Zero Waste to Landfill is a hot-button issue and for good reason. It’s a goal that aims to eliminate waste materials entering landfills.
The concept involves maximizing recycling, composting, and other waste diversion methods to ensure that no waste generated by a company or organization ends up in a landfill. Instead of sending waste to landfills, companies adopting a zero waste-to-landfill approach focus on reducing waste generation, reusing materials, recycling, and exploring alternative methods such as waste-to-energy technologies.
Zero waste to landfill can seem like an impossible goal at times, but can’t it be said that ambitious but meaningful goals tend to feel that way when they are a journey and not a sprint? For companies aiming to be environmentally responsible and sustainable, there is little choice but to be ambitious about all things sustainability.
Any effort to minimize waste generation, prioritize recycling, and find innovative waste management solutions can lead to positive environmental, social, and economic outcomes. The tide lifts all boats.
Meaningful progress at Greif
In 2021, eleven additional Greif facilities achieved zero waste to landfill status, bringing the total number to 45.
The facilities joining the zero waste to landfill status include seven US facilities, two APAC facilities, and two EMEA facilities.
Greif now counts 55 facilities achieving diversion of at least 99 percent of waste to landfills.
The company’s ambitious target to divert 90 percent of waste from landfills from all production locations globally by the end of the fiscal year 2025 is on target, with 136 of Greif’s 190 production facilities already achieving this target.
“We have a growing number of colleagues led by our global zero waste team that work closely together to progress our sustainability initiatives, and we are seeing an increase in internal awareness alongside the desire to do better,” explains Aysu Katun, Greif VP of Sustainability. “We are encouraged by the ambition and innovation that is coming directly from the operational side of the business.”
Local onsite initiatives that are helping to achieve zero waste to landfill status typically involve thinking laterally, developing partnerships, and education. Some of these successful initiatives include:
- Partnerships with fuel pelletizers who convert mixed waste and contaminants into fuel pellets for energy generation
- Looking at materials in a circular way and engaging with vendors and customers that have plastic and metal material that they want to divert from landfills
- Collection, storage, and distribution of broken wood, pallet pieces, and other wood sources for delivery to mulch manufacturers.
A customer-focused approach
Geoffrey Westphal, Leader of the Greif Zero Waste to Landfill Initiative, said, “Providing solutions to our customers for waste has allowed them to build trust in us to do what is right. It also allows them to know that while we have our own priority materials to deal with, we also carefully consider their needs and look for solutions to help them divert waste to landfills.”
“This collaborative approach has opened the door between our customers and our facilities to try new things or give us opportunities they may not have considered in the past. Our customers appreciate that we will go the extra mile to support them.”
Board-level endorsement and sponsorship of sustainability as a central operational theme have been further supported by key appointments at all levels within the organization.
Aysu Katun continued, “Through our Build to Last Strategy of Protecting Our Future, we are committed to reducing our environmental impacts and risks across our value chain, which creates value for our colleagues, the communities where we operate and live, and our customers.”