Not counting the garbage many of you actually collect and process as part of your daily work, how much trash would you say you produce on the job? How much of it is actually trash? Burt’s Bees, the natural cosmetics company (now a subsidiary of Clorox), was curious about what their employees were throwing out, so in late 2008 it initiated what was dubbed “Dumpster Day.”
For two weeks, all landfill-bound waste produced at Burt’s Bees’ Raleigh-Durham, N.C., headquarters was saved. The resulting five tons of trash was dumped in the company’s parking lot. Employees outfitted with Hazmat suits sorted through the material, eventually discovering that 2.8 tons of it could be diverted from landfills.
As a result of the hands-on trash audit, Burt’s Bees was able to reduce its waste output by almost 50 percent and realized $25,000 in annual savings. It also led to a broader recycling and composting effort that has helped move the company move closer to its zero waste goal.
Leave it to a cosmetics company to put a pretty face on garbage.