Trash Talk with USANA

Cindy Arunga Environment 4 Comments

Waste Audit 2Happy Halloween, USANA!!

I hope you all get more than enough candy, and all-pumpkin-everything today!

My name is Cindy Arunga, and I am a new addition to the team here at USANA. I have been working particularly closely with USANA Green as well as the kosher portion of the Quality Assurance team, and enjoying every day of it for the past three months!

Recently, Jeff Robertson and I conducted two waste audits. One internally and the other externally.

First, let me give you a little background as to why this was so important to us before diving into our findings and recommendations.

In 2009, the landfills in the U.S were filled with the trash equivalent of the weight of 88 million cars. If that’s hard to visualize, try this: the trash produced in the United States alone was enough to circle the earth 24 times!

Waste Audit 1Still not quite seeing it? The average person generates 4.5 pounds of trash Every. Single. Day. We add up to 1.5 tons of solid waste per person, per year!

Now that you understand the enormity of the issue, let’s do some trash talk…specifically, USANA trash.

Waste Audit 3On the 14th of October, Jeff Robertson and I conducted an internal waste audit. This entailed looking through the contents of the trash cans in the warehouse to see what was being thrown away in order to ensure that everything was being disposed of in the right bins. We were particularly looking out for recyclables.

A day later, we went to Republic Waste Services-the company that handles USANA’s garbage-for an external audit that would comprise of waste from different departments within USANA.

After going over the findings, we concluded that we could be doing more. Even though the systems we have put in place to ensure the efficiency of our waste management have been fairly successful over the past few years, there is still room for us to improve.

Here’s what we thought would be useful to share with all of you in order to collectively enhance our recycling rates and do the most that we can to preserve the environment that we are a part of:

  1. Cardboard – When uncontaminated by food or oil, cardboard is easily recyclable. It is also biodegradable, but rather than leave it as litter, it is better to put it in the recycling bin. Tape and labels can be left on the cardboard prior to recycling. In 2013, USANA managed to recycle 598.67 tons of cardboard.
  2. Plastic – The easiest and most common plastics to recycle are made of polyethylene terephthalate (PETE) and are assigned the number 1. Examples include soda and water bottles, medicine containers, and many other common consumer product containers. Plastic bags are generally #2 plastic, which is recyclable. Most plastic bags are recycled into composite lumber, but can actually become a wide variety of products. Polyvinyl chloride, commonly used in plastic pipes, shower curtains, medical tubing, vinyl dashboards, and even some baby bottle nipples, gets number 3. Number 4 includes wrapping films, grocery & sandwich bags, and other containers made of low-density polyethylene and number 5 includes polypropylene containers used in Tupperware. Plastics number 3, 4 and 5 have a lower rate of recyclability. USANA recycled 16.54 tons of plastic in 2013.
  3. Metal – The most common metals accepted by scrap yards include copper, steel, aluminum, brass, iron and wires. The easiest way to determine what type of metal you’re dealing with is to use a magnet. If the magnet sticks to your metal, you have a ferrous metal in your hands, such as steel or iron. Most ferrous metals are not worth much money at scrap yards, but the scrap yard will still accept it and make sure it is recycled properly. If the magnet doesn’t stick, you have a non-ferrous metal, such as copper, aluminum, brass, stainless steel or bronze. These metals are very valuable to recycle and are worth more money at scrap yards. In 2013, USANA recycled 0.55 tons of metal.

We also recycled about 51.24 tons of paper in 2013, and hope to retain the upward trend this year.

Till next time, waste wise USANA!

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Comments 4

  1. Good article Cindy and that Usana is steeping up to the plate to expand its recyeling. I live in Nanaimo BC, Canada and we have had curb side recyeling for over 4 years. Certian Plastics, card board, newspapers, ect. are all recycled along with a container for food waste. It has made a difference in what we throw away, reduce and reuse.

    1. It’s so great when cities/states/provinces/etc. make it easy to reduce our impact! It doesn’t take long to develop a new habit of recycling when it’s right in front of you!

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