Waste reduction is more than just recycling cans and bottles. It’s a way of thinking about all materials, operations, and contracts that directly or indirectly result in the solid waste disposal fees now draining revenues from your enterprise. From this page you’ll learn about:
- Steps to Developing a Good Waste Reduction Plan
- Using Savings to Finance Your Plan
- Implementing Your Plan
- Environmental Management System Planning Examples
Steps to Developing a Good Waste Reduction Plan
Waste is a form of inefficiency. Developing a waste reduction plan provides an opportunity to redesign processes to create less waste and thereby increase efficiency. It is also a chance to renegotiate contracts with suppliers and subcontractors to take back or reduce the wastes for which you now pay to dispose. “Greening” your business and lowering costs also gives potential customers a good reason to choose your facility over your competitors. CalRecycle’s Solid Waste Reduction Guide for Venues and Special Events is a step-by-step guide to assist venue and event owner/operators plan and implement a waste reduction program.
Some basic steps in developing a good waste reduction plan are outlined below.
- Policy. Planning for waste reduction starts at the top. A visible commitment from your venue or event and well-defined plan are the keys to implementing a successful waste reduction plan. Adopt a waste reduction policy. Examples of policies:
- Environmental Policies for Business
- IBM corporate policy on environmental affairs
- Hewlett-Packard’s environmental policy
Industry groups and associations have developed model voluntary planning guidelines for waste reduction and environmental programs. They include:
- National Ski Areas Association “Sustainable Slopes“
- Golf Course Superintendent Association of America (GCSAA)–Sample environmental policies and objectives
- Cruise Lines International Association (CLIA)–Waste Management
- California Coastal Commission–The California Clean Marina Toolkit, a resource for Environmentally sound Marina Management and OperationPDF download
- Goal. Commit to a specific waste reduction goal. For ideas, see Encouraging Top Management to Support Waste Reduction Efforts.
- Plan. Develop an action plan. The following are resources to assist you in developing a waste reduction plan:
- Sample waste prevention action plan published by CalRecycle.
- Single-Serve Recycling Tool Kit. Offered by the National Association of PET Container Resources (NAPCOR), a plastic bottle industry group, this is a free how-to guide on starting or expanding a plastic beverage bottle collection and recycling program at a venue or event.
- Information. Manage and track information such as regular reports on tonnage amounts, program costs, and savings.
- Staff. Assign and train staff. Designate roles and responsibilities of the waste diversion staff team, provide a training schedule, and staff motivational tools.
- Analyze. Perform a waste analysis to identify recyclable materials and current waste collection practices.
- Space. Designate spaces on the property to be used for collecting all recyclable materials generated on the premises. The Recycling Space Allocation Guide was developed to assist local agencies in developing recycling space allocation ordinances and includes sample provisions of several ordinances passed or proposed by local agencies. A model ordinance is included as an appendix.
- Handling. Identify how recyclable materials will be handled (e.g., on-site collection and processing, off-site transport).
- Reduce. Identify opportunities for waste reduction through reuse of materials and conscientious purchasing. See the CalRecycle publication: Waste Reduction Through Business Purchasing.
- Budget. Budget financial resources and develop a timeline for implementation.
- Evaluate. Periodically evaluate your programs and modify your plan as needed. Track your program using CalRecycle’s suggested data sheet. Owners/operators should return the completed data sheet as requested by their local jurisdiction.
Using Savings to Implement Your Plan
Developing a waste reduction plan is only one of two plans that need to be developed and implemented at the same time. As with any great ideas, financial considerations must be addressed, as well, in order to be successful in the program implementation.
Perhaps the simplest place to get funds for your waste reduction and recycling program is from your existing budget for solid waste disposal and other expenses. You may wish to review eight reasons why smart venue facility and special event managers provide funding for waste reduction and recycling programs. You can use these points of discussion to show your finance director and other management why a waste reduction and recycling program is a good corporate investment and from where the savings for the project start-up might come.
Implementing Your Plan
General Tools for Implementation
- Green building design and construction.
- Purchasing recycled-content products.
- Staff training.
- Visitor/public education.
- Free waste reduction signage and clip art.
- Policies and guidelines for use with vendors, concessionaires, and other business partners.
Reducing and Recycling Specific Materials
- Computers and electronic waste
- Construction and demolition debris
- Cooking oil and grease
- Food waste
- Food recycling and composting
- Green waste/other organics
- Rerefined oil (Purchasing)
- Used motor oil (Recycling)
Environmental Management System Planning Examples
Some leading companies in the venues and events industry have merged their solid waste planning efforts into a more comprehensive Environmental Management System (EMS) plan that also addresses water, air, and other forms of pollution. On the U.S. EPA Web site you can find out more about EMS. Some examples of EMS plans currently being used in the venues and events industry are:
- The XANTERRA Parks and Resorts Company manages the Silverado Resort and Furnace Creek Ranch Resort in California and has developed an extensive corporate-wide EMS called Ecologix based on the ISO 14001 guidelines and the EPA Code of Environmental Management. Their annual sustainability report includes measures of solid waste reduction and gives examples of actions taken.
- Delaware North Companies’ (DNC) Parks and Resorts Division uses an EMS called GreenPath that is based on ISO 14001 quality standards. The DNC manages Yosemite National Park, Sequoia National Park, the Tenaya Lodge Resort, Asilomar State Conference Grounds, and their corporate reservations site in California.
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