In Hamilton County, Ohio, a mountain rises 1,075 feet above sea level. It’s known to locals at Mount Rumpke, and it’s the highest point in the county. But this is no ordinary mountain. It’s a landfill, a mountain made of trash. It’s a monument—or maybe eyesore is a better description—to a bulging problem: we’re simply discarding too much waste. Waste that could be used to create new products. Waste that could save corporations and consumers nearly 2.5 trillion dollars in lost value.
The pressure to reduce the mountains of trash we throw out has never been greater. Worldwide, over 3.5 million solid tons of waste are generated every day. By 2025, that figure is expected to double. That’s a lot of garbage. Garbage that goes into landfills and eventually into groundwater, streams and oceans.
Enter Zero Waste, part of a corporate sustainability initiative to reuse products so that no trash is sent to the landfill or incinerator.
Here’s what a few major retailers and suppliers are doing to achieve Zero Waste:
In 2015, through measures including recycling, and creating optimal packaging design, they were able to divert over 80% of their materials from landfills into the reuse of new products, saving energy and keeping costs down for consumers.
Kroger has joined the EPA’s ‘WasteWise’ program, which, among other things, helps them meet their waste reduction goals over time, as well identifying new opportunities for further reduction. By 2020, they have set an ambitious threshold of 90% waste diversion.
Smithfield mandates that 50% of all waste must be reused or recycled. Hazardous waste is the exception since such waste cannot be recycled.
RPCs Support Zero Waste
But they-and we-can do better. In fact, we at Tosca already have, with the creation of reusable plastic containers (RPCs) for perishables that can be used again and again. Unlike corrugated boxes, RPCs generate no packaging waste so they are an ideal solution for Zero Waste initiatives. And while corrugated boxes are capable of supporting Zero Waste, this is only possible if they’re clean and unsoiled. Most waxed corrugated boxes, which are used for shipping produce and poultry, cannot be recycled so there is additional labor costs to sort. With RPCs, they’re simply collapsed and returned to one of our 15 service centers to be washed and sanitized for reuse.
Tosca’s RPCs can be the hero that helps companies reach zero. It truly is changing the landscape of waste reduction…for the better.