There’s been a lot of talk about the circular economy recently, and our commercial and industrial recycling customers have been actively building it for years.
The U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation has just published Trash to Treasure: Changing Waste Streams to Profit Streams, and they listed several interesting stats from the report:
- The 5,589 largest publicly traded companies in the US sent 342 million metric tons of waste to landfills and incinerators in 2014.
- On average, companies generate 7.81 metric tons of waste for every million dollars in revenue.
- If the 5,589 companies in the study reduced paper waste by 1%, it would save them nearly $1 billion.
- Overall, company waste is paper (37%), food/other organic materials (21%), plastic (17%), construction materials (11%), and metals (8%).
- Wasting is becoming more expensive. In the past 15 years, food costs have increased 66%, paper 16%, metals and minerals 90%.
- Many companies have already identified waste as an issue and are increasing their profits by changing production processes to reduce waste, educating their workforce, and engaging with consumers to recover or refurbish items.
- One of the most comprehensive ways to eliminate waste is to adopt a circular economy model, where products and services are designed and manufactured to be refurbished and repaired throughout their lifecycle. (also recycling!)
The U.S. Chamber’s sixth annual Sustainability Forum May 16 - 17, in Washington, DC. Better Business, Better World: Mainstreaming the Circular Economy will bring together more than 300 thought leaders and practitioners from business, government, academia, nonprofit organizations and other stakeholders to explore opportunities and best practices for unlocking the value of the circular economy and accelerating scalable solutions across global supply chains. Registration is available at the above link. Hope to meet you there!