HOW: Use the new national standardized labels on your recycling bins to: 1) reduce confusion at the bin, 2) increase your capture rates, 3) reduce the contamination entering the recycling stream, and 4) to reduce your expenses.
To learn where to dispose of hazardous materials, such as paint, chemicals, medicine, electronics, CFLs, batteries, etc. click here.
WHY: According to the United States Environmental Protection Agency (Sept 2010) less than 35% of households and less than 10% of businesses recycle. When the number of people recycling reaches 75%, it will be the equivalent of removing 50 million cars from the road in the United States each year, it will generate 1.5 million new jobs and it will reduce U.S. carbon emissions by 276 million metric tons by 2030. And recycling limits additional use of natural resources therefore preserving our water, trees, soil and energy. Nearly every person, family and business can recycle. Recycling is one of the most important and visible actions we can do for the environment.
FINANCIAL BENEFITS OF RECYCLING: Recycling can reduce the frequency and the volume of garbage hauling therefore reducing the the landfill taxes that each home owner and business pays. Recycling incurs no taxes and the costs of both recycling and hauling combined is often measurably less than garbage services without recycling. National and global studies (Gallup, Good Purpose, Tandberg) reveal more than 85% of consumers state they will switch companies or products to support ones that are more environmentally and socially responsible, if given the opportunity. Since 'green' is a market share issue, recycling is a great way to publicly & visually demonstrate that your organization cares. Use the standardized labels on your recycling bins to capture the most amount of materials to reduce your landfill related expenses. Last but not least, Cone Research and others (2007), found that 92% of employees surveyed have an increased positive image of the company they work for when it practices environmentally and socially responsible initiatives such as recycling. Improved employee relations has been found to decrease employee turnover. Another bottom-line measurement.
RECYCLING CASE STUDY: Waste reduction agencies and consultants have helped many small and large businesses reduce their waste expenses by 35% or more each month. Additionally for food related industries, there are grease/oil, organic and food waste recycling service providers that will sometimes pay for a company's food related waste or provide additional hauling savings. Once a company has made the decision to recycle, they often have a greater awareness of their overall waste stream and find opportunities to reduce over-usage and unnecessary waste, which in turn reduces front-end expenses.
INSTALL ENERGY EFFICIENT LIGHTING
WHY: According to ENERGY STAR, energy efficient fluorescent lighting reduces CO2 emissions up to 75% compared to incandescent lighting. LED lighting can reduce CO2 emissions nearly 95%. If each household changed one incandescent light bulb to compact fluorescent, it would be the environmental equivalent of removing one million cars off the road. To learn more about how to choose Energy Star rated lighting, click on the Energy Star logo.
FINANCIAL BENEFITS OF ENERGY STAR PREFERRED LIGHTING: ENERGY STAR qualified bulbs use about 75 percent less energy than standard incandescent bulbs; last up to 10 times longer; saves about $30 or more in electricity costs over each bulb’s lifetime; produces about 75 percent less heat, making them safer to operate as well as decreases energy costs associated with cooling. High efficiency light bulbs are available in a variety of sizes and shapes, allowing them to fit almost any fixture, both for indoor and outdoor use.
A small business with less than 1,000 square feet can save upwards of $2,000 in energy costs when they improve their lighting. Larger corporations are saving upwards of hundreds of thousands of dollars by making lighting improvements. Many states and energy companies are offering rebates and refunds for businesses that are installing high-efficiency lighting. These rebates and refunds will not be available forever so make sure you take advantage of the opportunities that currently exist.
PROPERLY DISPOSING OF FLUORESCENT LIGHT BULBS: Please click on the ENERGY STAR logo to learn about proper disposal and recycling of fluorescent bulbs and tubes and to learn about the risks associated with mercury.
HIBERNATE OR SHUT DOWN COMPUTERS
HOW: To learn how to shut down your computer system and use computer power management devices, click on the Energy Star logo below.
WHY: 500 computers set to hibernate after 5 min during production times and shut down completely during non-working hours will prevent 72.5 tonnes of CO2 from emitting. (It takes 51,000 adult trees to offset 72.5 tonnes of CO2 ).
FINANCIAL BENEFITS OF HIBERNATING/SHUTTING DOWN COMPUTERS: The above scenario would reduce the business's energy bill $24,000/yr ($.10/kwh).
