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Step 4 (of 6) Toward a Successful Waste and Recycling Program

Step 4 of 6 steps towards a successful waste and recycling program

Last week marked the midpoint of our six-part blog series on how to build a successful waste and recycling program. This week, we will enter Step 4: Eliminate the RUBICON method, which is a set of step-by-step instructions designed to enable companies of any size or industry to implement sustainable development plans. Listen to information about each of the six steps of RUBICONMethod every week, or download the complete guide to complete each step at your own pace and access the checklists and worksheets provided.

In the past three weeks, this series of blogs have gone through Step 1: Confirmation, Step 2: Beginning and Step 3: Speaking. These steps help you determine the existing waste landscape, initiate a plan and promote the plan to internal and external stakeholders. This week, we are ready to start eliminating waste.

Whether it's paper, plastic, organic matter or even non-recyclable waste-your business is likely to throw away something that can be reused, recycled, or simply eliminated from the beginning. Your business and environment have paid a price for this. Let us see what waste we can eliminate.

Step 4: Eliminate

Not surprisingly, the best way to eliminate waste is to not create it in the first place. In this step, we introduced more sustainable options and methods to reduce daily waste.

Let's start with food...

Kitchen waste

Food waste accounts for 50% of the materials buried in landfills each year. This means that food is a very influential item when looking at your comprehensive waste footprint.

Methods of eliminating and transferring food waste

Obtain a composting service to collect food waste. Be more careful when ordering meals (get an accurate number of people, request specific food orders instead of larger plates). Encourage employees to take leftover food home to find a local organization that accepts leftover food or ask for food services Vendors and food suppliers, if they have a way to donate surplus food

Where there is food, there are tableware...

Disposable tableware and non-recyclable items

Disposable tableware is an important waste in many restaurants and business lounges. Polystyrene (ie, styrofoam) cups, plates, take-out containers, and plastic utensils are rarely recyclable. Replace them with reusable kitchen utensils to reduce unnecessary waste.

Disposable and non-recyclable items to be eliminated

Disposable cups, plates, utensils (if you collect compost but do not have a dishwasher, please use durable goods or provide compostable utensils) separate sugar packets/creamer (switch to bulk) separate ketchup/mustard packets (switch to Bulk) Plastic water bottles (reusable bottles are provided) straws/stirrers

Non-recyclable materials can include packaging peanuts, polystyrene molds, bubble film, potato chip bags, milk cartons, beverage bags and other items. Talk to your waste partner and purchasing team to determine the best alternatives to the materials used in your business.

Finally, consider buying in bulk...

Individually packaged goods

Refillable dispensers instead of individually packaged goods can reduce packaging waste. For example, use a pot of coffee instead of a separate coffee pod, use a filter faucet instead of a plastic water bottle, and use a dispenser instead of separate creamer and sugar. Again, talk to your waste partner and purchasing team to determine what is right for your business.

Once you have eliminated these and other generally avoidable wastes, you can proceed to step 5 of the RUBICON method.

For a complete step-by-step guide to successfully implementing a waste and recycling program, click here.

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