September-October 2016

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ynergistic to Nature's Packaging tagline Choose the Sustainable Way, Zero Waste takes the wood packaging industry further down the path of protecting the Earth's limited resources. In addition, Zero Waste makes good business sense for the entire supply chain. By reusing, repairing and recycling wooden pallets, companies who rely on pallet-packaged deliveries save on landfill hauling and tipping charges, and edge closer to achieving Zero Waste. For example, in 2015, Gold Level Zero Waste Facility Certified Piazza Produce "sold" 733.8 tons of wood pallets (roughly 66,700 pallets) for more than twice the cost of what they would have paid in landfill costs for the pallets, including hauling and tipping fees. Beyond the sustainability and economics within the wood packaging life cycle, Zero Waste addresses the materials used within the manufacturing process, distribution logistics and administrative support departments. In Zero Waste, by-product materials are treated as a valuable commodity versus trash destined for the landfill or incinerator. A first step on the Zero Waste journey is a waste audit. An audit determines the baseline of current practices in-place as well as the quantity and type of materials generated at the facility. Understanding the local infrastructure and markets available is integral to the baseline analysis. In general, municipal government and non-profits are a good resource for recycling services and end-market destinations for materials generated. From a national perspective, the U.S. Zero Waste Business Council (USZWBC) is a non-profit organization that educates on Zero Waste benefits for individual companies, the community and the environment. In addition, USZWBC veteran members share experiences with those embarking on the Zero Waste journey. According to USZWBC Founder & Executive Director Stephanie Barger: "USZWBC is a solutions based organization and provides many resources for their members and the community to vet ideas and challenges. Our Advisory Board members can assist with working on solutions for individuals or an industry along with leading task forces or developing technical committees for more challenging long-term issues. Our resource library contains toolkits, case studies and other educational information." Throughout the year, the USZWBC hosts Zero Waste 101 Workshops, Zero Waste Business Associate Scorecard Professional Training Courses and other industry-specific webinars. The Annual National Zero Waste Business Conference is an excellent educational venue for the seasoned Zero Waste veteran ready to evolve their NATURE'S PACKAGING Zero Waste Makes Good Business 12 PalletCentral • September-October 2016 S stock photo By Holly Elmore

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