AUTHORITY RECOMMENDING THIS ACTION:
HOW: Maintain all plumbing to prevent drips and leaks. Install low-flow/high-pressure faucets, toilets and spigots throughout your home. Limit your shower time to 6 minutes or less. Unless you're using the water at each moment, shut it off. For instance: While you have your toothbrush in your mouth brushing your teeth, shut the water off; while you're lathering your hair with shampoo or conditioner, or washing yourself, shut the water off until you're ready to rinse. Use the water only as you need it. For more information about water flow standards for residential and commercial, click here.
WHY: One dripping faucet can waste 2,000 gallons a year. The Environmental Protection Agency reports that at least 36 of the 50 states will experience local, regional or statewide water shortage by 2013. Each day the average American spends 100 to 176 gallons of water. In many countries people survive on less than 5 gallons per day. Look for all of the ways you can conserve this precious natural resource at home, at work or when you're out and about.
FINANCIAL BENEFITS OF MAINTAINING PLUMBING & CHOOSING EFFICIENT FIXTURES: Maintaining plumbing to prevent drips, leaks and running toilets can help you save the expense of: wasted water, increasingly problematic plumbing and related issues such as damaged sheet rock, structural decay, tile, mold, health issues... Consider installing low flow/high pressure fixtures to conserve the water and your dollars even more; the rate of return is generally quick and worth the investment. Don't forget to recycle old plumbing fixtures and hardware. Look for opportunities throughout your home to be more water-wise. You'll be amazed at the opportunities to save water and money.
USE RECYCLED PAPER AND AIM FOR PAPERLESS
HOW: Choose paper for your printer, copiers, fax machines that is manufacturer with post consumer recycled paper. Most office supply stores carry 100% recycled paper. Also, choose napkins, toilet paper, paper towels made from recycled paper (choose paper products that haven't been bleached white). And use cloth rags for cleaning when appropriate versus paper products. Try to go paperless as much as possible by choosing e-bills and making your payments and transactions online.
WHY: On average it requires 60% less energy to produce paper from recycled stock than from virgin materials. Producing one ton of virgin paper requires 20 trees and 7,000 more gallons of water than one ton of 100% recycled paper. Recycle and purchase products manufactured with recycled materials to: 1) close the loop, 2) to improve the economics of recycling and next-life manufacturing and, 3) to maximize the environmental benefits of recycling. For more environmental and economic statistics about recycling paper and purchasing recycled paper, click here.
FINANCIAL BENEFITS OF CHOOSING POST CONSUMER RECYCLED PAPER PRODUCTS: Work toward ‘paperless’ to offset the sometimes higher costs of post consumer recycled paper and to also reduce the expense of toners, ink, equipment, repairs, and disposal. When possible, double-side the paper used in your printers, copy and fax machines and look for equipment that provides that feature automatically. The more that society 1) recycles, 2) purchases products manufactured with recycled content and, 3) reduces waste, the more that the marketplace and everyone will benefit financially with more affordable environmental choices and reduced expenses related to waste.
USE NO OR LOW CO2 TRANSPORTATION
HOW: When getting around town, consider biking, walking or using public transportation when available. If you do need to use a car, consider car-pooling and/or choosing a low CO2 vehicle if possible. Also, telecommuting (aka working from home) is also a great way to reduce or eliminate CO2 emissions and often reduces traffic and commuting-related stress; if possible, ask your employer if it is possible to work from home. To compare low CO2 transportation options, click here.
WHY: The Department of Health, Education and Welfare has estimated that automobiles account for approximately 48% of the carbon monoxide, 32% of the nitrogen oxides, and 59% of the hydrocarbons in the atmosphere. None of which are good for our environment or our health. A bus with as few as seven passengers is more fuel efficient than the average automobile used for commuting. The fuel efficiency of a fully-occupied bus is six times greater than that of the average commuter's automobile, while the fuel efficiency of a fully-occupied rail car is fifteen times greater than that of the average commuter's automobile. A single person who commutes via a transit system instead of driving alone will save 200 gallons of gasoline per year. A 10% nationwide increase in transit ridership would save 135 million gallons of gasoline per year. This fuel efficiency results in personal savings and in a cleaner environment for all.
