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Winter 2018

 

It's hard to believe that 2019 is almost here.  NYC's ban on single use foam goes into effect on January 1 so make sure you are prepared. 
 

The holidays are full of parties and gifts but it is also one of the biggest times of the year for waste creation.  We have a few tips for you this holiday season to help you have holiday fun while also minimizing waste.  


In this issue we highlight:

  • NYC's foam ban
  • Sustainable holiday cheat sheet
  • Interview with Keep America Beautiful
  • Spotlight: Live Nation and P&G advance their zero waste goals

NYC's Foam Ban

The City’s ban on single-use foam products will go into effect by January 1, 2019.  Read the press release here and our briefing here.    The ban will help reduce the usage of a material that is not recyclable or biodegradable and stays in landfills forever.  This ban will primarily impact food retailers so if you are a food retailer or have food retailers in your buildings please read below and develop your action plan (if you haven't already).  

Businesses have until December 31, 2018 to use their existing foam items and find alternatives. Starting January 1, 2019, businesses can no longer sell, distribute, or use single-use foam items.  

Banned products include single-service items, such as:

  • Cups
  • Bowls
  • Plates
  • Takeout containers
  • Trays
  • Packing peanuts (foam loose fill packaging)

Businesses should use reusable, recyclable, returnable, or refillable containers as an alternative.


Holiday Guide - Enjoy the Season (Environmentally Friendly Tips)
The holiday season is upon us...as you celebrate with your colleagues, family and friends here are a few tips to help you have a low waste holiday season.


Gifting
The holiday season is one of material consumption.  A mantra to keep in mind is Give to people, not to landfills.  We can all think of that one gift (or two, or five) we've received and appreciated but never really got around to using, until it eventually finds its way into a dumpster somewhere (35% of Americans have a gift gathering dust in a closet) . Don't let that be your gift this year! When working through your gift-giving list, ask yourself these questions:

  • Would this person enjoy an experience rather than a material thing? After all, these are the gifts that keep on giving through fond memories of whatever activity you pick out for them.  Options include Tickets, Memberships, Dinner out, Subscriptions, Outdoor adventure, etc.
  • Are there sustainable options that you can choose from?  For example choose items that support a cause, come in recyclable packaging, are made locally, are made from recycled materials or renewable resources.  
  • Does a person on your gift list love a particular consumable item that you could give?  (i.e. chocolates, homemade cookies, fruit basket, etc.)   If buying, make sure you choose products that are packaged in recyclable materials (avoid the plastic, especially the plastic wrap that can not be recycled)
  • Would your friends and family like to do a white elephant exchange where you re-gift from your stash of gifts that you have never used!  It's a fun way to de-clutter.

When wrapping those gifts, think about the fact that wrapping paper is one of the most used item in the waste stream during the holiday season (8,000 tons is used each holiday season).  Reuse old wrapping paper (if you have it saved) or use newspaper, old scarves, or fabric.


Holiday Parties
Holiday parties are the fun part of the holiday season.  If you are hosting a party here are some ideas to incorporate into your planning (share these with friends and family who may be hosting as well)

  • Use reusable plates, cutlery and glassware where possible.  
  • Set up zero waste stations with clear signage to encourage people to dump food into the compost (if available) and rinse and deposit plastic plates, cutlery and glasses into the recycling bin -- in the event that you can not use reusable plates, cutlery and glassware.
  • Encourage adherence to the recycling and composting program by announcing a gold star winner for best recycling or composting behavior!
  • Limit food waste by ordering wisely.  Here is an app to help you order carefully.
  • Donate unused food to a local homeless shelter or use a food rescue organization in your area.  Rescuing Leftover Cuisine is one such organization in NYC.  

Keep America Beautiful

We had the opportunity to interview Keep America Beautiful and learn more about their work to end littering and encouraging recycling in our communities.  They focus on public spaces which are always a challenge to get people to #recycleright.  Read the full article here.


Spotlight: Zero Waste Initiatives

Global concert promoter Live Nation is pushing for improved sustainability at concerts and events. The entertainment company set a goal of achieving zero waste at 20 of its owned and operated amphitheaters by 2020, Waste 360 reported.  Read more here.


