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Waste Management: There Are Several New Standards for That

landfillCompanies are increasingly realizing the environmental and economic benefits of effective waste management — fewer methane emissions from landfills, reduced waste hauling costs and new revenue streams from reuse and recycling among them.

Several new tools aim to help companies and other organizations achieve these goals and receive recognition for their work.

The Carbon Trust has launched a standard that provides a framework for verifying zero waste to landfill claims. The Carbon Trust Standard for Zero Waste to Landfill recognizes an organization’s achievements in reducing its environmental impact through diverting its non-hazardous waste streams from landfill, typically through a combination of reducing waste, reusing materials, increasing recycling or sending waste to energy recovery.

The new standard is aligned with the methodology of the existing Carbon Trust Standard for Waste. This supports the increasing number of organizations that want independent and credible recognition of their achievements in improved waste management, the nonprofit says. Plus, it can also produce savings, both through better use of resources and a reduced landfill costs, as well as giving businesses a competitive advantage by demonstrating their commitment to becoming a more sustainable company.

In related news, ASTM International’s committee on waste management recently launched work on three proposed new standards.

The proposed Guide for Creating Product Specific Waste Hierarchy will help organizations create a “waste hierarchy” that evaluates waste materials and products in the context of each product’s attributes as well as the region’s waste-management infrastructure and environmental impact. This proposed standard is geared toward consumer product manufacturers, sustainability advisors, municipalities and industry organizations.

The second proposed standard, Guide for Operating a Successful Municipal Compost Program, will help cities and towns manage and evaluate compost programs.

And the third proposal, Classification for Landfills Based on Design, Operation, and Environmental Impact, aims to clarify acceptable landfill waste and improve educated decision making regarding waste management policies. ASTM says people involved with sustainability issues as well as those in the waste management industry will be the primary users of this standard.

The Carbon Trust and ASTM standards follow an announcement made at Greenbuild 2016 that links zero waste to green building. At the annual event, Green Business Certification Inc. (GBCI), the certification body for the US Green Building Council’s LEED green building program, and the US Zero Waste Business Council (USZWBC) said they would formally joining forces to advance zero waste business practices. GBCI will manage the Zero Waste Facility Certification and Zero Waste Business Associate programs created by USZWBC, and the zero waste principles will be aligned with GBCI’s offerings.

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