A car occupied by one person produces on average 2.06 grams/passenger-mile (g/pm) of nitrogen oxides for work trips. A fully occupied transit bus on the other hand, produces approximately 1.54 g/pm, while a fully occupied rail transit system produces only .47 g/pm for the same distance. Similarly, the car occupied by one person produces 15.06 g/pm of carbon monoxide and 2.09 g/pm of hydrocarbons. The bus produces 3.05 g/pm and .2 g/pm of the same pollutants, respectively. From an environmental point of view, trains and electric powered mass-transit is the best form of motorized transportation. While of course, walking and biking are the ultimate forms of transportation for our health and our environment.
Choosing fuel efficient cars ... If each car in the U.S. had improved mileage by 2.7 mpg, we would eliminate our dependency entirely from Persian Gulf oil.
FINANCIAL BENEFITS OF NON-MOTORIZED OR LOW CO2 TRANSPORTATION: Biking, walking, mass transit and carpooling are all ways to significantly reduce the cost of transportation. Less fuel costs, less insurance costs and less wear and tear on your car. And biking or walking promotes a healthier lifestyle and consequently less costs related to illnesses. There are often financial incentives available to companies and employees from health insurance providers who recognize the importance of regular exercise. Check with your employer about incentives for low CO2 transportation choices (discounts on bus/train passes, biking incentives, carpooling incentives, etc). If your company does not have these types of incentives, ask them to consider creating a low CO2 incentive program for employees.
AVOID PLASTIC BOTTLED WATER
HOW: Test your water for drinking quality. If the results show that your home has good quality drinking water than use reusable water bottles (preferably aluminum) for water on the go. For drinking water on hand, keep a picture of water in your refrigerator so it is chilled and ready to drink. To order a do it yourself test kit for your water, click here. If your water tests show that your water should be filtered for drinking water, consider the options that provide the most savings and the highest drinking quality. To learn more about filtration options and comparisons, click here.
WHY: Americans throw away 2.5 million plastic bottles every hour. If you are going to purchase plastic bottled water, make sure you recycle it. Five plastic bottles (PET) recycled provides enough fiber to create one square feet of carpet or enough fiber fill to fill one ski jacket. Recycling one ton of plastic bottles saves the equivalent energy usage of a two person household for one year.
FINANCIAL BENEFITS OF ELIMINATING PLASTIC BOTTLED WATER: Depending on how much bottled water you currently purchase, you could save significant amounts of money by no longer purchasing bottled water and instead using filtered or tap water, which is usually less than 1% of the cost of bottle water.
I use them whenever I remember, and I avoid bags altogether when I can.
CHOOSE GREEN PRODUCTS AND BUSINESSES
HOW: Choose products that are natural and organic whenever possible. If natural and organic isn't an option, choose the greenest alternative without compromising effectiveness and quality. Choose products and service companies that have earned environmental certifications. Here is a link to an article about various certifications: Certification definitions and links.
ASK THE COMPANIES AND BUSINESSES YOU SUPPORT TO CREATE AN ECO-PROFILE: Ask the companies you support to complete an Eco-Profile to display what actions they are doing environmentally and certifications they have earned. Choose companies that are greening their operations and being transparent in their actions. Currently less than 10% of businesses in the US recycle. If more businesses and organizations have requests from their customers to complete an Eco-Profile, more businesses will begin 'greening' their operations.
WHY: By increasing usage and demand of sustainable, natural and/or organic products we reduce dependence on non-renewable resources which tend to be harmful in their production and cause numerous harmful by-products. Organic and natural products have been shown in a number of studies to contain more vitamins, nutrients and cancer-fighting antioxidants than processed or synthetically enhanced ingredients. These products are good for the environment and good for our health.
FINANCIAL BENEFITS OF SUSTAINABLE, ORGANIC, RENEWABLE, NATURAL PRODUCTS: There are increasing demands for healthier products and that demand is making the prices for such products more competitive. The market for 'greener' products is increasing faster than any other category in the marketplace. The future of our economy will reside with a balance between "good for the environment and good for the pocket-book". With the advancement of this emerging 'green' industry comes new jobs and a reduced reliance on off-shore suppliers ... while never losing sight of the global economy. It is the quintessential sustainable economic stimulus package of our time, if we capture it.
