Myth #3: Corporations, profts, and theenvironment are at odds
Many people less engaged in sustainable business practicesare oten surprised to learn that corporations like Wal-Mart, GM,Nike, IBM and others have actually led the way in sustainablebusiness practices. And, not surprisingly, they are doing it orbottom line reasons.When we frst researched the idea o Recy-cleMatch, we discovered that IBM had madean amazing match, resulting in a net $3 Millionimprovement. Instead o paying $1.5 million to put materialsinto a landfll, they ound a way to sell those “waste” materialsor $1.5 million. That was an early signal that RecycleMatch hadound it’s market niche.Read more about IBM’s case study at http://zerowasteblog.recyclematch.com/ibm-pioneers-process-to-turn-waste-into-solar-energy Another signal o the dramatic changein the industry was Wal-Mart’s an-nouncement that the organization, its8,400 stores and 100,000+ suppliers were aiming to achievezero waste by 2025. Wal-Mart has the unique scale to see howsmall changes can make a big impact.For example, by switching to Fair Trade Certifed bananas inthe Sam’s Club stores only, they negated the need to purchaseand use 875,000 gallons o herbicides. By eliminating auto-matic printing o routine retail reports, they saved $20 millionin printing costs. Any time a supplier ound a way to reducepackaging, total cost / value improvements were seen in thepackaging costs as well as transportation costs and shel spaceoptimization. Multiply that times 100,000 suppliers in the supplychain and you’ll realize why they are committed to zero wasteby 2025. More at http://walmartstores.com/Sustainability/ Mike Robinson, GM vice president o Environment,Energy and Saety, highlights recycling as part o thestrong business case or sustainability eorts at GM.“GM has generated more than $2.5 billion in revenue since2007 through its various recycling activities” said Robinson. That’s on top o the value achieved when GM reuses and re-purposes materials within their own operations. GM announcedthis year that 52% o their world-wide acilities are landfll ree,and they aim to grow that fgure continuously. Learn more athttp://media.gm.com/content/media/us/en/news/news_detail.brand_gm.html/content/Pages/news/us/en/2010/Dec/1213_landfllProbably the most transparent and interestingo the corporate leaders is Nike. Not only havethey established a consumer-take-back pro-gram to recycle shoes, turning them into sport-courts, but theyalso are very orthcoming with the business reasons or theirsustainability actions. Their executives publically explain that i they were to continue to meet earnings and growth predicatedon a business-as-usual industry standard model, they wouldliterally require more natural resources than the earth has withinour lietimes. Nike exec Lorie Vogle notes that the produc-tion o one t-shirt currently requires over 700 gallons o water. That’s the kind o business driven inormation that is drivingthem to design more sustainable materials to uel growth wellinto the uture. Read more at http://blogs.reuters.com/adam-pasick/2009/10/24/nike-the-albatross-and-sustainable-design/
Myth #4: Carbon trumps waste as anenvironmental issue
Whether your environmental ocus is on carbon, energy, wateror other natural resources, you should care about waste. Wasteis inextricably connected to all o these pressing environmentalconcerns. For example, aluminum is 100% recyclable withoutlosing any o its virgin characteristics. Recycling the materialrequires only 5% o the energy and 5% o the carbon needed toproduce new virgin aluminum rom bauxite. Reusing the existingresource negates the need or open cut mining to extract theore, a practice that causes lasting damage to land. Read moreat http://www.benefts-o-recycling.com/recyclealuminum.htmlNot all impact o waste is as easy to calculate or has thesame dramatic benefts as aluminum. A detailed EPA studyrom 2007 (http://www.epa.gov/wastes/nonhaz/municipal/ pubs/06benefts.pd) estimates that the 32% o MSW (mu-nicipal solid waste, the tiny slice in the chart above) recycledtoday saves an equivalent amount o C02 as taking 39.4 millioncars o the road. That’s about 15.5% o all the cars in the US.But that’s just the small percent o waste that is recycled romhouseholds, ofce lunch rooms and other non-manuacturingbusiness. It does not apply to the 7.6 billion in industrially gener-ated waste.We recognize that the MSW calculation wouldn’t apply uni-ormly to all materials generated by business and industrialsources. Some would have more impact while others wouldhave less impact. But i the average impact was the same,the impact resulting rom industrial waste in the US each yearwould be equivalent to 35.6 billion cars on the road, around 43times more cars than exist in the world today. More at http:// en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Automobile.Even i that calculation is only directionally helpul, it’s mind-blowing to consider the carbon impact hidden in our dump-sters. To get at more exact estimates or the impact associated withyour company’s waste or waste reduction eorts, there are anincreasing number consultants and experts available to workwith individual corporations and supply chains. RecycleMatchhas relationships with a number o these organizations andwould be glad to make introductions since this is not the kind o work we do as an online marketplace.