What are the benefits of waste minimization?

Waste minimization not only protects the environment; it also makes good economic and business sense. For example, reducing waste generation through waste minimization has helped some companies change their RCRA regulatory status from large quantity generators (1000 or more kilograms of hazardous waste generated per month) to small quantity generator (between 100 and 1000 kg of hazardous waste generated per month), or to conditionally exempt small quantity generators (up to 100 kg of hazardous waste generated per month). Some have managed to eliminate the generation of hazardous waste and avoid RCRA regulatory requirements altogether.

Source reduction and/or environmentally sound recycling, reuse, and reclamation practices have helped many organizations reduce:

  • The quantity and toxicity of hazardous and solid waste generation;
  • Raw material and product losses;
  • Raw material purchase costs;
  • Waste management recordkeeping and paperwork burden;
  • Waste management costs;
  • Workplace accidents and worker exposure;
  • Compliance violations; and
  • Environmental liability.
    At the same time, waste minimization can improve:
  • Production efficiency;
  • Profits;
  • Good neighbor image;
  • Product quality; and
  • Environmental performance