Wild Harvest products are produced without preservatives or manufactured enhancers, you’ll never find an unpronounceable word in their ingredients. Wild Harvest's wide selection of products are created with one philosophy in mind - simply food ... natural, delicious and affordable. Organic Farming means moving away from synthetic pesticides and herbicides and towards natural, sustainable agriculture. Organic foods help sustain small farms and safeguard the environment by protecting the earth's soil and preserving water quality. Soil fed with organic matter produces healthy, nutrient-rich plants. Naturally, flavor would follow.
Click on the logos below to learn more about organics, sustainable and renewable products:
Apples- they taste better
Soap- they feel/smell better
Water Bottles- they save money and resources
HOW: Create your Eco-Profile and then using the "Share button" in the upper left column, share your Eco-Profile on your social sites and ask your friends/followers/fans/co-workers/employer/family and business relationships to also create their Eco-Profiles. By doing so your EcoTree of Progress will display how many individuals and organizations you have inspired.
WHY: Encouraging the businesses that you support to meet this baseline creates exponential environmental progress in every regard. Mainstreaming these basic actions will measurably improve our impact on the environment and prepare us for the next level of progress. The current disorganization and chaos of 'green' is hindering progress, therefore getting society on the same page by doing some of the same simple actions and communicating those actions will bring exponential environmental progress.
FINANCIAL BENEFITS OF INSPIRING OTHERS: Green is a market share issue. In multiple studies such as Cone Research, Gallup, GoodPurpose, Tandberg, 85% of consumers surveyed stated they will switch companies or products to support ones that are more environmentally and socially responsible if given the opportunity.
The challenge has been, consumers have no way of knowing which companies are environmentally progressive and which ones aren't, until now.
HOW: Determine what cause you would like to donate to, i.e: environment, children, health, poverty, arts, disabilities, etc. Then determine where you would like to contribute i.e., your local community, regionally, nationally, globally or another specific country. Also determine how you would like to contribute i.e., money only, volunteering only, goods only or a combination of all of those gifts. Perform an online search using the criteria that you've just established and enjoy the process of learning about the charities you are researching. If you intend to contribute a sizable amount to a non-profit, ask to speak with the Executive Director of the non-profits that you are considering to get a full sense of what their organization is doing and what the impact of their efforts are. Ask the organization to share measurable goals of their efforts and how they intend to use your contributions. To research charities use tools such as Charity Navigator.
WHY: Giving through donations of cash, goods and/or time generates a win not only for the benefactor and the community it serves, but often also creates exponential progress by setting a precedence for others to give. Expanding the culture of giving and contributing to society, lends itself to a healthier and more productive society all together.
It's a good thing to put on the rose-colored glasses as your guide every once and a while to see what you want the world to be. Each person, regardless of their size, age, gender, color, ethnicity, education, financial status, professional status or geographic area, has the ability to change the world ... one smile, one word, one hug, one act of kindness, or one act of heroism at a time.
Each moment we interact with people and the world around us we have an opportunity to create a positive, simple, selfless experience that can have exponential effects, often leaving others elevated and conduits to "pass it on". Simple acts of respect, courtesy, compassion and integrity practiced daily with your family, your neighbors, your friends, your co-workers and strangers, can go a long way and has the ability to change the world in bite-size pieces. These simple acts are often under-valued and forgotten about. In other words, you don't always have to take out the checkbook or donate your time in order to make a difference. If each of us made a conscious effort to apply the golden rule without condition, and to break hurtful and harmful habits, improvement will come quickly. And the beauty is ... when you begin to consistently apply the golden rule with others (even strangers) those actions have just as much positive impact on you, your day and your life as it does on the benefactor. With the golden rule, don't pick an audience ... apply it to everyone, even those that you have preconceived notions about. Live it, display it and teach it to your children.
For those who can afford the time and/or money to go above and beyond that daily code of conduct, there are many options for giving. Pick your passion ... focus on the category of life you'd like to improve and go for it, using whatever means you can afford. Use the Charity guides to learn how about all of your choices and determine which organization is best to help you achieve your "giving goals".
FINANCIAL BENEFITS OF GIVING: Speak with your account about tax write-offs and deductions of your contributions. The golden rule is the most valuable asset all of us can employ in our lives ... It's free and often it is reciprocated beyond your wildest imagination. Also a great combatant to depression or loneliness is reaching out and volunteering time or services to help others less fortunate than you.
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