Yale University, MS
Carl J. Apicella Scholar 2014
Evolving Role of Business in Solid Waste Management
Project Description (while EREF Scholar):
Consumer product companies are increasingly active players in solid waste management (SWM), as global consumer products become gradually more complex and challenge the solid waste industry to explore new ways to accommodate growing consumer pressure. Through innovative product design and recycling campaigns, business is changing they way they manage consumer products so that there is a growing focus on waste management in addition to production and consumption. It is important to investigate the evolving role of business in SWM, as this trend enables the producer, rather than the consumer, to be responsible for product disassembly and recycling, and has implications for environmentally sustainable decision-making. What drives companies to eliminate and/or make innovative uses of waste? What evidence is available on the economic benefits from SWM by business? Tristanne’s research will address these questions and evaluate how businesses can play an enhanced role in product disposal and waste management.
The objectives of the research are to: 1) Identify business case studies that represent pioneers in the field of waste reduction and reuse for consumer products and research their incentives for implementing these SWM strategies; 2) Investigate how these innovative waste management strategies have impacted the amount of waste these companies have released to the environment through use of life cycle assessments of the consumer product in question; and 3) Evaluate implications for the consumer products business community and the greater SWM industry. By making use of Life Cycle Analysis (LCA) to research selected business case studies, this research will identify the environmental impacts of select consumer products and give credit to pioneer companies who have spearheaded SWM as a business development strategy. This research will consider the implications for the business and SWM industry and enable a culture of shared information between innovative businesses and their partners in the SWM industry.
Tristanne attended Skidmore College as an undergraduate and graduated with a double major in Economics and International Affairs and developed an interest in environmental economics. While at Skidmore, she participated in a yearlong study abroad program to Tanzania, India, New Zealand and Mexico that introduced her to issues at the intersection of policy, business and sustainability, which helped to set her on a path towards a career in the environmental field.
After graduating from Skidmore, Tristanne moved to Washington, D.C., where she worked with a small consulting firm on energy and IT infrastructure development projects in developing countries for the World Bank. She then got a job as an Associate Analyst at Abt Associates, a larger government-contracting firm, in their Environment and Natural Resources Division. Here she worked as a consultant for the US Environmental Protection Agency, Army Corps of Engineers, Inter American Development Bank, USAID and other government clients. She participated in the launch of the company’s first-ever Environmental Sustainability Program and worked closely with corporate management to improve the company’s practices in waste management, carbon footprint reduction, and sustainability-oriented company culture. She launched a company wide electronic waste recycling program, started a company Community Supported Agriculture Program (CSA) and annual Bike to Work Day and Earth day celebrations. Tristanne is pursuing a Master’s of Environmental Management (MEM) at Yale University’s School of Forestry and Environmental Studies, where she is focusing her research on the evolution of product stewardship in the United States. She is developing an empirical analysis which will focus on strengthening the connection between product stewardship, increased recycling rates, and emission avoided through landfill diversion.