Material and Waste

Sustainable Waste Management

Waste represents wasted resources. Capture that value with sustainable waste management practices.

  • Design products and process to reduce waste over the life cycle of the product or service and to facilitate reuse or recycling
  • Reduce office waste by reusing paper and ink cartridges or converting to electronic documents
  • Precycle – Reuse before you recycle
  • Recycle- Use materials in continuous cycles
  • Find uses for manufacturing by-products
  • Practice extended product responsibility by taking back products at the end of their life cycle or helping customers find ways to reuse and recycle them

Sustainable Purchasing

Even the smallest entities and individuals wield a lot of power with their purchasing dollars. Put your dollars to work creating a more sustainable future.

  • Choose environmentally friendly products and services
  • Purchase for socially aware products and services (fair trade, sweat shop free, and locally produced)
  • Buy recycled (It’s not recycling unless you buy recycled!)
  • Rent or lease instead of buying equipment
  • Consider group purchasing or equipment sharing arrangements

Talk with your suppliers and contractors about sustainable products, services and practices (they won’t offer them if they don’t know you are interested)

Sustainability Metrics

The Roundtable’s metrics allow you to track your waste production in a variety of ways. From hazardous waste, to toxic chemical production, waste to landfill, and waste to energy, all of these categories can be easily charted. This will allow your business to better realize its impact and make efforts to mitigate waste production. Increasing your recycling rates can even produce economic gains.

Three Tiers of Supply Chain Sustainability

In 2008, The Future Laboratory produced a ranking system for the different levels of sustainability being achieved by organization. This was called the Three Tiers of Sustainability:

Tier 1: Getting the basics right

This is the base level and is the stage in which the majority of organizations are at. Companies employ simple measures such as switching lights and PCs off when left idle, recycling paper, and using greener forms of travel with the purpose of reducing the day-to-day carbon footprint. Some companies also employ self-service technologies such as centralized procurement and teleconferencing.

Tier 2: Learning to think sustainably

This is the second level, where companies begin to realize the need to embed sustainability into supply chain operations. Companies tend to achieve this level when they assess their impact across a local range of operations. In terms of the supply chain, this could involve supplier management, product design, manufacturing rationalization, and distribution optimization.

Tier 3: The science of sustainability

The third tier of supply chain sustainability uses auditing and benchmarks to provide a framework for governing sustainable supply chain operations. This gives clarity around the environmental impact of adjustments to supply chain agility, flexibility, and cost in the supply chain network.[7] Moving towards this level means being driven by the current climate (in which companies recognize cost savings through green operations as being significant) as well as pushing emerging regulations and standards at both an industry and governmental level.

Application of Sustainability

Companies looking to implement sustainable strategies down its supply chain should also look upstream. To elaborate, if a company is able to choose between various suppliers, it can for example use its purchasing power to get its suppliers in compliance with its green supply chain standards. In managing suppliers, companies must measure that inputs from suppliers are of high quality, and the usage of water and energy is minimised leading to less pollution, defects and over production. They also must audit their supplier base and make sure that they are improving the supply chain metrics[8]

POLLUTION Prevention (P2)

Pollution Prevention means eliminating or reducing the amount and toxicity of potentially harmful substances at their sources, prior to generation, treatment, off-site recycling or disposal. It emphasizes preventing or minimizing pollution, rather than controlling it once it is generated. Many businesses, both large and small, are operated differently by thinking prevention rather

“Pollution prevention really pays in reduced environmental impact, and in new sales, lower cost, higher quality, less regulatory impact and fewer liabilities.” Robert Bringer, Vice President of 3M Company, says of the benefits of 3M’s Pollution Prevention Pays program.

than control. Pollution prevention practices can include changes in design, raw materials, production processes, and delivery of a product. These practices include:

  • Raw material substitution: switching to less hazardous materials
  • Process modification: changing the production process to improve efficiency and reduce the use of toxic substances
  • Equipment upgrade: installing more efficient equipment to reduce raw material consumption and produce less waste.
  • Product redesign: reducing certain raw materials in products or packaging, or improving manufacturability.

Emissions into our water and air are often regulated by governmental agencies, there are other factors which may motivate a company to reduce these emissions beyond regulatory requirements. These factors could include; consumer pressure, good-neighbor initiatives, reduction of risk and future liabilities, and cost reductions.  Sustainability asks a business to take emissions reduction initiatives in order to preserve the health and viability of one’s region and the planet.


NYS Pollution Prevention Institute (NYSP2I)  

Phone: 585-475-2512    Email:


The mission of NYSP2I is to make New York State more sustainable for workers, the public, the environment, and the economy through:

  • reductions in toxic chemical use
  • the efficient use of raw materials, energy and water
  • reductions in emissions to the environment and waste generation

“Material LIFE”

Launched by CannonDesign, this is a publicly accessible tool for material. Consider material selections based on cost, performance, aesthetics and health. With transparency, you can begin to ensure that materials will be part of a healthier future.

MAT-EX: Material Exchange of Western and Central New York

A website and printed catalog listing surplus goods from area business.

Materials Management and Climate Change Presentation.ppt

EPA Presentation concerning: goods and food production, consumption, resource use, and distribution, with their relationship to GHG emissions.

EPA Waste Reduction Model (WARM)

EPA created the Waste Reduction Model (WARM) to help solid waste planners and organizations track and voluntarily report greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions reductions from several different waste management practices. WARM is available both as a Web-based calculator and as a Microsoft Excel spreadsheet (.zip) (586 Kb). The Excel-based version of WARM offers more functionality than the Web-based calculator.

WARM calculates and totals GHG emissions of baseline and alternative waste management practices—source reduction, recycling, combustion, composting, and landfilling. The model calculates emissions in metric tons of carbon equivalent (MTCE), metric tons of carbon dioxide equivalent (MTCO2E), and energy units (million BTU) across a wide range of material types commonly found in municipal solid waste (MSW). For information on the data and methodologies behind the calculations, please see the model documentation.