Zero Waste Businesses How Recycling Transforms Industries

Have you ever though how much waste your business sends to the landfill? If so, you are probably very concerned about the expenses connected with it as well as

Becoming A Zero Waste Company

Becoming A Zero Waste Company

Have you ever though how much waste your business sends to the landfill? If so, you are probably very concerned about the expenses connected with it as well as other companies. That’s why the concept of zero waste is becoming more and more popular these days. Zero waste is a popular buzzword among businesses of all sizes and types. Waste disposal expenses have risen progressively in the last years, blowing up by greater than 28-percent in the previous 10 years. Sending less material to the landfill and recovering value from waste commodities makes possible to decrease your business environmental footprint and improve its financial health.

So what is a zero waste business? In order to be certified as one by ZWIA, at least 90% of company’s discarded materials must be diverted out of the landfill. Without professional consultancy from a recycling facility like iSustain Recycling, this can become a great challenge especially for distribution and warehousing centers, large manufacturers and big grocery chains.

All of these industries generate a great deal of waste and need tailored, long-term options as opposed to fast repairs. Our team of specialists at iSustain Recycling shares some tips about where to begin on your way to becoming a zero waste company.

Analyze Your Current Waste Stream Management

Everything starts with analysis and this is not an exception. Initially, you have to analyze the the sources, types and volume of waste your business is generating and establish a baseline to track your future progress. Another thing to take into consideration is if the waste being placed in the right containers. Determine if you have enough recycling or waste collection bins available and positioned for best results. To illustrate, if a recycling bin is located closer and more conveniently than a trash bin, your employees will be more motivated to toss recyclables into the right container. The key objective of this action is to understand the waste stream that your business generates. You might likewise consider hiring a waste management company to perform an expert waste audit in your place.

An expert waste audit is an in-depth analysis of waste generation, management, and also disposal of a company throughout a provided period.

It includes categorizing waste kinds and also sources, along with accumulating, sorting, weighting and also recording them. It additionally includes recognizing which items are being recycled as well as which ones are going to the garbage dump. Companies have to establish a detailed understanding of their waste stream to efficiently handle it.

Zero Waste Businesses: How Recycling Transforms Industries

If plastics demand follows its current trajectory, global plastics-waste volumes would grow from 260 million tons per year in 2016 to 460 million tons per year by 2030, taking what is already a serious environmental problem to a whole new level. In the face of public outcry about global plastics pollution, the chemical industry is starting to mobilize on this issue. Our recent article “No time to waste” showed how industry leadership is moving beyond the use-once-and-discard approach—under which the plastics industry has grown up—and embracing an expanded definition of product stewardship that includes dealing with plastics waste. As we underlined in that article, this is not only what society demands, and is becoming a condition for the industry to retain its license to operate, but could also represent an important and profitable new business opportunity.

That last insight is built on our comprehensive assessment of where future global waste flows will come from, how they could be recycled, and what economic returns this activity could offer—research that has filled a major gap in the public debate. In this article, we outline a scenario for the plastics industry through which 50 percent of plastics worldwide could be reused or recycled by 2030—a fourfold increase over what is achieved today—and that also has the potential to create substantial value. Following that path, plastics reuse and recycling could generate profit-pool growth of as much as $60 billion for the petrochemicals and plastics sector, representing nearly two-thirds of its possible profit-pool growth over the period. We also discuss the levels of support that will be needed more broadly across society, including from regulators, major plastics users such as consumer-packaged-goods companies, and consumers, to get to this outcome.

For petrochemicals and plastics companies—and by extension the chemical industry, since plastics production accounts for well over one-third of the industry’s activities—this presents an array of threats and opportunities, and we outline the kinds of strategic questions they will need to evaluate and the choices to make.

Modeling a virtuous circle of plastics recycling worldwide

Images of plastics waste across the globe have contributed to a consumer backlash that is translating to regulatory moves to ban or restrict plastics use in numerous geographies, notably the European Union. Marine plastics pollution has been a powerful force to mobilize public opinion, and our colleagues have suggested ways to address the problem. When considering the potential for plastics-waste recycling, however, marine plastics pollution could best be understood as the highly visible tip of the iceberg.

What the chemical industry—along with major consumer industries, the waste industry, and indeed society, more broadly—has been lacking is a clear picture of a path forward under which the volumes of plastics being discarded could be recaptured and reused.

