Business Brains

Less than zero: Time for some new math when it comes to corporate recycling programs

Posting in Environment

Even if your company has been smart enough to be on top of recycling strategy, you're not done. Now people are talking about the "zero waste" movement.

Just when you thought you had figured out how to dispose of all that food and recycle all those plastic utensils from your corporate cafeteria, there's a new movement afoot that is raising the bar on what's good enough.

This story from the New York Times explains what's being called the "zero waste" movement -- a philosophy that seeks not only to dispose responsibly of the waste that commercial enterprises create BUT ALSO to drastically reduce the amount of waste. In other words, it's not simply good enough to recycle all that paper that employees misprint, companies need to do more to dramatically cut back on what's in those recycling bins. They need to create less garbage, period.

Two examples from the article: Automaker Honda now recycles so much of the trash created at eight of its North American facilities that it has gotten rid of the trash dumpsters at those sites. At Yellowstone National Park, concessions now use cups and utensils that dissolve when heated. (Notice, I said heated not burned.)

You really ought to read this article, because even if your company has been smart enough to be on top of recycling, you're not done.

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Heather Clancy

Section Editor

Heather Clancy has written for United Press International, ZDNet, Entrepreneur, Fortune Small Business, the International Herald Tribune and the New York Times. She holds a degree from McGill University. She is based in New Jersey. Follow her on Twitter. Disclosure