Workplace Waste Prevention


Calling all green champions! Businesses can do a lot when it comes to fostering sustainable behavior and building a cleaner, healthier community. First, make sure your operations are in compliance with all environmental regulations. Then, go the extra step by ramping up your waste diversion program, practicing simple waste reduction strategies, and adopting a green purchasing policy. These actions will help your business improve employee health, significantly reduce the amount of waste that goes to landfill and demonstrate to the community that you care about sustaining our environment.

Contact Milpitas Sanitation Customer Services at 408-988-4500 if you have any questions about recycling and garbage services. The City of Milpitas and Milpitas Sanitation provide free, extra perks to enhance your recycling experience, including a dedicated recycling coordinator to answer your questions and provide onsite waste assessments; training for your employees; and decals for indoor and outdoor containers. Contact the City of Milpitas at 408-586-3352 or the Reuse Line at 408-586-2680 if you have further questions.

Bay Area Green BusinessesBay Area Green Business

As consumers, we can vote with our dollars and show businesses what we value. Choosing environmentally-friendly products is one way to show that we care about a healthy environment. Another is to support green businesses. Here in the Bay Area, we're lucky to have a number of business owners who also value the environment. These Certified Bay Area Green Businesses vary in scope and service industries. If you're looking to shop green, find a local Bay Area Green Business to support today. If you're a business owner, learn how to become a Certified Bay Area Green Business.

Taking the 'Waste' out of Garbage

  1. Increase Your Waste Diversion

Recycling, composting, reuse, and source reduction activities make up a robust waste diversion program that will help your business divert waste from landfills. High waste diversion rates not only control litter and stormwater pollution but also help reduce greenhouse gas emissions and conserve natural resources.

  1. Conduct an annual waste assessment of solid waste streams so that you have current and accurate information on the quantity and composition of what is in your bins. This will enable your business to make informed decisions on how to allocate resources for source reduction, recycling, and composting programs. Learn more: Guide to Conducting and Analyzing a Food Waste Assessment.
  2. Maximize the amount of waste that is recycled and composted. Minimize opportunities for recycling and composting contamination (i.e., when certain materials are placed in the wrong bin, thereby, reducing or negating the value of recycling or composting).
    • Organics RecyclingHave a designated "green" champion or team to guide, account for, and promote waste diversion and prevention measures.
    • Set up recycling bins at central, strategic locations (e.g., next to large copier machines) as well as at each desk. It sometimes helps to keep all waste and recycling containers together so that people are not led to believe they can throw waste items in with the recycling or compost. If your business shreds its own paper, ensure that shredded paper is bagged in paper or clear bags to be recycled.
    • Set up compost bins in kitchens, kitchenettes, bathrooms, and outdoor areas to recover all food and yard discards as well as any food-related paper products such as paper take-out boxes, paper coffee cups, napkins, tissues, sandwich wrappers, pastry bags, etc.
    • Set up compost bins in appropriate outdoor areas if your business organization has a yard or landscape to manage.
    • Set up clearly marked electronic and hazardous waste bins to collect batteries, electronics, fluorescent lights, etc. next to waste bins. Have a designated person recycle or dispose of these and other items properly when the bin fills up.
    • Conduct regular training for employees on materials that belong in each bin. Send electronic reminders to your employees on items that may often be placed in the wrong bin.
    • Signage goes a long way! Have signs clearly displayed on or directly above bins to educate employees about materials that belong in each bin.
  3. Adopt special event best practices guidelines for your organization. A tremendous amount of waste is generated before, during and after special events that could've been prevented, recycled, and composted. Therefore, special events provide an opportunity for event organizers to plan ahead and choose which items are introduced into the waste stream. For tips on how to plan ahead and manage your special event's waste generation, download StopWaste: Special Event Best Practices Guide (PDF).
  1. Waste Prevention Best Practices
  1. Environmentally Preferable Purchasing