Zero Waste

“If you are not for Zero Waste, how much waste are you for?” - Gary Liss 

Zero Waste The concept of Zero Waste is an end goal but with a caveat. The goal is to truly reduce total waste generation to zero, but the reality is average organization (Business, school, home, or city) attempting "Zero Waste" achieve approximately 90% diversion.  The process entails the analysis of your total waste generation, then redesigning your business process to design the waste out. If you know that at the end you have large portions of X, then go upstream and change your process to eliminate all the residual of X. Design for obsolescence. 

When you are thinking of reuse and recycling, you must first identify what form of the product has the most value. Is the most value in its current state, or in its remanufactured state? Example: An old door that you have replaced (wood, no chemicals) could be donated to Last Chance and resold for $15 to $20, or it could be chipped up for woodchips and sold for $1 or it could be composted and sold for $.25. In what state does that door have the most value? It’s original state, not the remanufactured into a new product state.
Points to Consider:
  • ALL materials are to be considered resources, not waste
  • Zero = 90% diversion from landfills and incinerators
  • Waste  + food = 42% of green house gas generation
  • It’s not about diversion, but the value created from resources
  • New Zeland has adopted a country wide zero waste policy! Amazing
Waste berg – A common comparison that is made with the waste industry is to an iceburg. You see 10% of an iceburgs total size above water, and 90% of it is unseen below the surface. For manufacturing, the end product only represents a portion of the waste that is generated during the complete manufacturing process. Most of it is generated up stream. This is why it is important to reanalyze the production process and design the waste out from the beginning.

Contact Us
Environmental Programs
526 Pierce Street
Monterey, CA 93940
(831) 646-5662
Mon. - Fri. 8 am to 5 pm

Ted J. Terrasas, REHS
Sustainability Coordinator
Waste Reduction Tips
Recycling is a good thing to do, but what is even better than recycling, is PREVENTING the waste in the first place!

Always remember, reducing what you buy, reuse what you have and THEN dispose of the rest. That is always the better route to take!

  • Ask suppliers to take back pallets or switch to more durable pallets that can be re–used.
  • Investigate other reusable packaging, such as boxes.
  • Re–use received boxes and packaging for outgoing shipments.
  • Shred or crumple waste paper for use as packing material.
  • Use Less — Re–Use More
  • Use both sides of the page. Draft reports can be printed on the back of paper that has been used once. Set aside such paper for printers and copy machines.
  • Make double–sided photocopies. Reports can be copied on both sides of the page.
  • Print only the number of copies necessary. Limit the distribution of correspondence and reports to only those who really need hard copies.
  • Route one hard copy to several readers.
  • Use email or bulletin boards for sending and receiving information.
  • Accept papers with minor handwritten corrections for internal documents.
  • Set printers and copiers to default to double sided copies.
  • Reduce Packaging and Shipping Materials
  • Use and maintain durable equipment and supplies. High quality, long–lasting supplies and equipment that can be repaired easily mean fewer discards. Durable items last longer, offsetting higher initial costs.
  • Re–use products and supplies. Use durable, reusable products rather than single–use materials. A one–time investment for reusable items ends the frequently expensive cycle of discarding and reordering.
  • Use supplies and materials more efficiently. Change company policies and operations to increase efficiency, reduce waste, and conserve materials. Set up a re–use area where employees can take unneeded supplies rather than throwing them away and encourage staff to "shop" there.
  • Exchange, sell, or give away unneeded goods for re–use. Donate excess food, used furniture, and other materials to local organizations such as homeless shelters or charities. Reduce unwanted or multiple copy mail. Get off unwanted mailing lists, and share subscriptions to professional magazines. No more junk mail.