Also lacking has been a full perspective on where the majority of waste will come from and which recovery and recycling technologies offer the biggest potential.

To help build a picture of possible paths forward, we have created a comprehensive model of global plastics waste generation at both regional and country levels, covering all the major polymer categories. We then mapped the model against available plastics recovery and recycling technologies and their regional process economics. As regulations governing recycling—along with the behavior of businesses and consumers—will play a defining role in what recycling levels can be achieved, we have also modeled scenarios to cover these differences in societal approaches.

The base-case scenario conditions assume recycling is optimized for profitability, and waste leakage minimized using low-cost approaches. The second scenario adds on to this progress in collection, sorting, and recycling technologies. The third scenario further adds a multi-stakeholder push for increased reuse and recycling, backed by a range of regulatory measures. The different scenarios allow us to project recovery rates and profitability potential to 2030 and 2050. There is clearly potential in principle for significant new technology breakthroughs and disruptions; much of this work is still at an early stage, but we have factored some elements of such advances into our scenarios.

We have used a $75-per-barrel oil price as our reference case; this price is in line with our view of long-term pricing scenarios based on the potential cost curve over the period for crude-oil production. We have also explored scenarios at $50 and $100 a barrel, given the historical volatility of oil prices and because the feasibility of plastics recycling is sensitive to these prices. Our modeling suggests the value-creation potential at $50 per barrel would be approximately one-third of what could be achieved in the reference case, while at $100 per barrel it would be approximately two-thirds more. It is clear that the smaller profit pool at the lower oil-price level would throw into question much recycling activity, while the larger pool at the higher level makes recycling more attractive.

Top 10 Zero Waste Companies Pushing for a Sustainable Future

Cars, candy, clothes, cosmetics, cleaning products. They’re the everyday items of a modern society that most of us can’t help but use, even though we might have serious concerns about their impact on the environment. The question is when it comes to all the waste that is generated when producing and consuming these products, can it ever really be done sustainably?

Over the past decade, many major companies and brands have made huge strides toward sustainability by joining the zero waste movement. Sending zero manufacturing waste to landfill, particularly where more than 90% of waste is diverted from both landfills and incinerators, has been a major success at corporations that produce many household names. On top of that, there are also companies out there going the extra mile to ensure consumers and smaller businesses don’t end up shouldering the burden of all that trash when it leaves their facilities.

If you don’t already know these companies, their zero-waste products and services, or their initiatives to reduce the amount of waste we all produce on a daily basis, here we look at some of the top zero waste companies aiming to produce less waste. Whether that’s tackling the enormous task of diverting manufacturing waste from landfill or by giving consumers the tools and opportunities to eliminate waste at home, both small businesses and giant corporations are beginning to make the change and work towards a zero-waste future.

Companies leading the way in zero waste to landfill

For the past 15 years, nothing has gone to waste at Subaru. Their manufacturing facility in Lafayette, Indiana, and four plants in Japan, have been zero waste to landfill since 2005—no small feat for a company that produces nearly 1 million vehicles per year across its supply chain.

The company tracks its waste production using barcodes and sends the materials to other departments or plants where they can be recycled or repurposed. They recycle everything from waste oil to paint sludge and reuse packaging wherever possible. Waste that is too difficult to reuse or recycle is incinerated for energy, but this totals less than 5% of their overall waste.

Beyond just eliminating manufacturing waste on their side, the company has also ensured that 96% of the components in a Subaru vehicle are reusable or recyclable. They have also partnered with the National Parks Conservation Association to help bring their zero-waste strategies to America’s national parks and extend their waste reduction philosophy to an even greater challenge.

Sean Teer manages Envision, a not-for-profit turning plastic bottle tops that would otherwise go to landfill into prosthetic hands and arms. Based in Werribee, the project aims to change the lives of as many disadvantaged people as possible in countries like Cambodia and India. Supported by the global Coca‑Cola Foundation, Melbourne based not-for-profit Envision is in the process of turning bottle caps into mobility aids, or artificial plastic limbs.


  • Set up and ran Progressive Personnel – First centrally based employer marketing service of its type in Australia for Disability Services
  • Author of a number of Articles and book on Job Seeking
  • National Finalist, Best Supervisor Work for the Dole Prime Minister’s Award 2005
  • Author of Self Development Book – Master the Art of Happiness
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