Difficulties of Achieving Zero Waste

Over the past decade, Waste Management has helped thousands of companies work towards various stages of zero waste programs. From these vast and varied experiences, we know that zero waste is achievable. Yet, success is often determined by how a company defines zero waste and how high the bar is set. With the current economic uncertainty and ever increasing competition for finite resources, we foresee zero waste becoming an economic imperative for every business. Therefore, it is critical that companies develop waste strategies that pursue aggressive zero waste goals.

Consider this: every company produces two basic things – product output and non-product output. Product output is simply a company’s product, including packaging, that is sold in the marketplace. Non-product output (NPO) is the collective material, energy, and water left behind in the process of making and delivering a product. NPO may include raw materials and other inputs, processing and disposal expenses and can represent 10 to 30 percent of production costs. NPO may also include legal or health risks that could balloon to a very major cost. Increasingly, companies are paying attention to these costs. As a competitive marketplace drives more focus on efficiency and risk reduction, smart companies are using waste management strategies to advance the profitability of their operations.

The best zero waste strategies go beyond recycling and zero landfill options. They inspire employees to take on impossible challenges and drive innovation. Most importantly, they produce ever greater environmental and financial benefits. These winning strategies are not trivial to plan nor implement. There can be numerous unexpected challenges and complexities. A good strategy focuses on the entire production process - from initial material selection to uncovering new uses and value for residual material outputs. Most critically, the successful strategies cultivate a supportive business culture. Experience counts. Having a deep understanding of the keys to success, and a first hand experience of the full process can ensure that your company’s experience is positive. It can accelerate a company’s journey towards zero waste and guarantee achievement of the greatest benefit.

There are no cookie cutter approaches to zero waste. Every company is unique. Waste Management offers unparalleled expertise, programs, and tools to help companies architect and launch a zero waste strategy. We have – at your service – 50,000 employees whose collective commitment, experiences and insights are highly focused on helping our customers and our country move towards zero waste. Let us help you set and reach a high zero waste bar.

For more information or assistance in reaching your Zero Waste goals, contact Waste Management Sustainability Services at 877-441-3046 or visit our website at WMSustainabilityServices.com.