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Waste Reduction

  • By: Robert B. Pojasek & Sarah Boslaugh
  • In: Green Business: An A-to-Z Guide
  • Edited by: Nevin Cohen & Paul Robbins
  • Subject:Sustainability, Environmental Policy & Law (general)

The term waste reduction includes all efforts to reduce solid waste generation. This includes reusing, recycling, source reduction, designing for disassembly, and dematerialization. Reducing waste is a key imperative in business, not only because it pollutes the ecosystem, but also because it reduces profits. Waste costs money to produce, and it costs money to dispose of it. Waste reduction is the principal focus of kaizen, the Japanese principle of improvement made famous in the Toyota Production System.

Early efforts to deal with solid waste focused on reusing products and durable packaging in their original form. As early as the 1900s, Chicago and Cleveland residents were encouraged to find “Waste as Wealth” by sorting and reselling their metal cans for reuse. During the World Wars, citizens were ...

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