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The text on this page is based on a transcription of an Waste Minimization Webinar given by industry expert Brian Boissoneault. This script addresses everything from plan creation to implementation and reporting. This blog post is an exerpt of the script focused on what waste minimizaion means and who it applies to. For a complete transcription as well as a printable option, click on the link at the bottom of the page.

What Does Waste Minimization Mean?

A couple of quick disclaimers for the purpose of this discussion, waste minimization for me equals the 3 R’s: Reduce, Reuse and Recycle. All of this is really intended to help you put together a better and more successful sustainability report.

Frankly, there is no silver bullet. We are not going to be able to discuss the one thing you can do today to minimize your waste more. We’re looking at providing a template on how to go through an exercise and be sure that you’ve done all that you can do.

Who Is Waste Minimization For?

The big question today and hopefully we have some of these folks on the line, is really who is this for? We want to list out some of these people on the swimming lanes that they operated and how they can help waste minimization practices.
The first is Environmental Managers. They are almost always the go-to person. These folks generally are the ones that are responsible for vetting the environmental compliance or even starting the exercise within an organization.

Your Production Managers. These folks are generally those who are responsible for or manage the budget for production including waste disposal and therefore, they’re probably most keenly interested in reducing waste more than anyone.

Purchasing Managers, we all know what they do. They are looking to save every penny they can for the company. And Senior Leadership, I’m probably going to make this point 3 or 4 times, I think is the most important person or important role in a waste minimization exercise. They are the folks, the visionaries, who not only identify a path for a company but when they are actively engaged in that path, it really drives participation from all levels of the company.

Why Everyone Should Be In the Loop

So, couple of things you might be thinking. These are statements that I've heard several times in the past. Oftentimes people think they've gone through waste minimization exercise and they've gotten as far as they can in that process, saying that there is really no better option. Some folks have tried waste minimization and found that the recycling or reduction opportunities that they have vetted are more expensive than maybe the landfill option that.

A lot of times, I hear the companies are, say that they are into waste minimization and they'd like you to be part of their sustainability portfolio however, they don't necessarily dedicate the resources to accomplish those goals. That's a very, very common statement.

In fact, what most of you probably have experienced in your career. Some support functions within an organization, EH&S being one of those, don’t necessarily always get as much funding both in time and cash as maybe, production people in front-facing functions of a company.

Along with some of the statements in the last slide, there are some misconceptions. Some of those are similar. Many people think that waste minimization is the responsibility for the EHS folks. Really, I think this is the responsibility of an entire organization. It starts at product engineering and really even concept all the way through waste disposal and again, I think the second time now I'm going to point out, that I think senior leadership has maybe the biggest role.

Some people, again, are talking about that they've already completed their waste minimization goals and to those folks I say, well first I ask, do you belong to a continuous improvement organization? Something like a Six Sigma and if you do, this statement can't really be true because the goal is always to be developing a better opportunities. Something to the effect of more is never enough which is something I'm sure we've all heard.

And finally, again, waste minimization and recycling are expensive. That's an interesting concept because that go a little bit on to this slide with it. A lot of people don't really know what their disposal program cost. There's obviously things such as the disposal cost and the transportation, taxes and insurance, labor, both in-house and external resources, training of internal resources, supplies and storage. Certainly warehouse storage is always at a premium and if that's being used for a cost category versus a revenue category, that can be burdensome.

And these are really just some of the cost. These are also very similar cost to a recycling option per se and when you're comparing the cost of 2, I think it's important that you really look into the total cost of ownership versus just a certain one item or two to really vet and understand whether this option is really good for your team.

So today, I've broke down the 3 bullet points of what we're going to learn. For a complete transcript of this webinar look in the link below.

View Transcript