Icon zero waste, sign of recycling, recycling, eco life, eco-friendly garbage. Green sign

In the far corner of Interclean, there was a massive hint of where the cleaning industry — and the world — will be forced to head.

This planet has finite resources and limited space. In the not-too-distant future, every industry will need to find solutions that contribute to zero waste initiatives.

During Interclean, the Zero Waste Foundation lead demonstrations of anatomies of different waste streams. While educating attendees, they also encouraged audience members to don gloves and coats and participate in the trash sorting. Trash went from one bag to one of 16 different containers. 

Typical office waste, for example, contains paper, food scraps, plastic cups and containers and much more. Not all of this is trash. Some items can be recycled or composted. A waste audit of the RAI offices, which puts on the Interclean event, found that only 9 percent of its waste was true trash destined for landfills.

In addition to analyzing its waste stream, facilities will soon be able to take other measures to reduce waste. In Europe, facilities will be able to participate in a paper towel recycling program. Restroom users simply need to throw their used towels in a designated bin. Then, the towel manufacturer's service provider will pick up the used towels and the manufacturer will remake them into toilet tissue. It's the next evolution of zero waste and could eventually be brought to the United States.

For more on incorporating zero waste processes, click here.