Plan Your WasteWise Participation
A well-designed plan for participation will help your organization meet its waste reduction goals and the requirements of WasteWise. Use the recommendations below to create a firm foundation for your waste reduction efforts:
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- Form a Team
- Conduct a Waste Assessment
- Define the Scope for your Participation
- Evaluate Your Options
- Set Goals
- Implement Your Planned Activities
- Work with WasteWise
Download the fact sheet Ten Steps to Being WasteWise (PDF) (2 pp, 146K).
Form a waste reduction team made up of employees responsible for maintaining your waste reduction participation—planning, designing, and implementing activities. By forming a team, employees throughout your organization can share in your waste reduction efforts. The size of your team will depend on the size of your organization and its individual departments/operations.
Participants may be responsible for:
- Working with your organization's management to set short- and long-term waste reduction goals.
- Gathering and analyzing information related to the design and implementation of your planned activities.
- Promoting the program to other employees and educating them on ways to participate.
- Monitoring progress.
- Reporting the status of planned activities to management.
- Reporting the organization's waste reduction efforts annually to WasteWise.
- Suggestions on Forming a Team
- Waste Reduction Team Contacts Form (PDF) (1 pg, 63K). This form will help you collect information about the company and the employees who will be part of your waste reduction team.
A waste assessment or “waste audit” is a systematic review of your facility and its operations to quantify waste generation and identify management practices. Waste assessment data will give your team a much better understanding of the types and amounts of waste your organization generates. A waste assessment:
- Identifies waste generated at your facility and purchasing and management practices.
- Examines current waste reduction practices and assesses their effectiveness.
- Identifies the areas and materials in which waste reduction efforts will be most effective.
- Sets a baseline for measuring future progress of waste reduction efforts.
- Function Areas (PDF) (2 pp, 48K). Key questions to survey product management.
- Waste Assessment Approaches. Three common approaches to conducting a waste assessment; and worksheets to help you perform your waste assessment, analyze your data, and gather the baseline data to submit to WasteWise.
Defining the scope of your participation will focus your waste reduction activities and resources on certain areas of your organization. To determine the scope of your participation, examine your facilities or key operations for waste reduction opportunities, and then choose waste reduction areas on which to focus.
- Selected Goals of WasteWise Partners (PDF) (17 pp, 960K). Examples of goals and results that partners have achieved by pursuing their goals. Use the ideas to help develop and expand your WasteWise goals.
- Common Recyclable Materials (PDF) (6 pp, 80K). A breakdown of commonly recycled products by material. Learn how to separate your recyclables to maximize profit, reduce contamination, and identify hot markets.
- Material Definitions (PDF) (3 pp, 17K). Examples of the types of materials included in WasteWise and definitions for these materials.
Use the results of your waste assessment to choose waste reduction activities. Consider holding a brainstorming session to identify potential waste prevention and recycling activities. List your most promising options and evaluate them in terms of economic and operational feasibility.
When analyzing and selecting your options:
- Focus first on waste prevention, which will help your organization eliminate waste at the source. By avoiding creating waste in the first place, your organization will save natural resources and energy and cut down on your costs.
- Next, evaluate recycling options to manage waste that cannot be prevented. Before collecting recyclable materials, be sure to identify markets for them.
- Finally, examine opportunities to buy or manufacture recycled content products.
- Screening Criteria. Criteria that your organization can use to quickly screen potential waste reduction activities before conducting a detailed evaluation of promising options.
- Economic and Operational Feasibility. Questions to help you determine the feasibility of each waste reduction option that passed your initial screening and a spreadsheet that estimates annual savings and payback period.
Use the results of your waste assessment to identify activities to help you prevent waste, expand recycling, and increase the purchasing/manufacturing of recycled-content products. Set goals that can be tracked and measured.
- Selected Goals of WasteWise Partners (PDF) (17 pp, 960K). Examples of goals and results achieved by partners. Use the ideas to help develop and expand your WasteWise goals.
Once your waste reduction team has set measurable goals, it is time to launch your WasteWise activities. Many successful activities begin with an organization-wide kickoff event that offers your organization’s leaders an opportunity to encourage participation and explain your goals.
- WasteWise Employee Education Tips. Pointers for communicating about your WasteWise program to your employees.
- Waste Prevention Checklist. Simple day-to-day things that employees can do to reduce waste.
- Find a Market for Your Recyclables. Information about types of companies that purchase recyclables and questions to ask potential buyers of recyclables.
- Buy Recycled. The buying recycled component of the WasteWise program helps to close the recycling loop by encouraging the manufacture and purchase of products containing recycled content, thus providing demand for recycled materials.
- WasteWise Industry Sector Resources. Tools and resources to help individual industry sectors enhance their environmental programs.
WasteWise Partners have access to free waste reduction technical assistance. The information specialists at the WasteWise Helpline can help you identify goals, share insights and success stories from other Partners, answer program questions, and provide you with information and resources as you work to meet your goals and report your successes.
- Expert Help The WasteWise Helpline provides personalized assistance to partners and endorsers. The Helpline helps partners enter data and informastion in the data management and reporting system and answers technical assistance questions. Call the WasteWise Helpline at (800) EPA-WISE (372-9473) or e-mail us at firstname.lastname@example.org.