Practical Steps in Moving towards Zero Waste


Over the past decade, waste disposal costs have risen by close to 30% even as companies reinvent strategies to reduce waste. Most businesses have made zero waste an objective in the operations because of the inherent benefits in improving the bottom line as well as satisfying stakeholder demand for environmental responsibility.

While most businesses look for quick wins such as pursuing new vendors and negotiating waste disposal costs, these actions may not be sustainable in the long run. This is because the savings made are eroded over time because vendors tend to push some of the valuable costs back to their customers.

Experience has shown that the only sure way to zero waste is through the 3 Rs that is reduce, reuse, and recycle. The following steps can help you in organizing your Rockford business towards achieving zero waste.

Waste Characterization

In order to find out exactly the stuff you are throwing away, you have to engage dumpster diving professionals. Companies must have a sense of where the generation of waste is taking place, the frequency of this generation, and the destination of the waste. By measuring not just the volume, but also the weight of each material considered waste will give you a window into the nature of waste your business discards.

It is true that if you can’t measure, you cannot manage. This means businesses must develop an understanding of the goings on at each location. The data so accumulated can help create the foundation of a zero-waste approach. You may even find some items you can recycle or reuse in your waste stream.

Waste Prevention Strategies

Preventing or reducing waste generation is the ideal way towards zero waste. However, this is often a difficult approach to implement which requires a high level of involvement and stakeholder coordination particularly in the supply chain.

By preventing or minimizing waste generation, you can save so much of your business economic resources making you streamline your expenses and production costs for an enhanced bottom line.

Repurposing Products

The contemporary society has a mentality of using and disposing products and packaging. Instead of using tap-water, we prefer buying bottled water after which we discard the bottles. If the society can embrace the culture of repurposing or reusing products instead of discarding them, there can be huge savings in terms of energy, money, time, and other resources.

In addition to the above, businesses in Rockford, IL can engage their employees through training and awareness on how to better manage waste. The best way to start this is by creating a recycle-friendly environment where bins and signage are positioned in convenient places to remind employees of the need to divert waste for reuse.