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Waste Not, Want Not
EPA’s WasteWise Program Partners to Save Money and Save the Environment

By Charles Rombeau

Whatever its form, waste is a drain on resources. Some organizations view the high cost of materials, supplies, and solid waste disposal as an inevitable part of doing business. Not so, say the hundreds of innovative partners in the Environmental Protection Agency's (EPA) WasteWise program who have gained a competitive edge through solid waste reduction.

WasteWise is a free, voluntary, EPA program designed to help organizations eliminate costly municipal solid waste while both benefiting their bottom line and the environment. WasteWise is a flexible approach that allows partners to design their own solid waste reduction programs tailored to their own business needs. As a WasteWise partner, your organization can save thousands of dollars by reducing, reusing, and recycling solid waste materials.

Spring 2000 marked the launch of the WasteWise federal sector charter period which coincided with the much anticipated milestone of reaching 1,000 program partners. This monumental achievement occurred when WasteWise welcomed the United States Postal Service — Sacramento District as its 1,000th partner on June 26, joining the dozens of other federal agencies who have already pledged their commitment to reducing waste.

The WasteWise program targets the reduction of municipal solid waste — waste that would otherwise end up in an organization’s (or its customers’) trash dumpster, such as corrugated containers, office paper, yard trimmings, packaging, and wood pallets. Participants, ranging from small local governments and nonprofit organizations to large, multi-national corporations, sign on to the program for a 3-year period. They then begin a three-point plan based on a commitment to reducing waste, establishing waste reduction goals, and tracking progress.

Over the past 6 years the program has grown by leaps and bounds, now encompassing more than 50 industry sectors. Along the way WasteWise has evolved to better meet the needs of its partners, but the program's emphasis on technical assistance and promotion of partner achievements has remained constant. Moving into the 21st century, the WasteWise program will continue to challenge partners to seek innovative waste reduction measures.

Those federal agencies not already involved with the waste prevention, recycling collection, and buy-recycled programs that are the heart of WasteWise should explore the official WasteWise site for further information on joining. It is possible to still be a charter partner by joining before September 30, 2000, allowing for your federal agency to be recognized at the 2000 WasteWise Awards and Recognition Ceremony.

For More Information:

Official WasteWise site

About the Author

Compiled by Charles Rombeau, an intern with the National Partnership for Reinventing Government.