Waste not: big business sustainability efforts

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Waste will now be addressed more comprehensively in LEED certification systems, a significant step for zero waste initiatives. With this announcement by the Green Business Certification, Inc. it is clear that waste reduction is now being looked at far more strategically than in the past.

Positive environmental outcomes and the potential for large cost savings has Fortune 100 board rooms buzzing about the benefits of a zero waste strategy. However, talking about a strategy and successfully implementing a strategy are two very different things. The time for corporations to develop and execute waste reduction strategies is now, but many corporations are facing the same question – how?

Since joining the U.S. Zero Waste Business Council, I have learned that many businesses are setting zero waste goals, but have no idea how intense it is to pursue and optimize a waste program. Subject matter experts armed with waste industry insights and analytics are critical for businesses to set and attain their waste reduction goals.

On average, Fortune 100 companies spend nearly $50 million a year on waste handling and disposal costs alone. With expert guidance, cutting waste generation by 25 percent is a very attainable goal—one that I personally recommend as a starting point—and can result in millions of dollars of savings.

While corporations are putting their waste strategies into motion, the waste and recycling industries are forced to shift theirs. The predicament lies in that corporations are asking the waste and recycling companies for zero waste services, but the waste industry cost structure promotes landfilling over recycling and composting services. In the end, waste and recycling companies must be proponents of zero waste practices (although not as lucrative) in order to keep up with shifting corporate demands.

Adapted from Resource Recycling’s article “The Call from Corporate America”, written be Ana Wyssmann.


anawyssman1_5x7x72dpiAna Wyssmann, a senior strategic waste solutions program manager with JLL, serves on the board of the U.S. Zero Waste Business Council. Contact her at ana.wyssmann@am.jll.com.

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