The numbers are staggering —nearly half of the county's waste comes from local businesses, to the tune of 77,000 tons of business waste generated each year. That's tens of millions of dollars that businesses are throwing in the garbage each year by throwing away recyclable material. Thurston County's solid waste educators are hoping to change the amount of business waste going to the landfill, and to help with that effort, the county has launched a new online survey for Thurston County business owners and employees.
The online survey, found at www.surveymonkey.com/r/BizWaste
, asks business owners, managers and employees about their current recycling program, why their business is or isn't recycling, and lets them request free technical assistance from Thurston County solid waste experts. The county's solid waste team can help business owners assess their hauler's garbage or recycling service levels and costs, measure the progress of their business's efforts to recycle more, or to help develop a waste reduction program, all at no cost. For even more incentive, those who take the survey can enter to win a drawing for a $100 credit toward their business's LeMay (Waste Connections) garbage bill in 2015. The survey runs through August 31.
The county's 2014 waste study shows that businesses disposed of large amounts of paper, plastics, and organics, all of which can be diverted from landfills through recycling and organics collection systems. "About 45 percent of what businesses threw away last year was recyclable or compostable," said Greg Gachowsky, Waste Reduction Specialist for the county's Solid Waste Division. "Believe it or not, almost 20 percent of what businesses threw away last year was food waste."
Connecting businesses to food donation outlets and helping an organization setup organics collection are two easy ways to avoid the costs associated with sending food waste to a landfill. The hope of the Solid Waste Division is to help businesses reduce waste, maximize efficiency, and to potentially decrease disposal costs in turn saving businesses money and time.
"There are better and less expensive options than sending this to a landfill," said Gachowsky, "so this survey is designed to help us learn more about what influences businesses and employees when it comes time to either trash it or recycle it."
To take the survey, go to www.surveymonkey.com/r/BizWaste
. To learn more about how to reduce your business trash and recycle more, go to www.ThurstonSolidWaste.org/business
. If you have questions about the county's business waste reduction program, or you would like to request assistance with waste reduction at work, contact Greg Gachowsky at GachowG@co.thurston.wa.us
or (360) 867-2281.-30-