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How We're Walking the Zero Waste Talk

Zero Waste Program Goals - Environmental Services to Divert and Reduce Waste

Emterra would like to show you how to talk the talk and walk the Zero Waste walk. As part of our service to our customers, we can design your resource management program to achieve and improve diversion rates and generate less waste, while at the same time decreasing the carbon footprint of your operations…and benefit your bottom line.

What Does Zero Waste Mean?

Adopting Zero Waste policies doesn’t mean you won’t generate any waste at all. What it does mean is that you will adopt principles and practices to help you, your organization or your municipality reduce the amount of waste generated and divert more of those resources into useful next generation product cycles. And it means you will continuously strive to improve and to do more to increase that diversion. 

The Zero Waste International Alliance defines Zero Waste as "a goal that is ethical, economical, efficient and visionary, to guide people in changing their lifestyles and practices to emulate sustainable natural cycles, where all discarded materials are designed to become resources for others to use. Zero Waste means designing and managing products and processes to systematically avoid and eliminate the volume and toxicity of waste and materials, conserve and recover all resources, and not burn or bury them.
 Implementing Zero Waste will eliminate all discharges to land, water or air that are a threat to planetary, human, animal or plant health."

One of the key ways to make quick inroads toward Zero Waste is to boost solid waste diversion and recycling participation rates through single stream recycling. It can work for both municipalities and for commercial businesses. For some municipal curbside collection programs, single stream recycling has proven to require fewer trucks while simultaneously increasing productivity and decreasing miles traveled and fuel consumed. These factors alone contribute to reduced greenhouse gas emissions (GHGs) and lower operating costs.

The following are some examples of Zero Waste initiatives that we employ in Emterra’s North American operations to help shrink our environmental footprint:

  • Single stream recycling - Emterra reduced the number of trucks used to serve the City of Chilliwack in British Columbia when we started their single stream recycling program. According to Green Fleets BC, taking two trucks off the road in a city saves the equivalent of more than 200 tons of carbon dioxide emissions annually.
  • No idling - We enacted a "no idling" policy for our fleet of collection and recycling trucks to reduce fuel consumption and associated greenhouse gas emissions.
  • Biodiesel fleet - We worked with our municipal partner (the Regional Municipality of Niagara) to convert the recycling and waste collection fleet to a fleet of 70 high efficiency biodiesel trucks
  • Compressed natural gas (CNG) fleet – In the City of Winnipeg, we launched one of Canada's largest CNG fleets of recycling and waste residential collection. Each CNG truck prevents consumption of nearly 7,400 gallons of diesel fuel every year.

At Emterra, we are always eager to identify new opportunities to work with community partners to minimize the carbon footprint of the services we provide.