agency, trained the team and supplied
posters, fliers and stickers to raise aware-
ness of the building’s new policies.
Key to this effort was demonstrating
to building custodians that their role
wasn’t to separate recycling from trash,
but to manage a new organization system for collection. Day porters service
the compostable collection containers in
kitchens and conference rooms so that
the night janitors don’t have extra work,
and management recognizes the custodians with quarterly gift certificates. The
results speak for themselves: One Bush
Street achieved a 76% waste diversion
rate, keeping 260 tons of material out of
the landfill each year. Disposal costs have
dropped by over 50%, translating to an
annual savings of $24,000.
In addition to better diversion practic-
es, an emphasis on continual training and
improvement is crucial, adds Aardsma.
Anyone who interacts with the waste
should be educated in safe disposal techniques, including keeping the disposal
area clean, lifting without sustaining a
back injury and packaging certain kinds
of waste to prevent spillage.
“We follow a very pragmatic approach
of investigating and benchmarking cur-
rent waste generation behavior, which
involves understanding what you’re
throwing away, how much is being
thrown away and the best way to get it
from its point of generation to the point
of collection. It’s about handling material
in an efficient manner that protects the
health and safety of folks who are inter-
acting with the materials,” Aardsma says.
“Then at the point of collection, we want
to provide every opportunity to handle
the waste in the most environmentally
friendly way possible, including recog-
recycling and waste reduction.”
Don’t stop improving your waste man-
agement practices after you’ve got cost,
safety and efficiency under control, Valair
urges. Waste generation rates and the
contents of the waste stream can change
over time. Monitoring your organiza-
tion’s output lets you keep an eye on
these trends and adjust your practices or
pickup frequency accordingly.
“Continue to revisit the processes
because things are changing. The
market is changing from a revenue perspective and costs are going up,” Valair
says. “Even if you set up your program
years ago, continue to evaluate your
processes. Take every opportunity
to generate good business practices
throughout your organization.” B
Janelle Penny janelle.penny@buildings.
com is Senior Editor of BUILDINGS.
WASTE MANAGEMENT RESOURCES
Could your waste management procedures use some work? Check out these useful tools.
DEPARTMENT OF THE
This city agency offers a wealth
of information for businesses,
including a Zero Waste Toolkit with
free signage to demonstrate what
belongs in recycling, composting
and garbage containers. Case studies demonstrate how San Francisco
businesses have saved thousands of
dollars by reducing waste.
Already tracking your energy
consumption in the EPA’s ENERGY
STAR Portfolio Manager? You can
track your waste in it too. Once
you’ve got a handle on waste tracking, join the Waste Wise program to
receive formal recognition for your
waste reduction efforts.
OSHA isn’t just a reporting agency –
it also has a number of tools to help
avoid workplace injuries in the first
place. Check out their fact sheets
and recommended procedures to
develop your organization’s protocols for safe lifting, hauling and