Zero waste is a concept that has been growing rapidly around the world over the last few years. By setting an extreme target for waste reduction, new levels of innovation and efficiency are unleashed. Zero waste is a way of thinking, rather than an absolute. Subscribing to zero waste does not mean instantly eliminating every last piece of waste whatever the cost. The key principle of zero waste is that it defines "waste" as something that is not acceptable. Ultimately, zero waste means a 100% resource-efficient economy where everything is reused or recycled harmlessly back into nature.
The current business model of infinite raw materials and the unlimited capacity to absorb waste is slowly changing. Businesses now need to concentrate on creating more goods and services, while reducing waste and resource consumption. Zero waste is based on the understanding that all of the materials we use are resources, and only become waste through poor management. This means that we must concentrate on minimizing waste during production as well as designing products that function cleanly and can be reused or recycled at the end of their lives.
ECO Zero's Zero Waste Audit tool has been designed to help identify waste flows and recycling efforts at a facility. It is hoped that by providing the tool to measure waste, its production can be controlled and minimized.
The Zero Waste Audit
To commit to zero waste means embarking on a path of continuous improvement. Zero waste is a realistic and desirable objected for any forward-looking company. The audit tool provides the generalized processes, steps and actions necessary to reach this goal. In general, there are five key steps:
1. Take Direct Action
Identify initiatives that deal directly with the waste stream.
2. Change the Rules
Identify policies, procedures and financial incentives to encourage waste reduction rather than disposal.
3. Foster New Ideas
Create mechanisms to develop and test new management, technical and financial solutions.
4. Communicate and Educate
Inform the staff and stakeholders of the issues, providing opportunity for input and participation.
5. Monitor and Feedback
Assess and report on waste stream characteristics and the success or failure of the initiatives.
The Zero Waste Audit provides the auditor with all the tools to implement a successful waste reduction program.