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Retail Waste
Packaging materials, particularly corrugated cardboard, make up a large portion of any retail store's waste. Because much of this waste is generated outside the retail establishment, reduction efforts must be made in cooperation with vendors.

Incoming packaging such as bags and boxes can be reused as packaging for customers. However, while this reduces disposal requirements, it does not solve the problem of unnecessary packaging. If vendors ship products in unnecessary or non-recyclable packaging ask them to reduce packaging or switch to materials that can be recycled or reused.

Restaurant Waste
Restaurants that use disposable napkins, utensils or placemats can reduce waste volume by switching to reusable items. Many restaurants also generate sufficient quantities of aluminum, glass, steel/tin cans and plastic to justify recycling as a cost control measure. Some tips for effective handling of restaurant waste include:

Recycle corrugated cardboard, glass, metals and plastics. If space is a problem, specially designed equipment such as can, glass and plastic crushers are available to reduce the volume of your recyclable materials.

Replace beverage bottles and cans. Most beer and soft drinks can be served on-tap, reducing both the costs of buying beverages and disposing or recycling cans and bottles. Even wine can be stored in bulk in some circumstances.

Replace disposable items (cups, utensils, trays, dishes and single-serving condiment packages) with reusable items.

Eat-in restaurants and hotels can use reusable napkins and dinnerware, placemats and tablecloths. Switching from disposables may add to dishwashing and laundry costs, but will save on the purchase of paper goods and avoid waste disposal costs.

For carryout and fast food, select the minimum appropriate packaging for food.

Buy in bulk to reduce container waste, but avoid buying too much of a product that might spoil. Buy locally to minimize transportation costs.

Some fast food chains are operating recycling programs for polystyrene containers. Contact your container supplier about the feasibility of such a project.

Ask suppliers to provide you with products that are packaged in materials such as recyclable or reusable paper, glass, steel, aluminum or plastic.

Donate useful, outdated stock and leftover foods to food pantries, charities and shelters.

Collect and send used grease to a renderer.

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Maintenance Waste
Use washable rags for cleaning--commercial laundry services can provide an economical regular supply.

Use non-toxic or biodegradable solvents and cleaners.

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Few generalizations can be made about the composition of industrial waste because it is usually specific to the industry that produces it. Many industrial wastes can be reused or recycled in-house or off-site. They can also be put on waste exchanges.

Production line workers, foremen and plan engineers can be helpful in identifying waste that can be targeted for reduction and recycling. Some ideas for industrial waste reduction include:

Extending the life of equipment to avoid discarding it. Negotiate service contracts for equipment and consider remanufacturing worn-down equipment instead of buying new.

Switching to reusable pallets and containers. Sturdy, two-way pallets can cost more than inferior ones, but should result in savings over purchasing new pallets. By
using reusable pallets, you will avoid disposal costs of broken pallets.

Reusing wastes through in-house reuse/recycling or waste exchanges. One department's waste can be another department's or company's raw material.

Reducing the amount of packaging that is sent to you. Ask your suppliers to eliminate unnecessary packaging.

In the shipping/receiving area:

Reduce the generation of corrugated cardboard waste by working with suppliers to provide returnable and reusable containers. Ask suppliers to provide packing materials that are recyclable, reusable or returnable.

Distribute your products in returnable containers to reduce your consumption of raw materials.

Recycle corrugated cardboard, metals, glass, plastics and other recyclable materials. Compact or bale these materials if quantities are large and space is limited. Share compactors and balers with neighboring businesses if your recyclable quantities are small.

Buy items in bulk where practical and where it will reduce waste.

Reuse and recycle pallets.

On the production line:

Substitute non-hazardous ingredients for hazardous materials where possible.

Mix only the volume of material required to fill an order.

Implement a collection system for recoverable/recyclable materials. Recover oils, solvents and other cleaning materials.

Purchase efficient equipment, train and motivate employees, and install quality monitoring systems to reduce production line rejects.

Educate employees about source separation and encourage employee suggestions as to how it may be made more efficient.

Reduce production scrap by modifying production equipment and processes.

Recycle on-site scrap by modifying or adding equipment.

Evaluate pay-back of the recycling programs in terms of reduced input costs and reduced disposal costs.

In the maintenance/storage area:

Identify storage needs and segregate and recycle all recyclable materials.

Use reusable containers that are collapsible, "nestable" or stackable for efficient storage and handling.

Use compactors or balers to reduce volume of recyclable materials. This conserves storage space, reduces transportation costs and generally increases marketability of the material.