United States
Environmental Protection
Policy, Planning and
Evaluation/Solid Waste
and Emergency Response
May 1996
WasteWiSe  Partnership
Benefits  Global  Climate

   The atmosphere that surrounds Earth contains many types of gases, including what are
known as "greenhouse gases. " These gases absorb and retain heat from the sun.  Without
greenhouse gases, the average temperature on Earth would be 5F instead of the current
60F.  A buildup of these gases in the atmosphere,  on the other hand, could raise global
temperatures, triggering profound changes in the Earth's climate and ecosystems.
   The manufacture and distribution of products and the subsequent management of
solid waste can contribute to the formation of greenhouse gases. For this reason, as well
as for other  environmental benefits, EPA  is encouraging waste reduction efforts.
WasteWi$e is one EPA program helping  to curb greenhouse gas emissions by expand-
ing waste prevention and recycling in businesses nationwide.
     ince January
     EPA has been work-
    i ing  in partnership
     with American busi-
nesses to reduce municipal
solid waste. More than
420 companies are now
WasteWiSe    partners.
Many of these are Fortune
500 service or manufacturing companies.
Partners are located across the country and
represent a variety of business and industrial
sectors. Through  die WasteWiSe program,
companies make a voluntary commitment
to implement or expand upon a solid waste
reduction program with three complemen-
tary components:
 Preventing waste. The cornerstone of
WasteWiSe, waste prevention means using
less material to do the same job or produce
the same product, thereby making  less
waste.  WasteWiSe  partners  commit to
implementing three significant waste  pre-
vention activities of their choice.
           Recycling. By recycling, American busi-
          nesses  can  be  instrumental in diverting
          materials from  disposal. WasteWiSe part-
          ners  commit  to  initiate, expand,  or
          improve company programs to collect recy-
          clables. For example, companies may add
          new materials to an existing program, or
          increase  recycling rates  by  educating
          employees or the community.
           Buying  or  manufacturing recycled
          products. Businesses can play a key role in
          assimilating recycled materials into con-
          sumer markets. WasteWiSe partners com-
          mit to increase the overall recycled content
          in  the   products   they  purchase.
          Manufacturers may also increase the per-
          centage of postconsumer materials in  the
          products they make.
            WasteWiSe partners design their own
          solid waste reduction programs, tailored to
          meet  their needs and operations. Partners
          monitor their progress and report annually
          to EPA  on  their accomplishments.  The
          WasteWiSe program  helps participating
          companies discover waste reduction oppor-
          tunities and set  waste reduction goals.
          Partners  have access (through a toll-free
          helpline) to WasteWiSe representatives,
  Printed on paper that contains at least 20 percent postconsumer fiber.

who provide personalized assistance, and to a wide range of
waste reduction publications. EPA also publicly recognizes
individual companies and program successes.

      By reducing waste, WasteWiSe part-
      ners  divert  millions  of  tons  of
      material from disposal. They
      also attain higher levels of
efficiency by only using the materi-
als they  really need. Simply put, as
businesses prevent more waste and recycle
more materials, fewer greenhouse gases are
emitted into the atmosphere.
  Waste prevention, in particular, greatly reduces
the  emission of  greenhouse  gases  by conserving  raw
materials and the energy expended to retrieve, process,
     and manufacture materials into products. In addi-
      tion,  waste  prevention keeps materials out of
  %     landfills  and incinerators. Overall, waste preven-
                       tion  provides  more climate
                       change  benefits  than any
                       other   waste   management
            For more
   WasteWiSe, call the
WasteWiSe helpline at
1-800-EPA-WISE. For more
information on climate
change and waste reduc-
tion, contact EPA's RCRA
Hotline at 800-424-9346.
                         By boosting their recycling
                      efforts,  WasteWiSe partners
                      divert valuable materials from
                      the waste stream that otherwise
                      would be disposed of in land-
                       fills and  incinerators where
                      they  would emit greenhouse
                     gases. In particular, many com-
                    panies have increased their recy-
cling of office paper and corrugated containers. By keeping
paper products out of landfills, methane emissions from
landfills are reduced.  In addition, when used paper is recy-
cled into new paper products, fewer trees have to be har-
vested. Trees take large amounts of carbon dioxide out of
the atmosphere and store it in wood.

   WasteWiSe partners are also encouraged to manufac-
ture or buy products made from recyclable materials. This
helps ensure that recyclables, rather than raw materials, are
used in manufacturing processes. Typically less energy is
used during manufacture when recycled materials rather
than virgin materials are used.

   In October 1993, the Climate Change Action Plan was
   initiated to strengthen our country's commitment to
   reducing greenhouse gas emissions. The plan outlines
   more than 50 voluntary initiatives designed to reduce
emissions of these gases to 1990 levels by the year 2000.
EPA is responsible for encouraging attainment of about half
of the reductions under this plan.
  WasteWiSe partners arc already playing a  lead role in
helping EPA achieve diese goals. In 1994 alone, WasteWiSe
partners reduced and recycled over 1  million tons of mater-
ial. WasteWiSe will be a significant contributor to EPA's
overall Climate Change Action Plan goal.