The world of waste management is complex and often misunderstood. But with the right tools and knowledge, it can become a crucial component of a sustainable future. This is the perspective shared by Melissa Puchalla, VP of Sustainability Solutions at Wastebits, in a recent podcast episode titled “Waste Disposal Demystified.” Hosted by Dunja Jovanovic and published on May 24, 2023, the episode delves into the intricacies of waste management, the environmental impact of waste, and how Wastebits is pioneering better practices in the industry.
Demystifying Waste Disposal
Wastebits is a team of industry veterans with over 30 years of experience in waste management. The company provides a software-as-a-service program that addresses key challenges in the industry. This tool offers transparency and essential tools to various users, including haulers, waste brokers, waste facilities, and waste-generating companies. Their aim is to make waste management more efficient and to ensure compliance, thus enhancing workplace productivity. Wastebits also provides expert guidance and support to their customers, going beyond merely offering software solutions.
The Environmental Impact of Waste
Puchalla highlights the potential dangers of improperly managed waste, especially hazardous waste, which requires careful regulation and reporting. Examples of environmental damage include incidents such as train derailments and spills, which directly impact communities. Wastebits offers a vital solution by promoting visibility and transparency in waste management, which allows for the identification of the chemicals involved, the determination of appropriate waste destinations, and the communication between businesses tasked with handling such waste.
The Knowledge Gap and Misconceptions
A common misconception, according to Puchalla, is the belief that waste management is a straightforward process, or simply of “out of sight, out of mind.” Many people aren’t aware of what happens to their waste once it leaves their homes, businesses, or workplaces. This lack of awareness is an issue that needs addressing, and it’s here that the concept of Extended Producer Responsibility (EPR) comes into play.
EPR is a strategy that shifts responsibility towards the producer and away from municipalities, both physically and economically. It also provides incentives for producers to take into account environmental considerations when designing their products. This means that when companies dispose of hazardous waste, it isn’t just out of sight out of mind anymore. Companies are now being compelled to become more educated and responsible about the waste they generate and what they choose to do with it.
EPR mandates or regulations create a trickle-down effect, holding companies accountable for their waste management practices. This initiative is particularly vital for those who don’t know where to properly dispose of their waste or how to make informed decisions. The shift of responsibility is causing many companies to realize that they may need to transport their waste across state lines or even countries for processing, which is something they had yet to consider before.
Wastebits is playing a significant role in this education process, offering its customers expert guidance and support. They are helping companies understand their waste better and providing tools that allow for more efficient waste management and compliance
Wastebits’ Approach to Waste Management
Wastebits aims to mitigate the environmental impact of waste primarily through transparency. We provide companies with the ability to see the waste being handled, where it’s being disposed of, and how it’s being managed. This kind of visibility is relatively new in the industry and empowers companies to be more involved in the waste management process. It also ensures that haulers and waste facilities handle the appropriate waste for which they are permitted.
The Reaction of Companies
Companies are increasingly interested in doing the right thing, with many expressing a desire to recycle and reuse waste. However, recycling is not always practical or feasible. Wastebits educates companies about their waste and helps them understand their business better. They provide options that go beyond a one-size-fits-all approach to recycling or waste-to-energy, allowing companies to make informed decisions about waste management.
Leading Sustainability Solutions at Wastebits
As the VP of Sustainability Solutions, Puchalla brings 18 years of experience in the industrial and global supply chain space to Wastebits. She works on evolving the company’s software solutions to effectively communicate sustainability concepts such as emissions, industry standards, and reporting frameworks. The goal is to provide information on the emissions associated with landfilling or recycling, enabling informed decision-making and allowing companies to aggregate results from various waste vendors. This way, Wastebits aims to streamline waste reporting and help companies focus on their core business rather than chasing waste reports. In doing so, Wastebits also assists the waste industry in meeting customer and regulatory demands while highlighting exceptional companies that are making a positive impact.
The work that Wastebits does, as exemplified by the efforts of Melissa Puchalla, is a testament to the potential for innovation in waste management. By leveraging technology and prioritizing transparency, the company is paving the way for more sustainable and informed practices in the industry. This podcast episode offers a glimpse into the future of waste disposal, revealing it as a field ripe for transformation and evolution.
Listen to This Episode on podcasting platforms:
- Spotify: https://open.spotify.com/show/4t49QuNjTcqF7FjgcDOKFZ?si=71f6f3671c874ce8
- Apple Podcasts: https://podcasts.apple.com/us/podcast/green-new-perspective/id1569170704
- Google Podcasts: https://podcasts.google.com/feed/aHR0cHM6Ly9hbmNob3IuZm0vcy81ODFlOWU0MC9wb2RjYXN0L3Jzcw==
- Deezer: https://deezer.page.link/WAHEB3tNvvEm7eGC8
- Amazon Music: https://music.amazon.com/podcasts/0af43752-8363-4ab4-9069-e41bf77522e7/green-new-perspective
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