I just read the latest issue of The McKinsey Quarterly entitled 'Business strategies for climate change'. The report says, "Climate change is top of mind for many executives. We believe that the shift to low-carbon economy is already underway and that businesses must get ready for it, especially in energy, transport and heavy industry." The report suggests that businesses utilize existing methods to lower carbon output and suggests that it will be necessary to develop new low-carbon technologies to meet carbon reduction goals. It also suggests methods for implementation including reducing trash output, utilizing power from alternative sources like solar, wind and water, improving insulation and utilizing enzymes.
Have any businesses jumped on the Green bandwagon and made positive changes to the way they do business, manufacture products or handle waste? The answer is, absolutely, yes!
Here are some who are zero waste leaders...
Boulder Outlook Hotel - Zero waste program
Boulder Outlook Hotel in Boulder, Colorado is actively working toward Zero waste. Currently it recycles or composts 80% of it's waste. The current goal is 90%. They hold weekly brainstorm sessions to generate ideas on how they can become even greener. They utilize cornstarch based straws, cups and to-go containers which are compostable, utilize enviro-friendly cleaning products and give all frying oils to a bio-diesel firm. Their slogan is 'The cure for the common hotel'. They even have allergy friendly rooms with air filtration and other features. How cool is that!!
General Motors - landfill free program
GM's Transmission Facility in White Marsh, Maryland Achieves Landfill Free Status (28, August 2008). It eliminates 8,000 tons of trash by smart plant design, recycling, reusing, or removing and unique partnerships.
General Motors' goal is to have 1/2 of it's major manufacturing operations landfill free by 2010. Go GM go!!
Goodwill Industries works with GM disassembling obsolete containers. Then selling them to recyclers and compounders who turn the materials back into usable parts for the auto industry.
Anheuser Busch - Work Green program
Anheuser Busch Brewery in Baldwinsville, NY institutes numerous eco-friendly changes. The brewery recycles 99.9% of solid materials. They have also under taken measures to further reduce their carbon foot print. This was done by changing lighting -which led to a 40% savings, reclaiming heat, and utilizing an anaerobic digestion system (bio-energy) for waste - producing methane gas for 19% of their fuel needs.
15 other Anheuser Busch plants have bio-energy, some also utilize solar and one is brewing organic beer. You rock AB!!
Subaru - WasteWise program
Since 2004 Subaru Indiana Automotive (SIA) has achieved zero waste by recycling 99.3% of its' excess / leftover steel, plastic, wood, paper, glass and other materials. The remaining 0.7% is utilized by the city of Indianapolis to help generate steam. SIA was awarded EPA's Gold Achievement AwardOne in 2006 for its' long-standing environmental program 'Leave No Trace Center for Outdoor Ethics'. It has heightened awareness for a clean environment by taking it's Leave No Trace program on the road reaching over 8 million individuals, in 48 states. Thanks Subaru you're leading the pack!!!
Other auto companies are greening their manufacturing facilities too...
Subaru's "Zero Landfill Waste" Auto Plant Raises the Bar by John DiPietro says, "In the automotive high-jump event known as environmental safeguarding, Subaru set a world record of sorts by being the first automaker to achieve "zero waste to landfill" status. Indeed, the company set the bar very high, and it's great to see that others have been inspired to start clearing that bar as well. Honda's Alabama plant is also a zero-landfill plant. Rolls-Royce's Goodwood, England plant (opened in 2003) boasts an 8-acre "living roof." Covered with sedum plants, this roof provides insulation from the heat and the cold; of course, as is the case with all green plants, these sedum plants also clean the air by ingesting carbon dioxide and producing oxygen. The Rolls plant also sends waste leather (from the upholstery division) to shoe and clothing makers, and filters run-off water from the roof and parking lots before it enters an on-site lake. Ford's Rouge plant also employs a living roof and similar water-saving measures."
This is great!!! Now if we could only get all businesses, plants and products zero emissions too. Am I crazy to think that's possible?