I am resourceful. Growing up with a great grandmother that lived through the depression and grandparents from a poor Appalachian town, I learned that any material wasted is like throwing away money. Looking at everything as a resource may require some innovation and a new way of thinking, but the outcome will enable us to be more resilient and achieve zero waste. Over the coming months, we’re going to share examples of credits from the TRUE rating system so you can learn more about saving resources by using TRUE as a benchmark.
The goal of TRUE certification is to achieve zero waste by diverting all solid waste from landfills, incineration and the environment. In working toward this goal, facilities and businesses also unlock economic advantages for themselves through more efficient resource use. There are many economic advantages embedded in the strategies of the TRUE rating system that help businesses cut costs and generate revenue. TRUE offers 15 different categories that each focus on maximizing the life cycle of every product to promote a fully circular economy – and save costs for businesses.
One of the benefits of TRUE certification is expedited return on investment (ROI). Unlike investments in major energy and water upgrades, zero waste initiatives have extremely fast payback periods, sometimes seen in your first month. This is because TRUE focuses on internal policies and procedures, more than the installation of new infrastructure or technology. The reality is that if your company is throwing materials into a trash bin, then there are inefficiencies in your system -- you are throwing money away, along with valuable resources.
Here are some of the top cost-saving strategies within the TRUE rating system under the Reduce credit category, which illustrate the potential ROI for facilities pursuing TRUE certification. This TRUE credit category seeks to decrease the amount of waste that is generated in operations, opening up the largest opportunity for cost-saving.
Credit 2: Implement tracking programs to eliminate waste before it occurs
Reducing waste includes cutting down on inefficiencies in operations that can lead to defective products, increased labor costs or new equipment costs.
At their two TRUE Platinum certified facilities, Sierra Nevada Brewing Company implements an Omnivision camera in their bottling department to prevent defective bottles from being filled with their product and creating waste on the production line. This technology cuts packaging waste and enhances quality control for both Sierra Nevada and the bottle manufacturer.
Credit 3: Adopt a goal to reduce the overall size/amount of product packaging
Plastic packaging is the most common type of packaging found in landfills. Avoiding such waste only requires simple adjustments to traditional shipping and packaging systems.
Cisco reworked their entire shipping and packaging system to provide more bulk integrated shipping orders, reusable packaging and the option for customers to opt out of physically delivered products. These actions saved the company $1.6 million dollars and eliminated 1.9 million pounds of packaging waste in a single year.
Credit 4: Go paperless for at least one major office function
Relying on paper for information storage and office communication not only creates an unnecessary amount of waste, but also slows down worker efficiency and incurs large costs in upkeep and manual organization.
An article by Entrepreneur reports that the average office uses 10,000 sheets of paper per year. In addition to the cost of the paper and ink, it takes time and labor costs to file and organize paper, and there are costs for the cabinet and the real estate it takes up.
These three examples show how eliminating unnecessary packaging, paper and defective products, can save employee time and material costs. TRUE provides a better approach to resource use and facility operations. Achieving zero waste is a process and a way of thinking that profoundly changes our approach to materials. With TRUE, your facility can demonstrate to the world what you’re doing to minimize your waste output. If you want to start reducing your waste and saving on operational costs, apply some of these lessons and others from our TRUE certified projects. Download the rating system and our application to get started.