero packaging, zero old detergent bottles, ends of soaps, tin cans and wine bottles. All waste was to be composted, recycled, repurposed or reused. With our help they achieved that goal in just four months.
Zero waste to landfill doesn’t mean zero waste. It means that waste is properly managed and doesn’t end up in landfill. But it is not just a matter of moving the waste from one category to another. The hotel reduced their total amount of waste by a massive 35%.
Zero waste example case study (pdf):
You could do the same. Your business could see a third reduction in your waste output. You could save money and help the environment. That’s what we do for our clients. If you get in touch for a free waste consultation we will be delighted to see what difference our expertise can make to your business.