Sustainable Business Suggestions

One man gathers what another man spills. Some organic farms have started to pick up on money saving strategies such as collecting designated scraps from local restaurants, and adding them to their compost. In this mutually beneficial relationship, the business saves on their garbage bill, and the farm gets free compost. In the way that nature’s living organisms play off of each other in an ecosystem, this is the most fundamental form of sustainability.

The Taylor Companies is an Ohio furniture manufacturer that implements waste reduction initiatives, and the idea of a ‘zero waste business model.’ This boosts monetary return, lowers the environmental impact, and heightens proficiency. “. The zero waste business model calls on companies to reduce as much waste as possible during production, then reuse and recycle what can’t be avoided until waste is eliminated altogether. Ideally, a zero waste business would address every aspect of its waste stream, including wasted water and energy, in order to maximize production efficiency as well as eliminate pollution and toxics. It would take into account the life cycle of all inputs and outputs, and think about consumer behavior (http://www.nrdc.org/business/design/waste-weakness-how-business-efficiency-getting-smarter.asp).”

Some of the ways to accomplish this are first minimizing the amount of waste, including the efficiency of your electronics, printers, general plastics, “Energy Star” products, and lessening products that have to be disposed of elaborately. Plastics, sawdust, and wood, can all be given to organizations to be recycled.  Some places even take leather and more obscure materials. The Company Zero Landfill™ organization based out of Pittsburgh gives old architectural samples to artists and art educators for their various projects. The Homemade Wine Competition in Connellsville uses some of these samples as tickets for entry to their wine tasting. Another organization based out of Columbus Ohio called Caps Can Do © recycles bottle caps that otherwise couldn’t be recycled with their glass or plastic bottles.

When shopping for office furniture, lights, desktops, construction materials, try to find ones most energy efficient and reusable. These will save money over time, even though they often cost more initially. When a product is no longer effective or useful to one organization, other organizations can often still benefit from these goods.

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Filed under Business, Buy Local, Creative re-use, recycle, Reduce, Restaurants

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