Operations: Waste

We know that the environmental impacts from our direct operations are much smaller than the impacts from our products, but that doesn’t mean that we aren’t committed to doing what we can to address our operational footprint. It is important to us that we not only take a comprehensive approach to sustainability, but it is also critical that we espouse the values we promote through our brand.

Waste

Eco-Products Waste Diversion rates. How we sort waste at HQ.

As a company that helps other organizations realize Zero Waste, we felt setting a goal to get there ourselves would not only demonstrate that we walk the talk, it would also help us better understand our customers’ efforts.

In 2014, we acted upon the opportunities identified in our 2013 waste audit. We began to collect plastic films for recycling. These are not accepted in our single-stream recycling service, so we make a run to Eco-Cycle’s Center for Hard to Recycle Materials when our container gets full. Now items such as zip lock bags and bubble wrap are being diverted from the landfill.

We also improved our materials collection system. In addition to dedicating more space to composting and improving our signage, we added a “Not Sure” box. Eco-Patriots (i.e., Eco-Products employees) put items in this box if they aren’t sure whether something should be composted, recycled, or go to the landfill. Our Sustainability Maven then confirms and shares the correct answer to increase our collective awareness. We get it – waste diversion is not easy. We are not immune to that.

Our 2013 waste audit indicated we diverted 70% of our materials from the landfill. We conducted another audit in 2014, showing we diverted about 80% of our materials. One more 10% jump and we will have met our goal! We plan on doing another audit in 2015³ to continue to monitor our progress. For more information on our waste audits, check out our video on our YouTube channel

³Note that while we capture annual data on composting, recycling, and landfill materials from our haulers, our waste diversion goal is based on data collected from waste audits. Our haulers do not have scales on their trucks to accurately weigh our materials. The data we receive from them is based on rough estimates that do not provide as accurate an assessment as a true waste audit. We partner with Eco-Cycle to conduct our waste audits and have found them extremely valuable.


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2014 Goals:

  • Achieve a net zero electricity HQUntil we get there, invest in high quality offsets to balance our emissions.
  • Increase HQ waste diversion to 90% by 2017.
  • Reduce HQ water consumption by 10% by 2017; restore the balance every year through high quality water restoration certificates.
  • New policy: Eco-Products employees will rent only economy or compact cars when local driving is involved. When highway or group travel is involved, employees may rent up to a midsize at their discretion.
  • Each sales department staff will hold at least one virtual meeting, which they would otherwise fly to.

2015 Goals:

  • Achieve a net zero electricity HQ. Until we get there, invest in high quality offsets to balance our emissions.
  • Increase HQ waste diversion to 90% by 2017.
  • Reduce HQ water consumption by 10% by 2017; restore the balance every year through high quality water restoration certificates.
  • Decrease our total miles flown per $1,000 of sales by 5% relative to 2014 travel
  • Each sales department staff will hold at least one virtual meeting, which they would otherwise fly to.