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Co-op News | March 2017

The Road to Zero Waste

Derik Powell, Maintenance Department Head

In the January issue of the Co-op News, we wrote about the efforts we are making to becoming a zero waste business, and about what we learned by attending a Zero Waste Business Council (ZWBC) meeting. We also surveyed the membership to help us decide whether we should get zero waste business certification; we are currently at approximately 87% waste diversion, and we would have to reach a minimum of 90% to get certified. The survey results were quite interesting—there are some things we can all agree on, and some ideas that will clearly require much more consideration.

Of the 31 responses, 15 members thought we should absolutely become zero waste certified through the ZWBC. Many pointed out that by paying to become certified, we are helping support their efforts to help other businesses reach zero waste. Others pointed out that often, having a third party involved can be beneficial in general. Another thought was that it would help support our zero waste stance in terms of public education.

The remainder of the responses were either ambivalent or indicated that we should not pay for the certification. There were many comments that we could put those funds to better use elsewhere, such as into efforts to directly help us reach zero waste. Some people did not see any benefit to the Co-op or its members in certification. Others mentioned that we seemed to be making great strides toward zero waste on our own, and that certification was an unnecessary expense.

The general consensus of all the responses was that zero waste is absolutely a worthy goal to be actively working toward. One member mentioned that they are happy to support a business that is so dedicated to reaching zero waste.

While it seems the topic of certification is still up for discussion, we will continue to make changes within the Co-op to work toward zero waste. It’s a goal that’s very important to us all, and we appreciate our members’ support in our efforts!

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