Waste diversion is when we take things that we normally throw away, and find valuable uses for them. These uses can be similar to the original use for an item, or they can become a part of a new process (repurposing). Waste diversion starts with a mindset, not an action. This concept is rooted in the idea that it is important for us all to take steps that lead us away from waste generation and towards a more environmentally and economically healthy society.
Some of you may be a little confused why I used the word economically to describe how waste diversion effects us. Materials diversion is one of the best ways to avoid unneeded costs and to get the most value out of any material. With average landfill costs hovering around $60 per ton, finding a use for your by-product or excess material is an easy way to keep more capital in your business.
Some products even have the ability to bring in revenue if they are found to be a valuable addition to another process. Take, for example, the use of coal fly ash in concrete production. The use of this by-product from energy production has been able to generate stronger and longer lasting concrete than pervious methods. This application created a previously non-existent market for this by-product, and now serves as a revenue stream for many producers.
The products end users can also benefit through product innovations and cost reduction. In addition to these positives, waste diversion can also help businesses reach sustainability goals such as minimizing waste, lowering CO2 emissions, or limiting the consumption of virgin materials.