On Monday, people around the world celebrated Earth Day, a day that honors environmental protection. The state of our environment has become a major concern on everyone's mind in recent years. So much so that many are creating innovative ways to dispose of waste, reuse recyclable materials and lessen their carbon footprint.
Your facility should be no exception. How environmentally friendly a building is can be determined by how much energy is going into the facility and how much waste is going out. One initiative that is easy for any facility to manage is recycling materials like paper, glass, aluminum and plastic. California State Law AB 341 requires that any business that produces a minimum of four cubic yards of solid waste per week to recycle.
Another small effort your facility can make is buying products that do not cause harm to the environment. At OctoClean, we are very conscious of the cleaning products we purchase to do our job. We purchase disinfectants that are approved by the Environment Protection Agency (EPA), for the health and safety of everyone in mind. But equally important is that these products are proven to work effectively. They fight off bio load that can lead to the spread of infections to keep your facility running smoothly.
Taking care of the environment is not only important to us, but to our clients who want to know that the products we use to clean their facilities are safe for humans and animals, and that those same products didn't endanger another's health of safety in the process of development. Our customers are our top priority and making sure that we listen to their questions and provide answers is important.
We know that protecting the environment doesn't start or end with us. That is why we support and work with other companies that share the same values. One of our product suppliers, Waxie Sanitary Supply, has made a commitment to sustainable cleaning and maintenance practices. At a recent Waxie expo, we were introduced to an initiative that works towards zero waste in a presentation given by Director of Channel Marketing and Sustainability Keith Schneringer.
We won't lie. This initiative sounded intimidating. How is it possible to not create any trash at all? Zero waste is defined as diverting 90% of waste from landfills, which have a finite amount of space. When a landfill reaches its full capacity, a new landfill must be built. But who wants to live by a landfill? These landfills are then created in remote locations that require garbage collectors to travel long distances, which equal more gas and resources that are wasted away into the atmosphere and contribute to our carbon footprint.
The only way zero waste is possible is if we reuse all our resources through waste diversion. Waste diversion is defined by the EPA as “the prevention and reduction of generated waste through source reduction, recycling, reuse and composting." Waste diversion initiatives have many benefits, like energy conservation, reducing disposal costs and eliminating the need for new landfills. Most trash that ends up in landfills is organic matter like food waste, coffee grounds, landscape waste and paper. Organic matter can be broken down and repurposed into soil through composting, a necessity that is required to achieve zero waste. In fact, another California state law, AB 1826, requires that any business that produces eight cubic yards of organic waste per week have a way to divert their food waste.
Have you thought of ways to make your facility more environmentally friendly? Although we go to the effort of make these initiatives work, there is still more that we can do. I'm sure that you would agree that your facility can also do more. The truth is that there is still more that everyone can do, but it is going to take a community of us to accomplish it.
We need to think not only of the health of our businesses, but the health of the community. The only way a zero waste initiative will work is if businesses and city officials come together to make it work because monitoring our waste will take a community of people.
We can all do our part by participating in source and packaging reduction, recycling anything that meets requirements, composting organic materials and using items that have been made with recycled materials. This is called "closing the circle" and breaking a cycle of creating more waste than necessary.
Equally important to maintaining a clean and healthy facility is making sure that your facility contributes to a clean and healthy environment. A simple way to get started is by having the appropriate bins correctly labeled and available to everyone in your facility. The benefits of environmental sustainability and waste diversion are endless not only for your facility, but our local communities.