Zero Waste and Extended Producer Responsibility

The process of implementing an effective waste management and diversion program can oftentimes be confusing for many companies. While it may seem confusing and there may even be challenges to overcome, it is still vital that companies take the steps necessary to implement such programs. Not only are such initiatives the right thing to do in terms of protecting the environment, but many companies that do institute such programs frequently find that they are able to work more efficiently while also improving their bottom lines.

Two of the most common terms used today in regards to effective waste management and diversion are zero waste and extended producer responsibility. While these two initiatives refer to different elements, they also go hand in hand, so it is important to understand how they relate to one another. Zero waste refers to the goal of producing as little waste as possible from products. Ideally, products should be designed to ensure that they can be reused or recycled into other products when they have reached the end of their usable life, rather than simply being thrown out as trash, as was common in the past.

Extended producer responsibility refers to the concept that ultimately, the companies that produce packaging and products have the responsibility of making certain that those products are managed in a proper manner when they reach the end of their life cycle.

Both extended producer responsibility and zero waste are vital to creating opportunities in which waste can be eliminated. By being open to zero waste and extended producer responsibility initiatives, companies can play an important role in helping the environment while also improving their own economic performance. Such savings can be created through savings in terms of less demand for raw materials, lower energy costs and even using fewer toxic substances. Companies also frequently find that these approaches result in the creation of less packaging that must ultimately be managed.

If your company is currently struggling with a zero waste management approach but would like to learn more about steps that can be taken to positively impact the environment, consulting with an experienced waste management consulting firm can often serve as the first step in establishing positive change.

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