What is in your trash? A Great Forest study based on 100 commercial waste audits revealed that 77% of what is usually thrown out as trash is NOT trash at all but recyclable materials. The bulk of the 77% of recyclables was made up of organics (34%), followed by paper (23%), glass/metal/plastic (19%), and e-waste (1%).
This means that in a typical business, only 23% of what is being thrown out is actually trash (ie: non-recyclable materials). Not only are many businesses losing 77% of the recyclable commodities they are discarding in the trash, but they may also be paying more for waste removal than they should. That is a lot of lost value.
Stephanie Barger of the U.S. Zero Waste Business Council put it best when she said this during a panel at the inaugural NYC Food Waste Fair:
“…every time you throw away recyclables, you throw away jobs and resources.”
A key takeaway: waste audits are important
So how much trash is in your trash? How much value are you losing? The only way to find out is to conduct a waste audit.
Various businesses that shared their experiences during panels at the NYC Food Waste Fair agreed about the importance of tracking and analyzing waste [read our new waste audit case study].
- Etsy reported that they do waste audits on a daily basis
- Dr. Nadereh Afsharmanesh of Earth Friendly Products told the audience that she personally looks in the company’s dumpster each week after discovering that 60% of what was in their trash were recyclables.
- Sodexo is reportedly conducting waste trainings to teach select staff how to do waste audits.
What does this mean for you?
The answer is simple. You can make a BIG impact. By effectively dealing with ALL your recyclables, including organics, you can:
- Reduce trash by as much as 77% with improved organics and recycling separation
- Be a leader in the global Zero Waste movement
- Enhance your environmental profile to staff, clients and stakeholders
- Achieve your sustainability goals
- Save money by reducing trash removal costs, avoiding fines, and improving operational efficiency
To do this, start with a waste audit.
Learn more about waste audits:
- Case Study: Waste Audits Uncover Sizable Revenue Stream For Global Brand
- Waste Audits: What Are They, Why They Are Important
Learn more about addressing your organics: