Commercial Strategies for a
Zero Waste Management Program
5 Key Commercial Zero Waste And Recycling Strategies
Waste Auditing and Impact Reporting
Capturing and tracking accurate data allows your business to display a clear picture of how waste minimization programs are performing. It also employs a system of proven practices and innovative ideas that keep your program on the correct path.
Understand Your Company's Baseline
Without quality data, a company's environmental impact could be larger than expected. While decreasing that impact is the constant goal, to get there you must first gather baseline measurements to determine areas compatible with waste reduction. This is done by completing an annual materials audit to study the volume and composition of your business waste stream. With this evidential backing and reporting, the program can be improved upon year-on-year.
Without useful data, you cannot visualize or track the waste stream's performance or:
Track environmental & operational savings
"Right-size" hauling contracts for specific business needs
Identify financial or environmental gaps
Properly plan & develop waste diversion projects
Capture more support from stakeholders
Boost employee engagement & participation
Grow your program
What's Your Green Story?
Green storytelling as a marketing strategy
Green storytelling is a way to visually or audibly compel your consumer base with calls to action. Building a powerful narrative that demonstrates "business for good" can deepen customer loyalty and drive consumers to make changes in their every day lives.
The benefits of captivating storytelling is that the audience hears the message, relates to the message, and takes action because of the message. Don’t get caught in the trap of implementing green programs that won’t translate to consumers, employees, and shareholders.
Green storytelling is an impactful way to reach those among your consumer base who resonate with environmental stewardship. Marketing in this way must be authentic to the company's actual operational values and consider social sensitivities. Customers who feel heard and valued by their favorite companies often develop an affinity that can influence brand awareness among their friends, family, and coworkers.
Simplify the Story
Telling the stories behind how your company's green leadership came about can inspire for generations. Highlighting departmental efficiencies, "green team" employees, and community outreach and volunteer programs deepens the connection with product buyers.
Gauge Management and Staff Buy-In
Interviewing management and staff is an excellent strategy to measure buy-in for waste reduction programs. This will help you gain insights and understand how well these programs will be received and whether management and staff will champion its purpose and benefits.
Employee interviews can help simplify any confusing program messaging, identify those willing to take ownership to ensure success, and provide an outlet to elict new ideas for innovation and expansion.
Planning the steps needed to meet an environmental goal requires standardized policy structure and rules that align with industry best practices.
A goal should be visionary and inspiring, yet friendly and approachable. When given company-wide sustainability goals and small steps to be taken each day or week to achieve those goals, workers tend to identify themselves and empower each other as being part of the solution. They can be especially helpful when purpose and fulfillment are tied to the daily or weekly actions the company is asking them to take for the greater good.
Roles and Responsibilities
Many times, employees may not participate in a program, such as recycling and composting, when they don’t feel properly trained. By crafting policies and rules that clearly define internal Zero Waste projects, responsibilities, goals, and resources to achieve those goals, workers build up their confidence in using the program correctly and feel justification in advocating for peers to do the same.
Follow best practices when tracking waste diversion data and use it to show gains and losses. Relaying this valuable data is an opportunity to make improvements, boost positive staff morale, and drive focus where changes are needed.
Landfill waste reduction is an improvement in business operational efficiency. Creating annual budget allowances ensure cost saving waste diversion programs can continue is essential to optimization. Budgets for these types of programs can be justified when useful data tracking shows cost savings from actual volume reduction, having “right-sized” hauler contracts, and increases in recycling participation rates.
Review and Re-evaluate
Like any good plan, benchmarks and deadlines may change and having fluidity built into program implementation is key. As your program grows and progresses forward, you will need to review and reevaluate to make necessary adjustments. This is not a negative, but a positive as you fine-tune your strategy to meet your sustainability goals.
Zero Waste Training for Employees and Janitorial Staff
Zero waste training can be challenging to implement for many reasons. We find that business owners either don’t know where to begin, have good intentions, but are too overwhelmed with daily operations, or worse, already have a program in place with no funding or mechanism for enforcement.
You may not know where to find the right resources and information to implement an effective program that is sustainable over the long term or that gains buy-in from employees.
Zero waste training empowers employees to learn about local waste diversion resources and can make them more confident in their own waste management decisions. In turn, this collective approach can move your company toward its Zero Waste goal more quickly.
Our online training program includes:
Zero Waste 101 - Learn the fundamentals of Zero Waste and industry terminology, best practices, and benefits
Employee Engagement - Make materials management fun and engaging for employee buy-in and program ownership
Green Marketing - Learn cost-saving food waste reduction techniques and how the federal Good Samaritan Act legally protects food businesses and issues tax benefits