NAEM Session Summary: Challenges of Zero Waste Goals

Tackling the new challenges of zero waste goals

Another successful NAEM EHS & Sustainability Forum is in the books! The all-virtual event took place October 20-22, 2020 and showcased many insightful presentations from leading professionals in the EHS industry. We’re not quite finished sharing examples of our key learnings, particularly when it comes to a trending and relevant topic like zero waste.

Rick Love, Associate Director, Environmental Stewardship, Raytheon Technologies Company, moderated the session on “Tackling the New Challenges of Zero Waste Goals.” The panelists included: Brijesh Krishnan, Waste Management & Environmental Leader, Cummins Inc.; Katie Ochoa, Senior Corporate Sustainability Manager, L3Harris Technologies Inc.; and Dimitri Shanin, Senior Manager, Sustainability Operations & Environmental Management, Raytheon Technologies Company.

While Brijesh, Katie, and Dimitri had their own unique challenges and successes to share, there were several common themes that were pinpointed as essential for implementing zero waste to landfill programs:

People
• Designate a team of SMEs to provide the expertise to build out the program and successfully implement the key components, such as following through on certification requirements
• Develop partnership opportunities with suppliers who can help support the program goals
• Get employees involved and engaged in the program

Definition and Scope
• Define what zero waste means to your organization
• Identify your scope (for example, leased versus owned buildings)
• Determine the standards that apply to your program (for example, TRUE)
• Understand the regulatory implications
• Implement a management system to integrate the various complexities of the program into a centralized source

Processes
• Assess/audit each facility against the program goals to identify gaps
• Take the “global” view to streamline your processes across the organization
• Design a metrics approach for identifying where to move the needle on program successes
• Ensure leadership support throughout the process
• Align zero waste program with other EHS initiatives

Innovative Strategy
• Consider the circular economy approach as the driver for your waste-related processes
• Identify financial opportunities and cost savings throughout the implementation of the program

Read the NAEM session summary, "Danfoss Demonstrates Benefits of Motion-Capture Technology."