Burt's Bees Donates $150K to the National Geographic Society to reduce individual plastic consumption
The motivation to go green has not only increasingly become part of many company’s corporate social responsibility but also as an aspect of remaining relevant in the future business environment. Besides, there are more and more environmental concerns that can only be addressed through green initiatives in terms of production, servicing and manufacturing.
Companies are therefore seeking more innovative methods of promoting eco-friendly environments by integrating green practices in their business functions. The following are the top companies that are taking the lead in incorporating eco-friendly practices by going green.
McDonald’s as one of the world’s largest food stores is taking the lead in going green by incorporating the outcomes of fast foods on people’s health while reducing their overall energy consumption. Particularly, the company uses energy-efficient appliances thereby cutting energy wastage by 25% during in their business activities. McDonald’s have also set up green parking lots by preserving them for only hybrid vehicles. The parking lots equally have permeable concrete with the capability of recharging the vehicles and cleaning ground water. Furthermore, McDonald’s use considerate means to obtain their animal products so as to limit their impacts on destroying animal habitats.
Dell is a leading manufacturer of computer equipment. With an aim of limiting environmental impacts, Dell has promoted the safe disposal of their products by coming up with an effective and efficient recycling program. Dell allows customers to give back any Dell-branded equipment to the company for free which encourages safe disposal and reduces the overall e-waste count. The company even accepts computers, printers and monitors from other brands for safe disposal.
Google has also made some tremendous efforts in going green by slashing their energy usage and supporting green energy projects. For instance, Google has constructed the world’s most energy efficient data centers and continuously campaigns for the need for energy conservation and the use of renewable energy sources as well as clean energy products. Google has supported and funded green energy projects by buying and installing numerous windmills and solar panels.
Bank of America
The Bank of America went green when it realized the need for promoting a sustainable environment. Within a period of five years, the bank was able to cut its paper requirements by 32%. The bank also started an internal recycling program and it has achieved success by recycling about 30,000 tons of paper every year. This translates into conserving about 200,000 trees. What’s more, the company offers 3000 dollars cash-back reward to workers who shift to the use of hybrid cars.
Telsa Motors is a business involved in the manufacturing of cars that are eco-friendly. The amazing aspect about it is that it does so without forfeiting the power and speed of the cars. The electric powered cars made by Tesla Motors are very efficient and can go from 0 to 60 in just 3.9, with a tantamount of 256MPG from its electric output. The cars are sleek and their overall maintenance costs are also cost-effective.
Wal-Mart has made significant advances in positioning itself to further green courses in their supply chain operations. As one of the world’s biggest retailers, the company startled many and its competitors when it placed a strict policy to cut off suppliers whose manufacturing, processing and distribution methods contributed to vast carbon emissions. The Wal-Mart retail stores also utilize 100% renewable energy sources and their transportation systems maintain on fuel-efficiency.
Honda has taken various steps to be 100% at par with their environmental protection duty as an auto company. The company has invested a lot of resources in producing fuel-efficient vehicles and is constantly seeking ways to develop a hydrogen fuel cell powered vehicle. As such, Honda is ranked as one of the most fuel-efficient auto producers in the US. At the same time, the company promises to cut down its carbon dioxide emissions. The company is also carrying out research with an aim of foreseeing a day when most cars will depend on hydrogen fuel as opposed to gasoline.
United (Continental Airlines before the merger)
The continental Airline (now United after the merger with united airlines) is another company that joined the worthy course of going green. It spent more than 16 billion US dollars to replace all their airplanes with those that are more fuel-efficient. This aimed at reducing emission by 5%. Further, since the year 2000, the airline has managed to reduce nitrogen oxide emissions by 75%. The airline has also employed about a dozen environmentalist staff members who work hand in hand with engine manufacturers to ensure more efficient processes and greener designs. The company also sorts its trash for recycling.
Tesco, a British grocery supply chain company, is not left behind in integrating green elements in its processes. Specifically, it offers shoppers who return shopping bags savings. Besides that, the energy powering its stores is from wind power. It has also heavily invested on recycling, the use of biodiesel truck for making deliveries, and estimating its carbon footprint on each item sold to have a better approach towards environmental sustainability.
