Solid Waste Reduction and Reuse

  1. Conduct a waste audit.
    Assessing what materials come into and out of your facility will help set a baseline for measurement and identify waste reduction opportunities.
    • EPA’s WasteWise Program provides tips and tools for performing waste audits.
    • The Energy and Materials Flow and Cost Tracker (EMFACT) is a software tool for tracking materials and energy use, releases, discharges, and wastes.
  2. Improve the efficiency of your procurement process.
    • Create a centralized inventory control system to prevent over ordering.
    • Purchase reusable items (e.g. kitchenware for office functions and meetings).
    • Offer employees alternatives to individual bottled water (e.g. filtered water).
  3. Improve the efficiency of your operations
  4. Reuse, sell, or donate unwanted items and materials.
  5. Reduce packaging waste
    • Ship products in returnable or reusable containers and pallets and request the same when receiving products.
    • Use inflatable plastic bags or crumpled newspaper to protect product instead of Styrofoam pellets and request the same when receiving products.
    • Reusable Industrial Packaging Association
    • Sustainable Packaging Coalition
    • Where feasible, buy products in bulk or in concentrated form to reduce packaging.
    • Use refillable spray bottles for brake cleaners and lubricants. This reduces aerosol can waste and allows you to purchase products in bulk.


  1. Implement an office recycling program for all waste materials that cannot be reduced or reused.
    • Provide easily accessible and clearly labeled bins for recyclables (paper, cans, glass, electronic waste, ink and toner cartridges, batteries).
    • Check with your County recycling program for guidelines and special waste collection days.
    • Where business recycling is not provided by the local government, contract with your waste hauler to accept recycled materials.
  2. Expand your recycling program to include non-office related materials (e.g. fats/oils/grease, food waste, construction materials, etc.).

Hazardous Waste/Toxic Use Reduction

(Note that for some facilities hazardous waste minimization efforts are a regulatory requirement.)

  1. Reduce hazardous waste generation by substituting with less toxic materials and products
    • Review all hazardous materials on site to determine whether usage can be minimized or replaced with suitable less toxic alternatives.
    • Review Material Safety Data Sheets (MSDSs) which are available from your vendor or online, and read all product labels for hazardous content.
    • Ask your vendor about less hazardous alternatives.
    • Consider use of less toxic chemicals in your manufacturing process
    • Maintain a centralized procurement and inventory control process that reviews all new purchases of hazardous materials.
    • Implement a just-in-time purchasing policy and a first in/first out chemical usage policy to reduce the chance of expired inventory
    • Use aqueous cleaners and parts washers in place of petroleum-based or chlorinated solvents.
    • Standardize solvent usage within the facility and reclaim solvent by distillation.
    • Use low-emitting paints and coatings.
    • Use lead-free solder.
    • Replace mercury-containing devices (lamps, switches, thermostats) with alternatives.
    • Specify in pest control contracts that primary pest management methods include non-chemical pest prevention measures first.
    • Purchase or ask cleaning contractor to purchase less toxic cleaners and janitorial supplies.
  2. Reduce hazardous waste generation through equipment and process changes.
    • Reduce solvent usage by planning production schedules to reduce the frequency of cleaning required, cleaning parts and equipment immediately, and using squeegees or other means of removing material prior to solvent use.
    • Switch to aqueous-based parts washers.
    • Improve industrial paint spray technique to reduce air emissions and paint waste.
    • Borrow a LaserPaint spray gun unit at no cost from MDE.  LaserPaint units attach to high volume/low pressure spray guns to help train the operator to apply paint in the most efficient way.  For more information, call MDE at 410-537-4119.
  3. Establish spill prevention and response procedures.
    • Use funnels or pumps to transfer liquids and regularly inspect areas for potential spills or leaks.
    • Install overflow alarms for all tanks and vessels and secondary containment areas.
    • Have spill containment kits on site