Standards > Industry--Waste Generation & Prevention (WGP)

Waste generation refers to the volume or tonnage of solid waste generated prior to any recovery or disposal. Preventing and minimizing waste generation is considered to be more important than solid waste recovery, prioritized first in the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s waste management hierarchy. Two mechanisms are employed to minimize waste generation: source reduction and reuse. SWEEP plans to takes into account:

The efficiency and effectiveness of waste generation and prevention measures:

    • Educational programs on reuse and source reduction
      • Prevalence and magnitude of educational programs
      • Prevalence and magnitude of educational programs for employees
    • Measuring/calculating
      • total solid waste generated;
      • per capita solid waste generation;
      • Residential vs. Commercial origin;
    • Procurement policies and achievements
      • EPP policy-recycling, composting, etc.
        • Corporate recycling & composting programs
      • Vehicles?
      • Buy used
      • Encouraging take-back programs
    • Product labeling practices
      • Procurement guidelines regarding labeling products as compostable or other definitional label
    • Company sponsored/operated Source Reduction programs:
      • Backyard composting;
      • Material exchanges/material libraries, e.g. textiles/clothing
      • Waste audit & recommendations “right-size” programs
    • Food rescue programs/projects “Spoiler Alert” for products with limited lifetime esp. food

The environmental performance of waste generation and prevention measures:

  • Characterization and calculation of (quantifying)
    • Air, water, and land emissions associated with waste prevention measures
      • Data collection and analysis of implemented measures
  • Waste composition characterizations

The economic performance of waste generation and prevention measures:

  • Development of a baseline for waste generation
  • Impact on employment
  • Relative cost of WGP programs compared with recycling.