Brooks has impressively joined the band wagon of green-oriented companies introducing a completely biodegradable running shoe. The shoe is as durable as the conventional ones that exist in the market. The technique used ensures the shoe only begin to biodegrade when it is in an active enclosed landfill. The biodegrading period takes 20 years as opposed to the conventional ones that take about 1,000 years. In other words, this approach can save up to 30 million pounds of landfill dumping within the same 20 year period.
S.C. Johnson, a company dealing with the manufacture of household products, has also joined the league of green companies. Its mission is to lessen the implications its products have on the environment. On this account, the company has managed to reduce 1.8 million pounds of volatile organic compounds from its Windex artifacts and another 1.4 million pounds of polyvinylidene chloride from Saran Wrap. The company has minimized the use of coal to generate power by replacing most of it with natural gas.
Coca-cola has made substantial strides in narrowing down to three most-important environmental goals. These include water preservation, energy and climate protection, and sustainable packaging. These initiatives imply a determination to be environmentally conscious. Accordingly, Coca-cola is actively involved in community recycling programs, use of efficient energies in production and supplies, and green packaging designs.
Starbucks is known worldwide as a top-ranking coffee shop. Besides that, it’s among the list of top companies that are going green. It has managed to do this by enforcing measures such as the bean-to-cup approach and the ingenious use of recycled coffee grounds in the making of their coffee tables. Starbucks is also in partnership with numerous environmental organizations, one of them being Earthwatch Institute, and continues to execute various environmental initiatives.
Toyota, the world’s largest car manufacturing company, has also come up with innovative cars that reduce the overall carbon footprint. One of the most outstanding cars is the Prius model which is also celebrated as the world’s first mass-market hybrid vehicle. The car has been sold to more than 38 countries worldwide and even EPA has acknowledged its efficiency in terms of fuel consumption. In the UK, it is categorized as the third least carbon-emitting vehicle.
Pratt & Whitney
Going green takes many aspects. One of them is scaling back on the use of raw materials. This is particularly how Pratt & Whitney company has made it to the list of top companies that are going green. Pratt & Whitney has cut back 90% of its ingots in the jet engine blades manufacturing process. With the use of this creative method, Pratt & Whitney has managed to lower the amount of wasted ingots while at the same time significantly reducing factory emissions.
HP (Hewlett Packard)
Hewlett Packard is another computing company that has consistently undertaken sustainable manufacturing and processes to reduce the harm its products pose on the environment. Particularly, it has taken impressive steps in ensuring the current HP branded materials are 100% recyclable. It has also revamped its computer disposal strategy by opening various operational e-waste recycling plants across the globe. Further, HP takes back computer equipments of all brands, and is committed to the use of renewable energy sources.
Target has realized the positive outcome of keeping an eye on eco-friendly sound business practices. Target has devised an innovative way of going green by introducing an eco-clothing line. The eco-clothing line is fashioned and designed by environmentally sound and dynamic fabric which limits the over-reliance of raw products. The retail operations also prioritize on lighting conservation at its shopping centers. Furthermore, Target funds and supports various environmental sustainability programs in the areas of education and environmental conservation.
ALDI becomes first grocery store to promise to switch to all compostable or recyclable packaging on all products
Every single item in ALDI grocery stores will soon come in 100% compostable, recyclable or reusable packaging, the supermarket chain announced this week.
That means all of the plastic bags that currently contain chips, snacks, cereal, frozen items, produce, and pretty much every packaged grocery you can think of, will have to be redesigned.
ALDI is in a unique position to accomplish this goal, as 90% of the stores’ products are made exclusively for ALDI.
“As the sole customer, the chain has incredible power to dictate how manufacturers package, ship and present their items,” the release says.
The manufacturers of the other 10% of popular products will have to redesign their packaging as well, if they want to keep selling them in ALDI stores.
ALDI is a major grocery chain with 1,800 stores and more than 40 million customers across 35 states.
The company says it will also include a How2Recycle labeling system, to empower its customers to actually recycle.
ALDI says it has never offered single-use plastic shopping bags, which the company estimates has kept billions of plastic bags out of landfills and oceans.
