Study Based On 100 Waste Audits Reveal Much About What A Typical Office Throws Out
Did you know, the average commercial office waste stream in the U.S. consists of approximately 77% recyclable and compostable materials, with only about 23% being real “trash.” This revelation comes from a study of 100 commercial waste audits conducted across the country by Great Forest.
77% of what is usually thrown out as trash is NOT trash at all but is 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 held July 2017:
“…every time you throw away recyclables, you throw away jobs and resources.”
Key Takeaway: Waste Audits Are Key
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 just by capturing and effectively dealing with ALL your recyclables, including organics.
- To do this, start with a waste audit. Find out what you really are throwing away. A waste audit will give you the crucial data you need to make informed decisions, including improvements that can be made to your existing waste and recycling program.
- Consider a centralized waste bin system. Companies can reduce what goes into their waste stream by implementing strategic waste management initiatives that improve separation of waste materials. A centralized waste bin system is one of the easiest ways to do that. Download this free white paper to learn more.
- 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
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: