Getting to Zero (Waste): Free Business Resources + Trainings

Businesses seeking free resources on waste management and achieving their sustainability goals can turn to two upcoming opportunities, including the four-month American Institute of Architects (AIA) Zero Waste Challenge and free training courses from New York City Department of Sanitation (DSNY).

All businesses in New York City are required to recycle plastics, metal, glass, and paper – the same materials we recycle at home. While that seems simple enough, ensuring your business is set up for success can be challenging. Recently expanded regulations also require more commercial food businesses to separate and responsibly divert organic food waste. All businesses can be proactive by participating in the Zero Waste Challenge or DSNY’s free training courses.

For businesses that want to go above and beyond, the AIA New York Chapter will launch a four-month Zero Waste Challenge for businesses and firms across the city to reduce their waste and increase recycling. Participating businesses get free access to and support from zero waste consultants. AIA is partnering with Think Zero LLC, who will help participating businesses create a waste management plan and conduct waste assessments. The Challenge runs from mid-June through mid-October.

To participate, the Durst Organization will host a kickoff breakfast at Friday, June 15 at 8:30am at 4 Times Square, 4th Floor (in the Green) with full details for interested businesses and firms. To sign up, please email zerowaste@aiany.org by June 13. Full details are available here.

 Sign up for the AIA Zero Waste Challenge and gain access to resources and specialists to help your business divert more waste from landfill. Image by Wkshps.

Sign up for the AIA Zero Waste Challenge and gain access to resources and specialists to help your business divert more waste from landfill. Image by Wkshps.

For businesses looking for a refresher on commercial recycling, DSNY will offer free trainings to familiarize owners and operators of businesses from all sectors and sizes with the recycling rules, best practices, and tips to avoid violations. The six free trainings hosted by DSNY last 1 hour. Find a date below and register to attend here.

  • Tuesday, June 12 at 12:00 PM
  • Thursday, June 28 at 3:00 PM
  • Tuesday, July 10 at 12:00 PM
  • Thursday, July 26 at 3:00 PM
  • Tuesday, August 14 at 12:00 PM
  • Thursday, August 23 at 3:00 PM

Each year, New York City generates nearly 14 million tons of waste, and businesses and institutions collectively contribute a large portion of that waste. Unlike the residential pickups handled by the DSNY, business and institutional “commercial” waste is collected by private carters contracted with individual businesses or commercial property owners. Resources like these will help you stay in compliance and reach your waste reduction goals. For more information about recycling in businesses, visit www.nyc.gov/zerowastebusinesses

Rosemary Han