“The commitments we’re making to reduce plastic packaging waste are an investment in our collective future that we are proud to make,” said CEO Jason Hart
Warehouses are busy places. Goods are constantly on the move; inbound and outbound deliveries have to be dealt with as well as the movements of items from location to location. Many businesses now incorporate packing and assembly operations within the warehouse, creating an even more complex environment.
Businesses are trying to maximize their return on each dollar spent on warehouse operations. As well as incorporating value-added processes in the warehouse companies are looking to use environmentally focused procedures to reduce costs while increasing their social responsibility efforts.
When businesses look at making their warehouse processes more environmentally focused, they generally look at three main areas; reduce, reuse and recycle.
ReduceWhen we look at a warehouse there are many areas where businesses can reduce consumption, whether this is consumption of energy or resources. In turn, both of these concepts can help reduce spending. As energy costs continue to rise, any reduction in consumption will help the environment and a company’s bottom line.
Many businesses have been working to reduce the amount of packaging they use in shipping products. Advances in packaging materials allow a reduction in weight while maintaining efficiency. The reduction in packaging weight not only reduces shipping costs but saves energy by moving packing material and packed items around the warehouse. Biodegradable packaging materials are also an important part of this scenario, so customers are not liable for disposing of environmentally harmful packaging.
In the warehouse, businesses are reducing energy costs in a number of simple ways such as using motion sensors to only illuminate areas in use and charging forklift trucks in off-peak hours when energy costs are lower. Some companies are looking at introducing solar panels on the warehouse roof and intelligent electrical systems to take advantage of off-peak power.
ReuseWarehouses have been one area in a business that traditionally reuses materials. Items such as wood pallets and plastic totes are constantly reused in the warehouse. Some businesses are examining their warehouse processes to identify where reuse is appropriate.
One area that is of interest is in the adoption of returnable packaging for products. Some packaging can be extremely expensive to manufacture and is lost each time a product is sold. By increasing the life of the packaging and making it easy for customers to return, the packaging can be reused a number of times, reducing waste and saving money.
Other companies are trying to reuse the packaging material that they receive from their suppliers. Some packaging cardboard or packing can be reused and can reduce the amount of packing material that needs to be purchased.
RecycleRecycling of materials in the warehouse can significantly reduce waste. Sending used packaging and packing material to recycling facilities rather than waste facilities is the environmentally correct decision to make. However, there are many instances in a warehouse where recycling is also appropriate such as the recycling or environmentally correct disposal of batteries, oil, and chemicals. Many businesses have performed audits of their locations to identify areas and processes where they can be more environmentally focused.
These processes can significantly reduce costs as well as producing a more environmentally sound company.
However, despite the investment a company makes in order to improve its social responsibility, the employees need to change their work habits and follow new procedures that combined will help the environment and in turn, help the company’s bottom line.
Posted by: Brad Gething, PhD
The National Wooden Pallet and Container Association (NWPCA) Technical and PDS Manager, Dr. Brad Gething, co-hosted a sold-out two and half day educational short course with Dr. Laszlo Horvath, Assistant Professor at Virginia Tech and Director of the Center for Packaging and Unit Load Design (CPULD). The course, titled “Wood Pallet Design and Performance: Pallet Design in the 21st Century,” focused on developing techniques to design efficient and safe wood pallets using the industry standard software program, The Pallet Design System™ (PDS).
The course covered the major aspects of pallet design that affect performance: the location and dimensions of pallet components, the materials used, and the loading and handling conditions the pallet experiences. When these considerations are accounted for and simulated in PDS, pallet strength, stiffness and durability can be accurately predicted, leading to safer and more efficient pallet usage.
Amazon, DuPont, and 19 companies representing a broad cross-section of pallet manufacturers and recyclers, pallet brokers and end-users of pallets participated. Dr. Horvath noted, “We were very pleased to collaborate with NWPCA for the second year in a row. This partnership provides these packaging specialists a range of industry and academic experiences on safe pallet design techniques.” Added Dr. Gething, “CPULD at Virginia Tech is an outstanding facility to host a course on pallet design. The attendees were able to observe actual load tests in a lab setting while learning how to simulate loading a pallet using PDS.”
Planning for the spring of 2016 is already taking place, and will be held in Washington, DC. More information will be provided on both organization’s websites: PalletCentral.com and the Center for Packaging and Unit Load Design.
