WASTE HIERARCHY:
REDUCE, REUSE, RECYCLE.

Written by Erik Sorensen Ruiz

December 14th – 2020.

Many businesses are ignorant of how significant waste impacts their bottom line and the environment surrounding them. Reducing, reusing, and recycling waste are key actions to meet current consumption levels in a sustainable fashion. As the demand for materials grows worldwide, companies should try to ensure sustainable production patterns and follow the European Waste Hierarchy as a tool to transition to modern waste management.

Focusing on waste-prevention strategies is the highest level according to the waste hierarchy. To achieve this, material choice is key in manufacturing signage and graphics that can be long-lasting, increasing the quality of our products, and cutting waste in the long term. And by partnering suppliers, we have managed to order in custom lengths, and this has had a significant impact on the annual manufacturing waste in our factory in Billund. Waste levels have been cut down by 20% since 2011.

Out of all our manufacturing waste, 66% gets recycled in local recycling plants, and 27% disposed of via Waste-to-Energy (WtE) plants, which involves incineration with energy recovery, thereby reducing the need for landfilling which is the least desirable option due to its high environmental impacts. This makes up 93% of all our manufacturing waste, leaving only 7% of waste which is sent to disposal.

At our factory in Billund, we see modular signage as the gateway towards waste reduction, re-use, and recycling in our business. Applying modular design helps ensure that components can be separately recycled or reused without further processing at the end of the product life, thus stopping waste from being produced in the first place.

If we are to achieve Zero Waste in the coming decades, we must design waste out of our system by influencing consumption habits, rethinking business models, and making them waste-free through product design. And regardless of some limitations, the EU waste hierarchy provides a simple, yet ambitious strategy to achieve this change.

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