Small Business Waste Diversion Description

Consult with a small business that needs assistance developing commodity capture (waste diversion) processes. A majority of small businesses do not have the staff time or expertise to tackle this part of their operation and as a result they are unaware of how to incorporate recycling and diversion methods, negotiate contracts to be revenue neutral (or revenue positive), or market their efforts to clients. A simple local example is a well-known bar in central IL. It has one dumpster in the parking lot and has no recycling or diversion efforts. A business case study conducted in the fall of 2015 identified that over 90% of what is discarded at that business has a diversion outlet and a competitive commodity price. The business needs assistance with logistics, contract negotiation, employee training and marketing.

Project Mentors

Dr. Tom Bierma
Missy Nergard (Office of Sustainability) Email

Competencies needed by faculty and students involved

Systems thinking. There are many facets to waste management which often include zoning ordinances, available space in the facility, compliance (and impending legislation), budget considerations, public perception, cost-benefit analysis, and available markets & commodity prices.

  • Writing and communications skills to provide intuitive and simple manuals and processes.
  • Analytical skills.
  • Research.
  • Innovation and creativity.

Final Deliverable

This project can be broken down into the development of a guide for small businesses that identifies simple steps to take, available resources, marketing venues, training materials, and potential financial advantages.