The National Wooden Pallet & Container Association (NWPCA) is the largest international organization of wood packaging professionals in the world with 640 member companies located throughout the United States and in 28 countries. The Pallet Design System™ (PDS) is the most used pallet design system in the world with 400 corporations in 24 countries using the software.
The Center for Packaging and Unit Load Design housed in the Department of Natural Resources is the leading pallet and unit load research and testing laboratories. The laboratory was established in 1976 and since then it focuses on the education of Virginia Tech students, developing state-of-the-art research knowledge related to unit load interactions, and serving the needs of the pallet and packaging industries.
Dr. Brad Gething, NWPCA Technical and PDS Manager
703-519-6104 / firstname.lastname@example.org
Dr. Laszlo Horvath, Director of CPULD, Assistant Professor at Virginia Tech
540-231-7673 / email@example.com
Amazon.com Inc. (AMZN) and Wal-Mart Stores Inc. (WMT) are prodding more manufacturers to change their packaging to cut waste and alleviate “wrap rage,” the frustration felt when a product is difficult to open.
The nation’s largest online store and the world’s biggest retailer have been pushing vendors, including Procter & Gamble Co. (PG) and Bluetooth headset maker Plantronics Inc. (PLT), to eliminate excessive and cumbersome packing materials, such as hard plastic clamshell casings that enclose electronics and wire ties used to secure toys to cardboard backings.
“We’ve gotten e-mails from customers who’ve purchased scissors in a clamshell, which would require another pair of scissors to open the package,” Nadia Shouraboura, Amazon’s vice president of global fulfillment, said in an interview.
As much as a third of all consumer trash sent to landfills is estimated to be packaging, according to the Environmental Protection Agency. That translates to more than 800 pounds of packaging waste each year per U.S. consumer.
The problem becomes especially acute during the holidays. From Thanksgiving to New Year’s Day, household waste in the U.S. increases 25 percent, according to the EPA.
Besides impregnable packaging, manufacturers have been criticized for not using enough recycled or sustainable materials. This year, Greenpeace targeted toy companies Hasbro Inc. (HAS), Mattel Inc. (MAT), Lego Group and Walt Disney Co. to stop using packaging derived from rain forests in Indonesia. In response, the companies pledged to change their packaging practices.
From 19 to 80,000
Amazon kicked off its “Frustration-Free Packaging” initiative in 2008 with 19 items from Mattel and its Fisher- Price brand, Microsoft Corp. (MSFT) and memory-card maker Transcend Information Inc. (2451) It has grown to 80,000 products this year, with more than 12 million items expected to ship under the program. Amazon wants to at least triple that number next year.
To help it reach that goal, the retailer is contacting more manufacturers that get poor customer feedback about their packaging. Amazon is also sending engineers to help companies improve their designs.
While reduced packaging can boost consumers’ satisfaction, lower shipping costs and appeal to the environmentally conscious, companies are balancing those benefits with the need for packaging that still prevents theft and damage.
Changes at Plantronics
Ken Kannappan, Plantronics’ chief executive officer, asked the company’s design team this year to take over packaging from the marketing department.
Some early solutions included removing user manuals from boxes, bulk shipping products to retailers and corporate customers without boxing items individually, and reshaping boxes into smaller form factors by replacing AC chargers with USB cables.
“You’re looking at packaging and you’re going, ’My gosh, this is an area that’s designed to be wasted,’” Kannappan said in an interview. “We’re trying not only to optimize our packaging to reduce waste but to fully rethink what packaging is and does.”
By 2013, Wal-Mart plans to reduce packaging by 5 percent compared with 2008 levels, saving an estimated $3.4 billion annually.
To do so, it’s relying more on a sustainability packaging scorecard to determine which products to stock. Wal-Mart is also pushing manufacturers to create innovative design solutions.
Recyclable Messenger Bag
Hewlett-Packard Co. (HPQ) won a Wal-Mart design challenge by wrapping a notebook computer in a protective messenger bag made of recycled materials. It replaces conventional Styrofoam and cardboard packaging.
The design reduced packaging by 97 percent and removed the equivalent of one out of every four trucks it previously needed to ship the computers to Wal-Mart and Sam’s Club stores, the company said on its website.
