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What is "Zero Waste to Landfill" and How Can it Affect My Business?

What is "Zero Waste to Landfill" and How Can it Affect My Business?

For most people, trash simply vanishes after it is put into the collection bin. Even those who sort their recycling and take steps to cut down on their trash may not be aware of where their waste spends its final days. Of all the solid waste produced by people, over half of it will end up sitting in a landfill even though a significant percentage of it could be recycled or discarded in a more sustainable way. The Puente Hills landfill, the largest in the country, accepts over 20,000 tons of garbage each week. We discuss the potential hazards of continued dumping into landfills, the important role that businesses have in reducing the amount of waste sent to landfills and how companies can become certified for minimizing their contribution to landfills.

The Landfill Problem

The obvious problem with stuffing our trash into the planet is that trash inside a landfill does not rest quietly. The collection of festering waste produces a bevy of activity that can pollute nearby ecosystems or even create their own in the case of massive landfills like Puente Hills. The landfill problem has even inspired some astounding media that highlights the issue, such as the animated film WALL-E by Pixar® that features monstrous towers of trash that may be descendants of those like Mount Rumpke in Ohio.

To combat the problem of surging piles of trash overtaking neighborhoods, there is a growing movement for businesses (arguably those in the best position to reduce waste), to commit to sending zero waste to landfills (ZWTL).

The Zero Waste to Landfill Certification

To combat the problem of surging piles of trash overtaking neighborhoods, there is a growing movement for businesses (arguably those in the best position to reduce waste), to commit to sending zero waste to landfills (ZWTL). Alternative disposal methods like sending as much as possible to the recycling center will contribute to ZWTL. Currently, some independent firms such as the Underwriters Laboratory and NSF International offer verification of ZWTL claims. While there are no outside incentives, companies that dedicate to earning a ZWTL frequently find themselves saving immensely on their waste disposal bills.

What It's Not

The most important distinction to make here is that "Zero Waste to Landfill" does not mean "Zero Waste." While it is an ideal goal to one day create no waste in the process of doing business, even the most deserving recipient of a ZWTL certification is likely to struggle in bridging the gap between the two honors. It is also not immune from sneaky attempts by companies to game the system to receive the certification without actually reducing their impact on the environment, most notably by switching to incineration for a majority of solid waste disposal.

Every Step towards Sustainability Benefits Us All

With the aid of waste and recycling specialists like Central Kentucky Fiber Resources, LLC and the oversight of an independent review board, your company can take steps towards saving dollars and the neighborhood that keeps you in business. With your support, a ZWTL certification may one day be used as a way to reward environmentally conscious businesses through additional incentives. For more information on how you can shift your business to a more green way of handling trash, give Central Kentucky Fiber Resources a call today.

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