A Starter's Guide to Zero Waste

A recent article over on ThomasNet pointed out how General Motors, which has made a high-profile commitment to zero waste, has turned more than half of its manufacturing plants into landfill-free facilities. For a company as big as GM, manufacturing a wide-range of products, that's impressive. (As is the fact that its zero-waste best practices have helped it turn its own waste byproducts into a 1 Billion per year revenue generator.)

If GM can do it, you can to. How? Start by following the 10 steps to zero-waste as outlined in A Starter's Guide to Zero Waste. And pay particular attention to these steps:

  • Commit to the Triple Bottom Line
    In other words, adopt social, environmental, and economic performance standards and pursue them unwaveringly.
  • Adopt the Precautionary Principle
    Before committing to any product or service, audit the full life-cycle for the presence of anything that will be wasteful or toxic. If there is waste, figure out if it can be eliminated before the product or service is committed to. If there are toxic (by) products, they have to be eliminated (or substituted with non-toxic products), or the product (or service) is a no-go.
  • Manage Products and Packaging Responsibly
    You, your suppliers, and their suppliers need to take 'financial or physical responsibility for all of the products and packaging' produced and figure out how you reduce, reuse, or recycle at every step of the product and service life-cycle.
  • Use Economic Incentives
    Simply put, they work.

Andy, most importantly,

 

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