This Week In Zero Waste (Earth Day 2017!)

In this segment I like to highlight some of the news, articles, videos, reports etc I’ve come across that deal with the material challenges facing businesses, particularly efforts to eliminate waste. Enjoy, and happy Earth Day!!


Lawrence Black (senior advisor to the Waste Management-McDonough Sustainable Innovation Collaborative, a partnership formed in 2013 to improve the recyclability of packaging and products) will be speaking at the Environmental Leader Conference in Denver June 5-7, 2017. His workshop, Circular Economies – Extracting Maximum Value Out of Resources. Here's a great little interview with him by Environmental Leader where they discuss the Circular Economy.


Philadelphia is considering a new bill, which would:

"Where the estimated cost of construction, demolition, or alteration is in excess of $10,000.00, the applicant for a building permit must, within ten business days, submit to the City of Philadelphia Recycling Office, or a department to be determined by the Mayor, a copy of the building permit application along with a waste collection plan detailing the project description, waste management goals, expected project waste material(s), method(s) of waste disposal, handling procedures, the name(s) of every waste removal company hired to remove and dispose of waste materials, and any other information required by the City of Philadelphia Recycling Office or department determined by the Mayor. A copy of the waste collection plan must be distributed to all subcontractors working on the project. Failure to comply with this requirement shall result in the immediate revocation of the building permit."

This would connect the renovation permitting and waste disposal together, aimed at preventing illegal dumping of these materials.


Addressing the generation of waste products in the supply chain is crucial to achieving Zero Waste and lowering disposal costs.

The Reusable Packaging Association (RPA) hosted the Reusable Packaging Pavilion at the ProMat show in early April. One of the online presentations that caught my eye is the Labeling Standard for Reusable Plastic Containers (RPCs), presented by Paul Pederson, Polymer Logistics. The labeling of reusable plastic containers for perishable food applications require specific materials and processes to meet regulatory, customer and container sanitation requirements. Afterall, as Paul says, "they are not seen as packaging material, they are seen as equipment". In 2016 RPA members developed a revised set of specifications and a recommended vendor list for RPC labeling to improve performance and consistency. This session outlines the updated RPC labeling standard and offers guidance to the industry to achieve compliance and best practices.

View the session presentation here.

And while we're on the subject check out the RPA Guidelines and Best Practices for the Safe Use of Returnable Containers in Food Supply Chains, and some valuable FAQ's here.

Some of the other presentations available include:

GreenOx produces cardboard pallets. Some are even USDA Bio-Preferred Certified!

What impresses me most about their products is that you can right size the pallet. That's right! You can actually order custom sized pallets so you can get more pallets on a truck that fit your units better. Check out their Green Ox and Box product.

If this interests you, check out this doc:

Sustainable Corrugated Pallets - Change the PalletAbout the USDA Bio-Preferred Program


Another interesting reusable cardboard packaging solution comes from Globe Guard Products.

As an effective and eco-friendly alternative to tape or other adhesive, bands or staples, the Reusable Box Sealer makes every box a reusable box. It slips on between the two main (larger) flaps of an RSC style box, temporarily holding them in a closed position for storage or other uses until the need to reopen. 

Not only does the reduction or elimination of tape and other materials mean big bottom line savings, it also results in a box that will have not undergone the damage and destruction typical of these sealing materials, meaning a higher probability the box will be reused, extending the life of the box. It also allows for the saving of both time and labor, not only in the sealing process, but also in avoiding the use of knives or cutters to reopen.

The Globe Guard Reusable Box Sealer is available through Globe Guard Products


Continuing on the theme of reusable and right sizing, SSI SCHAEFER has release a versatile reusable bulk container, the GlobalStac™ Bulk Container. The company say's:
"After completing an analysis of many containers in the market today made throughout the world, we found that existing bulk containers optimize cube utilization in either a sea container or a tractor trailer but not both.In steps the GlobalStac™ Bulk Container, It's "the one container for all applications – worldwide"."


Simply Cups is experiencing some success with it's cup recycling program in the UK!!


The infamous Zero Waste Golf Course is still chugging along. I first interviewed Josh back in 2011. Check out the most recent article about Josh's efforts here.


On the consumer side, it looks like reusable beverage containers are expected to grow about 4.5% between 2017-2025, according to recent research. This includes brands such as Camelbak, Klean Kanteen, Contigo, Sigg and includes materials as Polymers, Metal, Glass and Silicone.


Zero Waste Stores are popping up!!!

Zero Waste Grocery Store in Croatia

Zero Waste Grocery Store in Ottawa Canada

Package Free, the zero-waste pop-up store is coming to New York City this spring. It’s the innovative brainchild of Lauren Singer, of Trash is for Tossers fame, and Daniel Silverstein, a.k.a Zero Waste Daniel, a fashion designer who uses discarded textiles to create his funky clothing line.

Austin, TX eggs on residents to install chicken coops in latest diversion effort


After HQ Scores LBC Certification, Etsy Shares Software to Monitor Building Waste Streams

More info:

Sustainable, smart stadium coming to ASU in 2018

From the article:
Alana Levine, assistant director of Arizona Recycling Coalition and creator of ASU's Zero Waste Initiative said she hopes to bring a sustainable and convenient system to the stadium, helping fans keep the games waste free. Levine said fans and spectators alike can expect to minimize their environmental impact while partaking in typical game day rituals like buying concessions.

“We’ve really invested in the fan experience around zero waste, probably the most visible thing is all the new bins in the stadium," Levine said. "These bins only accept recycling and organics, you won’t see regular trash cans in the stadium."

ASU sports fans have a lot to look forward to for the fall 2018 season with the opening of the newly renovated Sun Devil Stadium in Tempe. In partnership with both Intel and the ASU Zero Waste Department, new technology and sustainability innovations will make way for an a redesigned fan experience.