Zero waste or sustainable business practices are increasingly popular. In fact, sustainability as a marketing strategy alone could amount to a market opportunity in the billions of pounds. Not only is there a financial incentive to sustainability and effective waste management, there’s the environmental incentive as well.
So who is doing it best? Who can claim to be the pioneers of zero waste management within business? Here are the top five zero waste management examples for you to draw inspiration from.
1. Sierra Nevada
Sierra Nevada, an American brewing company, are experts when it comes to zero waste management. They’ve been certified as a platinum-level zero waste company by the U.S. Zero Waste Council after achieving 99.8% waste diversion from landfill. Not only that, Sierra Nevada also managed to:
- Save $5,398,470 in disposal costs.
- Avoided 11,812 tons of carbon dioxide emissions.
- Repurposed 150,000lb of leftover hops and barley for local cattle feed.
- Composted 5,000 tonnes of organic waste.
So how do they do so well? Sierra Nevada operates on a zero waste policy that extends throughout the company and is acted on by all employees and stakeholders. "Resource conservation is important to me and I've always felt it's the right way to do business," said Ken Grossman, owner and founder of Sierra Nevada Brewing Co.
"Everyone at Sierra Nevada participates in our Zero Waste efforts and takes pride in what we do. Although we have built a great Zero Waste program, we will continue to look for ways to improve."
For example, their shipping pallets are reused and rebuilt. All employees are given a reusable water bottle. They collect single-sided paper to turn into notepads. On top of that, they also reuse packaging boxes to deliver other merchandise.
Sierra Nevada is a great example of how zero waste policies can be implemented across the entire supply chain. For more information on what they do to reduce their waste, you can explore the interactive maps on their site. Raise a glass!
Ethique is an ethical beauty brand that is waging a war on plastic packaging. It’s a rare thing in the cosmetic world to find a company with little to no plastic in their products, but Ethique can proudly say they’re 100% plastic free.
On their website, they go into more detail about their aversion to plastic, exploring not only it’s polluting ability when discarded, but how much energy and raw materials it takes to make. Did you know that producing 1kg of plastic produces 6kg of CO2?
To get away from the issues of plastic packaging, they use paper packaging instead. This uses no plastic, no laminate and no chlorines. They also recirculate their packaging to reuse again, meaning the water use of the paper packaging is kept to a minimal. With their packaging, there’s no need for landfill - it’s all compostable.
They’re also palm oil-free and source their paper packaging from sustainable forests. Not only that, Ethique are aiming at offsetting 120% of their carbon emissions by the end of 2020.
Everybody knows Google and how useful their services are. For example, you may have googled ‘zero waste companies’ to find this blog, but you may not have known that Google are making inroads in the zero waste world themselves.
Google isn't fully zero waste across their whole company yet, because it’s such a big organisation. But that makes what they have achieved even more impressive. They’ve currently converted six out of fourteen of their data centres to zero waste workplaces.
On top of that, they’ve also been working on how much they recycle and now recycle and reuse 86% of their non-data centre waste. In 2018, their global landfill diversion rate was 87%.
Google can also boast:
- Zero net carbon emissions through their platforms.
- 3.5 million devices and components reused in 2018.
- 6.6 million pounds of food waste prevented.
You can find out more about Google’s environmental commitments here.
4. Seed and Bean
Seed and Bean is a UK-based chocolate maker and their products look delicious. But quality chocolate isn’t the only reason we’ve included them in our zero waste management examples - they’re also very sustainable.
The amazing thing about Seed and Bean chocolate (other than the taste) is that their wrappers are fully compostable. This is very rare for chocolate bars, as wrappers are usually made from a thin plastic called polypropylene. This is used to ensure a high standard of hygiene, but now there are other, more eco-friendly options on the market.
Seed and Bean wrap their bars in an outer paper layer which is fully recyclable and an inner layer which is made from a material known as Natureflex™. This material feels like plastic but is actually a specially-designed cellulose film made from eucalyptus wood pulp. Because this is derived from organic sources, it can actually be composted.
Microsoft, like Google, are a massive company, so whenever they pursue zero waste management policies, you know it’s going to be impressive. They’ve discovered that the efficient management of their waste and power consumption isn’t just environmentally friendly - it’s also economically beneficial.
The first impressive feat they’ve managed to achieve is to keep 90% of their waste out of landfills. They achieve this through a number of means, most of which are focused on their onsite eateries:
- All food arrives in compostable packaging.
- Vegetables are grown in on-site hydroponic farms.
- Thousands of gallons of frying oil are converted into biodiesel.
- They recycle or compost 87% of their waste.
They were the first technology-based company to have a facility awarded with a zero waste certification by the U.S. Green Building Council. On the economic side of things, they were able to achieve a 27% decrease in power consumed, through the creation of an efficient power usage system.
The journey to zero waste management is a lot simpler than you may think, it just requires effort, determination and the right waste management partner. If you’d like to see another real-life example of effective waste management, download our case study.
Explore Sustainable Waste Management in Practise
In this case study, we collaborated with one of the UK’s leading auction house networks to reduce their waste. By auditing their waste streams and onboarding some of our efficient waste management machinery, we were able to help them create an incredibly efficient waste management policy.
Click on the banner below for your copy.