Recycling has become an accepted and normal aspect of everyday life and most individuals and businesses practice recycling in even the mildest form. If we are to achieve long term successful sustainability, all of us at home and in the workplace must grasp the concept of Zero Waste and successfully put it into practice. Zero Waste is a philosophy which encourages us to find a new way of thinking about waste we generate and wholly makes us responsible for it.
Instead of seeing garbage, waste, and landfills as an acceptable and excusable part of life, the Zero Waste paradigm sees waste as a resource, commodity and local source of revenue.
Zero Waste is a practice, where all potential waste is evaluated for full retrieval, recycling and reclamation and if it can be recycled, re-directed, composted, salvaged or re-introduced into the production cycle then IT MUST, with no exceptions.
In essence, Zero Waste is about getting as close as humanly possible to no waste at all and when Mountain Rose Herbs adopted a Zero Waste policy, we went from producing about 3000-5000 gallons of waste per month (a normal amount for a processor of our size) to about 70-80 gallons of waste per month which is what an average 2 person household generates.
This transformation away from a "throw away society" by viewing either actual waste or potential waste as a resource is a commitment that Mountain Rose Herbs has long embraced, but with the advent of new recycling technologies and through the assistance of numerous people in our community we are able to make use of virtually all our waste thereby creating a Zero Waste work environment.
Here is a brief list of what we do with our waste.
- All used paper hand towels are collected for composting at a local facility
- All office paper, press board and scrap paper is recycled
- All of our metal and plastic drums are steam cleaned for re-use or are recycled
- All cardboard and pressboard is recycled (and yes…. that includes toilet paper rolls)
- All tin, steel and aluminum is sorted for collection
- All scrap plastic including bottles, cords, straps, lids, pourers, etc are reclaimed by a local facility to be melted down into saleable material
- All scrap metal, steel and iron is collected for melting
- All waste wood and unusable pallets are sent to be chipped for landscaping materials
- Waste oil from our bulk vegetable and carrier oils is collected for bio-diesel salvage
- Botanical refuse material is collected for composting at local nurseries
- Electronic and computer components are taken to a local facility for proper salvage and disposal, (preventing several known heavy metal sources from being land-filled)
- All Styrofoam is sent to a re-claimer for re-use in shipping computers
- All break room and staff waste is composted
- All waste essential oil is collected for natural pest control products and for use in natural weed killers
- And much, much more!
To learn more about the complexities of our Zero Waste program and other environmental initiatives please see our Guiding Principles page
The Zero Waste Alliance:
Grassroots Recycling Network