Procter & Gamble has reached zero manufacturing waste to landfill at 85% of their sites globally and describes how they did it in a 2018 Citizenship Report. The company started the program a decade ago, and currently aims to achieve 100% by 2020.  Read more here.

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Recent newsletter

Fall 2018

Happy Fall!  We have a newly redesigned website so please come and visit us at www.thinkzerollc.com.   This is where you can find our recently developed waste reduction and diversion policy briefing that highlights legislation at the NY State and City level that might impact your business.    

We have been busy this fall including running the the AIANY's Zero Waste Challenge and moderating a panel at Union Square Partnership's first ever Zero Waste Forum.   Read about the forum here and we highlight the impressive results from the challenge below.   


In this issue we highlight:

  • New Bin Labels:  Bin labels, combined with good recycling signage, are important in increasing recycling and reducing contamination 
  • Q&A with Scholes Street Recycling Center  
  • AIANY's Zero Waste Challenge
  • What we are reading
  • Spotlight: Walmart and Burberry advance their zero waste    

New Bin Signage Available

          

New Think Zero LLC standardized bin labels


We love great labels and signs!  Proper bin labels, combined with clear landfill/incineration signage, containing words and pictures, is the #1 way to improve recycling rates and decrease contamination. That is why we partnered with Recycle Across America to provide our clients with the most recognizable standardized bin labels in the country. The labels feature color-coded backgrounds and clear wording and images depicting accepted items, and have been proven to increase recycling rates by 50%-100%. Contact us to inquire about purchasing labels for your business.

     

Q&A with Scholes Street Recycling Center 


By Allie Molinaro, Associate

Last month the Think Zero LLC team visited the Scholes Street Recycling Center, owned by Mr. T Carting, to get an inside look at paper, cardboard, and plastic sorting and bailing operations. 

Think Zero LLC interviewed Adam Mitchell, Head of Resource Management and Business Development, about current trends and challenges in the recycling industry.   Learn about what happens to contaminated bags, where they send their recyclables and what are trends that are impacting the market today.  Read the full interview here.


AIA New York Zero Waste Challenge

   

This summer Think Zero LLC partnered with the American Institute of Architecture-New York to host a 3-month Zero Waste Challenge. Twenty-seven architectural firms and other organizations competed against each other to reduce and divert as much waste as possible in their offices. 

   

When the challenge finished in early October, the firms had achieved (in aggregate) the following:

  • 6,383 lb reduction in total waste generation per month (10% reduction) 
  • 17,719 lb reduction of refuse (trash) sent to landfill and incineration per month (53% reduction)
  • 11,336 lb increase in monthly diversion (recycling, organics, returned samples etc), a 38% increase
  • 138,397 lb (69 tons) of total waste diverted during the challenge
  • Average diversion rate achieved by all firms over the challenge of 68%, and average diversion rate on final assessment of 76%

For more about the challenge, see our recent press featured in Waste360 and Oculus.


What We are Reading?

   

The Big Pivot: Radically Practical Strategies for a Hotter, Scarcer, and More Open World by Andrew S. Winston

"This book is chock full of inspiring success stories from major companies who used radical innovation to achieve sustainability. If you are unsure about why environmental sustainability is good for business or struggling to make progress with sustainability goals, this is the book for you. This book has concrete tips and strategies for executives in all industries to become radically sustainable while also increasing the bottom line." 

   

The Responsible Company: What We've Learned from Patagonia's First 40 Years by Yvon Chouinard and Vincent Stanley

"This is an oldie but goodie.  If you are looking for some inspiration or just curious about Patagonia's journey this is a good read!" 

   

Spotlight: Zero Waste Initiatives

   

Walmart aims to achieve zero waste in its US, Japan, UK, and Canada operations by 2025. Their strategy mainly focuses on measuring waste, reducing waste from non-food items and packaging, and reducing food waste through donations and partnerships. Read more here.

   

Last month Burberry was named the leading luxury brand in the 2018 Dow Jones Sustainability Index. After consumer pushback, the brand also pledged to stop burning unsold products. Read more here.


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