U.S. Environmental Protection Agency
    Office of Solid Waste
    Communications Services Branch
    401 M Street, SW.
    Washington, DC 20460

    Official Business
    Penalty for Private Use, $300
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Minimize Waste,
 As in every business, 'your com-
-pany-s bottoni line is your top
 priority. While you might never
 have considered it before, the gar-
 bage your company generates can
 cut into your company's profit
 margin. Not only do you pay to
 transport and dispose of waste, but
 you could be  inadvertently throwing
 away valuable resources.  Minimiz-
 ing waste can help to maximize
 profits. By reducing discards—from
 computer paper to cafeteria trays—
 you can save  money, increase
 productivity, and  even attract cus-
 tomers. Just a few simple changes,
 such as eliminating some paper
 memos or a layer of shipping
 material, can translate into big
 savings for your organization. And
 many companies don't stop  there.
 Some firms have implemented com-
 prehensive waste prevention pro-
 grams that save them millions of
 dollars annually!
  Computer Manufacturer Redesigns
  Packaging for Big Savings
                  I            •
  A Massachusetts-based supplier of networked
  computer systems,^software, and service redes-
  igned protective packaging to ship large com-
  puter enclosures. The result was  a 31 percent
  reduction in packaging volume for this product
  and an estimated first year savings of $200,000.
What Is Waste Prevention?

Waste prevention, also referred to as source reduc-
tion, involves the design, manufacture, purchase, or
use of materials and products to reduce the amount
or toxicity of what is thrown away. Experts agree
waste prevention is the most effective way to control
municipal solid waste.
Waste prevention is not recycling. Recycling is a
beneficial way to manage materials _that would oth-
erwise become waste, whereas waste prevention
helps create less waste in the first place. For waste
that cannot be prevented, however, recycling is the
next best choice.
To help you set up a waste prevention program
tailored to your own company, the U.S. Environmental
Protection Agency (EPA) has developed^ handbook
of case studies from .successful business waste preven-
tion programs and a waste prevention guidance man-
ual. To order these publications free of charge, send in
the form at the end of this pamphlet.

What Are the Benefits of
Waste Prevention?

Your business could reap significant benefits from
waste prevention, including:
H Reduced waste disposal costs
• Savings in material and supply costs
• Savings from more efficient work practices
• Revenues from marketing reusable materials
Waste prevention  also can enhance your corporate
image and  help you stay competitive. In addition,
your employees might welcome, and even'cham-  ,
pion, waste prevention initiatives, giving a boost to
company teamwork and morale.  -:.
Waste prevention  benefits the environment, ;too.
Waste prevention  can conserve natural resources, .,
and slow the depletion of valuable landfill space. It
also can reduce the pollution associated with the
manufacture of products. In addition, reducing the
amount of hazardous constituents in goods can re-
duce potential management problems at landfills
and incinerators when these items are discarded.

                                                                                    -,-;;> ~-^vf,^m
Some Approaches to Waste
Prevention                    [
If you are implementing a comprehensive v\|aste preven-
tion program, you will want to look at all of jyour opera-
tions for opportunities to cut waste. Here a*re some
tips to get your waste prevention programfetarted:
Use or manufacture minimal or
reusable packaging.
Encourage your suppliers to eliminate1 unnecessary'T*
packaging. In your purchasing, you canjfavor suppliers -
who offer products with minimal packaging. Whenever
possible, buy products in bulk quantities an"d"ih"reus-
able packaging. To reduce waste in yotir own'shipping
department, see if you can use fewer layers and ship
merchandise in returnable or reusable containers.
Use and maintain durable equipment and
Consider investing in quality, long-lasting supplies
and equipment that can be repaired easily. These
items will stay out of the waste stream longer, and
the higher initial costs may be justified by lower
maintenance, disposal, and replacement costs. Set-
ting up a regular maintenance schedule for ma-
chines will extend their useful lives, cutting back on
waste and the need to replace expensive equipment.
Reuse products and supplies.
Adopt simple, cost-effective measures to conserve
materials through reuse. Disposable items, such as
coffee cups and single-use cafeteria trays, can be re-
placed with long-lasting, reusable products. A one-
time investment for such items breaks the frequently
expensive cycle of discarding and reordering. Encour-
age employees to reuse common items such as files
and interoffice envelopes.
Reduce the use of hazardous
   d out which products in your graphics and mainte-
nance departments (such as ink, solvent, paint, glue,
and other materials) are available with fewer or no haz-
ardous constituents. Ask your suppliers about water-
based (rather than oil- or solvent-based) products.
Utility Licks Purchase Costs with
Reusable Envelopes
A utility company in Maryland  uses "send-'n'-re-
turn" envelopes to save money and time and
decrease waste. One envelope is used for both
sending bills and returning the payment. This
strategy avoids using 1.5 million return enve-
lopes per year, which equals a $55,000'savings
in purchasing costs,             .            :
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 EPA Offers Additional
 Information on Preventing

 EPA has published two' documents to help busi-
- nesses- design and implement waste reduction pro-
 grams in their facilities:
 Waste Prevention Pays Off: Companies Cut
 Waste in the Workplace, a 24-page handbook,
 presents a brief overview of waste prevention strate-
 gies that are working for different types of businesses, r
 A Business Guide for Reducing Solid Waste is
 a 92-page manual providing detailed "how-to" in-
 structions for businesses that are ready to embark
 on a waste reduction program.
 Order  Form
    Please send me:

 D Waste Prevention Pays Off: Companies Cut
    Waste in the Workplace

 D A Business Guide for Reducing Solid Waste

Use supplies and materials more

 Address _



Try changing some of your company's operations to
increase efficiency, reduce waste, and conserve ma-
terials. Examples include switching to double-sided
copying and using electronic mail instead of paper
Compost yard trimmings on site.
An option that most companies can adopt to reduce
waste is "grasscycling," or leaving grass clippings on
the lawn. In addition, if your company has sufficient
space, start a compost bin on site for grass and
leaves, rather than shipping them elsewhere for dis-
posal. Composting is a natural process by which -.
yard trimmings and other organic materials are al-
lowed to decompose under controlled conditions.
Exchange, sell, or give away unneeded
goods or materials so they can be reused.
Donate excess food, used furniture, and other materi-
als to local organizations, such as homeless shelters
or charities. You might try exchanging materials with
another company. In a materials exchange, busi-
nesses trade, sell, or give away goods or materials
that would otherwise become waste.
Eliminate unnecessary items.
Finally, don't overlook the obvious! Over time, your
company may have begun routinely using materials
that contribute little or nothing to your product or
service.  Eliminating the use of such unnecessary
items can add up to significant waste reductions—
and cost savings!

For More Information

Call the RCRA/Superfund Hotline at 8QO-424-9346
or TDD 800-553-7672 for the hearing impairedTFor
Washington, DC, and outside the United States,  call
703-412-9810 or.TDD 703-412-3323.
EPA has a program to encourage and assist busi-
nesses to reduce solid waste. For information on the
WasteWi$e program, call 1-800-EPA-VVlSE.