The first step in any waste minimization program should be to perform a Waste Inventory... the foundation of any waste minimization planning.
What a Waste Inventory does:
Gives you visibility on your most significant wastestreams
Puts measurements behind those wastestreams (so you can accurately calculate savings and set priorities in the next step)
Eliminates guessing. You have good numbers you can use to get management buy-in for your program.
Provides a clear, easy to read format for sharing internally or sending to recycling vendors to get bids.
Without segregating and measuring wastes, there is no way for a facility to know what potential scrap values might be, or what each waste currently costs in terms of disposal. An Inventory gives you all of the measurements you need to be able to go to management with conviction as to how much a waste minimization effort can save your facility every year.
After some effort, we have a fully-functioning, robust waste inventory and minimization savings calculator! The fully functional Beta calculator is attached at the bottom of this post for download (Excel), along with one that is partially filled with sample data ("WITH SAMPLE DATA...xlsx")
As we were testing this with real test data, it took earlier "thumbnail" waste min/recycling program savings calculations from $26,000 to $107,000 because it was able to accurately calculate rental fees and dumpster fills based on EPA-standard waste densities. Unless you're dumpstering something very heavy like concrete or baled cardboard, chances are you're filling dumpsters by volume long before you hit maximum weight.
Having accurate savings numbers is essential to getting buy-in and budget for a new waste min program, and we wanted to create the first full-functioned program to help you do just that. Even for existing waste min programs, you might see savings you...
A Founding Member, ICGreen, was in the post titled "Damaged Goods" about the psychology of recycling programs and mentioned that he couldn't find "goes to landfill" stickers to apply to garbage cans... one of the Best Practices for recycling programs. Bummer.
Well, I thought we could solve that problem, so I whipped up the design below and got with our decal supplier. They're super-adhesive vinyl, 4"x10", really nice quality.
Here's how you can get your FREE wastemin.com Trash Can Decals: 1) Sign up as a Wastemin.com Member, if you aren't already (takes about 30 seconds, the "Log In/Sign Up" is at the top right of every page... little blue tab)
2) Send me (Andy) a message with how many you would like, and where you would like them sent... my email is
Extra credit: Post a pic of your proudly labelled can! (trash can, that is)...
I posted the full infographic below, attached a "print friendly" .pdf, and the next post is a full-text version so it will show up on search. It's all the same research/findings. Please feel free to share (linking this page would be much appreciated) and comment! We're always looking for new research ideas, so fire away.
**Feb 17, 2014: We have seen a change in the safety ratings of one of the leading degreasers, which may signal a formula change, though the MSDS is dated as before our testing. We are currently looking into the change and will update the safety data as soon as we have findings.