October 18, 2011

City of Chicago Restarts Waste to Profit Network

Program to Reduce Waste, Reduce Emissions and Retain Jobs

The City of Chicago announced today that it has issued a grant to the United States Business Council for Sustainable Development (US BCSD) for the re-launch of the Chicago Waste to Profit (WTP) Network, a by-product synergy project in which wastes and under-valued resources at one facility are matched with users at another, resulting in cost savings for the participating businesses while diverting waste from landfills, reducing energy use and CO2 emissions and helping create and retain jobs.  

The highly successful network was started in 2006 by the Chicago Manufacturing Center and the US BCSD in partnership with the City of Chicago Department of Environment, the Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity, and US EPA Region 5.  

When the Network was launched in 2006 it had the objective of identifying and facilitating waste exchanges that would result in cost savings to participating businesses. The US BCSD has expanded upon the former model by proposing integration of an innovative private sector financing model for viable energy-saving synergies and collaboration beyond waste reduction and reuse to include a broad spectrum of sustainability-related issues that directly impact the Chicago Climate Change Action Plan. The US BCSD intends to create a forum for this collaboration that will meet both in person and on-line, which will link the Chicago Network to other US BCSD BPS projects throughout the US and world. 

"We have seen in Chicago and elsewhere around the country that cross-industry collaboration opens the door to a wave of economically viable reuse and efficiency opportunities, resulting in significant job creation and wide-spread economic development,” said Andy Mangan, US BCSD's  Executive Director.  “A new accelerator is that we now have a private sector financing model to fund implementation of those viable projects.”

The WTP Network addresses Chicago’s sustainability needs by working together with Chicago area companies, institutions, and City of Chicago departments to identify and implement by-product synergies that reduce waste and greenhouse gas emissions and deliver economic impact.  

“The re-launch of the Waste to Profit Network will allow Chicago and the region to improve upon our waste diversion strategies, reduce green house gas emissions, and just as importantly maintain jobs during these rough economic times”, said Karen Weigert, Chicago Chief Sustainability Officer.  “We can’t ignore the many success stories that have taken place as a result of the Network. The foundation is in place and we must continue to build on those accomplishments and explore ways to improve the process.”

The US BCSD is a non-profit business association that provides opportunities for its members to work on authentic sustainability projects with industry, government, academia, and other key stakeholders who might not otherwise have the chance to collaborate and network.  The projects generate economic returns while improving the environment and society — the triple bottom line. The US BCSD is part of a broad network of 60 national councils worldwide, and is a partner of the World Business Council for Sustainable Development, a global network of 200 international companies with members drawn from 30 countries and 20 major industrial sectors.

 

The US BCSD's Goals for 2011-2012 Chicago WTP Network include:

  • 75 member organizations
  • $5MM in savings from landfill diversion
  • Reduction of 15,000 tons of CO2 equivalent

Stats regarding the Chicago WTP Network since 2007:

  • Over 225,000 tons of solid waste diverted;
  • Approximately 0.16 million metric tons CO2 eliminated;
  • $20M in estimated economic impact/business bottom line impact;
  • Over 45 jobs created or retained.

Previous case studies:

  • Glass cullet from Engineered Glass Product recycled into glass countertops by Gilasi/Innerglow Surfaces;
  • Mixed contaminated plastics recycled into plastic curb stops used by Department of Fleet Management;
  • Diversion of 20,000 tons of industrial bleach from Abbot Laboratories to ArcelorMittal Steel;
  • Numerous cases of increased recycling of challenging commodities.

 For more information about US BCSD and by-product synergy, please visit www.bps-hub.org or call 512.921.8438

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