There are a vast amount of resources available to small businesses who are interested in reducing waste. They range from online tools and databases to entire organizations that exist to assist businesses with their waste reduction needs.
There are four of these resources that have proven rather beneficial to Iowa small businesses and have had a substantial positive effect on those with a goal for sustainability.
Iowa Waste Exchange (IWE)
The Iowa Waste Exchange (IWE) is a free waste reduction service, provided by the Iowa Department of Natural Resources (DNR), that will match one organization’s waste with another entity or individual who can utilize it.
What’s the saying? One man’s trash is another man’s treasure. The IWE embodies just that. Since the service began in 1990, the IWE representatives have diverted over 3.5 million tons of waste from the landfills by matching the items to someone who can use it. The program also maintains an expansive database of over 13,000 materials to help you find a market for your trash or search for the material you need. Visit the IWE website here to access the database or find the nearest IWE representative to you.
Universal Waste Diversion Tool
Universal Wastes are some of the most forgotten hazardous wastes, but also some of the most prevalent. Items like spent batteries, fluorescent tube lights, and any mercury-containing equipment are subject to universal waste requirements:
Generators of Universal Waste cannot dispose of it on-site and dilute or treat the waste
Generators must train employees in the proper handling and storage of Universal Wastes
All releases/spills of Universal Waste must immediately be contained and clean-up materials properly disposed of
Fortunately, thanks to an online recycling center locator tool, anyone looking to dispose of any of these items can conveniently identify and locate the nearest recycling center or organization that will take and reuse or properly dispose of the materials. All you have to do is enter the items you have, enter your zip code, and the tool will show you the nearest locations.
Local Landfill/Solid Waste Agency
Iowa is home to a large number of solid waste agencies and professionals. Having a large number allows for the convenient collection of a wide range of materials. Solid waste professionals are also terrific resources for information regarding best practices as well as how to properly dispose of your waste.
Dealing with wastes that cannot be dropped off at the landfill? A list of some of these wastes has been compiled along with organizations and locations that collect these specific materials.
It is important to note if any of your wastes are hazardous, as there are legal requirements set in place regarding the proper disposing method. For example, all hazardous wastes require the Toxicity Characteristic Leaching Procedure (TCLP Testing).
A representative sample of the waste is submitted to a lab, then it will either be determined as hazardous or not. If it is not deemed hazardous, it can be taken to the landfill. If it is, special requirements will be set and must be followed to maintain compliance.
For those working with sprayable painting material, Paint Tracker is a free tool developed by the IWRC's Iowa Air Emissions Assistance Program to assist small businesses with tracking emissions as well as material usage which is crucial to reducing waste and even lowering costs. Additionally, that information is required for recordkeeping requirements within Iowa Department of Natural Resources (DNR) Air Quality Construction Permits.
Paint Tracker was developed so you can easily record facility information, emission units, permit limits, product information, and usage. It also works great for recording information for multiple facilities. Then, when it necessary to create and share reports, simply log in and generate the reports needed.
This is a very short list of the resources available to help you reduce waste in your business operations. Need help with another waste stream? Let us know. We may be able to help you or direct you to another resource that can help.
About the Author
Iowa Waste Reduction Center