On an expedition to Zero Waste

  2 February 2016  |    News

In late January, SADC and ZeroWasteLab jointly organised a workshop on ‘waste as raw material’ for the park management association at Business Park Amsterdam Osdorp. Companies can significantly reduce their costs by separating their refuse into valuable waste and working together on logistics and recycling. Zero waste means significant gains in terms of expenditure and sustainability. The motto of the workshop (roughly translated): ‘Where there’s muck there’s money’.

Many companies attach much value to sustainability and corporate social responsibility. In practice, however, they are often unaware of the amount and quality of their waste and residue flows. The waste levy, a tax on waste incineration introduced in 2015, and the fact that no levy is charged on valuable recyclables are also little known. During the workshop, more than 80% of waste sorted from a container with day-to-day waste from a company in Business Park Amsterdam Osdorp turned out to be valuable, so a healthy return is guaranteed.

The aim of the workshop was to make companies aware of their own behaviour, the opportunities to reduce waste and failure costs, and how to make processes more sustainable. In the area of logistics in particular, many benefits can be obtained by carefully separating waste per company and collectively offering it to a recycling company, or by exchanging it between companies as a raw material. Profit can be made at both ends of the process by making other arrangements with suppliers during procurement, such as packaging. Cooperation also offers other opportunities for investments in state-of-the-art smart recycling equipment which allows waste to be processed into useful raw material on site, where scaling is all-important. Zero waste is also a ‘selling point’ that enhances the image of companies and business parks.

ZeroWasteLab is a startup with several seasoned experts in waste and communication on board. The company takes businesses on an ‘expedition’ to achieve Zero Waste in the long term. The core aim is behavioural change and solutions in the areas of logistics, technology, people and resources. The ZeroWasteLab approach reflects SADC’s ambition to contribute, as an area developer, to the transition from a linear to circular economy. Discussions are taking place with the Business Park Amsterdam Osdorp management association on how the workshop proposals can be converted into concrete action in the near future.