Amazon, based in Seattle, launched its initiative after Chief Executive Officer Jeff Bezos recounted how he had spent his Christmas struggling to open presents for his children.
Bezos described his “wrap rage” as “the frustration we humans feel when trying to free a product from a nearly impenetrable package,” according to a letter he wrote to Amazon’s customers.
As Bezos shared his story with the staff, “everybody in the room started to chime in with their own horror stories,” Shouraboura said. “It was clear what we needed to do.”
To contact the reporter on this story: Cliff Edwards in San Francisco at firstname.lastname@example.org
To contact the editor responsible for this story: Tom Giles at email@example.com
Wash. lawmakers seek to ban plastic grocery bags Momentum for a statewide ban on plastic bags appeared to be mounting three weeks after Seattle's City Council unanimously banned single-use plastic bags from groceries and other retail stores.
By JONATHAN KAMINSKY
Top comments Hide / Show comments This is extremely misleading, and points to severe bias by the reporter: "approved... (January 11, 2012, by JimboNovus) Read more Ethic Soup has an excellent post on plastic bag facts: http://www.ethicsoup.com/plas...(January 11, 2012, by Sharon McEachern) Read more Read all 2 comments >Post a comment >
OLYMPIA, Wash. — Momentum for a statewide ban on plastic bags appeared to be mounting three weeks after Seattle's City Council unanimously banned single-use plastic bags from groceries and other retail stores.
A state Senate bill that died last session before receiving a public hearing was reintroduced Monday by Senator Maralyn Chase, D-Shoreline, and will have a public hearing Wednesday.
"There are things about this product that we need to finally and resolutely face," Chase said. "This is not good for ourselves, for our children, our grandchildren or for marine life. We need to finally say, `enough.'"
In the House, Rep. Joe Fitzgibbon, D-Burien, introduced a bag ban measure Tuesday similar to one he brought forward - and watched die with no public hearing - last year. He has scheduled a press conference Thursday together with a coalition of environmental groups to tout it.
While no state has yet banned plastic bags, the number of cities with bans is on the rise. In Washington, the number of cities with plastic bag bans has grown from one a year ago to four: Seattle, Bellingham, Edmonds, and Mukilteo.
"As more and more cities adopt bans, retailers are beginning to understand that a city-by-city approach doesn't work well," said Fitzgibbon, noting that local laws have subtle differences that can make compliance for larger retailers a headache. However, he acknowledged, his bill will face opposition, and a statewide ban on plastic bags could be years away.
Opponents of the proposed ban say it would limit consumer choice and represent an unnecessary government overreach.
In a statement, Mark Daniels, a vice president at plastic bag maker Hilex Poly, said that restricting the use of plastic bags "pushes people to less environmentally-friendly options which require more energy to produce and transport, and reusable bags, which are not recyclable."
Jan Teague, president of the Washington Retail Association, worries that curbs on non-biodegradable products will not end with plastic bags. Environmentalists, she said, "have a laundry list that's miles long. Where does it end?"
Seattle's ordinance, which was approved unanimously following months of discussion and debate, takes effect in July 2012. It includes a provision to charge a nickel fee for the use of paper bags, to encourage people to bring their own bags when they go shopping.
Posted: 01/10/2012 06:02:00 AM PST
THE SUCCESS of Marin County's ban on single-use plastic grocery bags will depend on how well it works with retailers to make the transition a smooth one.
The county's law covers retailers in unincorporated portions of Marin, such as Strawberry, Tam Valley, Marin City, Marinwood, Kentfield and West Marin.
The move away from plastic bags and toward reusable cloth and paper bags makes sense in an effort to reduce litter and oil consumption. Marin's ordinance was approved by the county Board of Supervisors after local retailers indicated their support for the move.
The hope was that the local ordinance would not be necessary; that it would be superceded by a statewide bag law. State law requires retailers to encourage shoppers to use reusable bags instead of single-use bags, including making re-usable bags available to their customers. But despite grocery retailers' backing of a ban on single-use plastic bags, a bill has not gotten out of the Legislature.
Marin delayed its law's implementation for a year, waiting for a statewide law. Time ran out and Marin's law went into effect on Jan. 1. It largely appears to have been taken in stride by retailers and their customers.
That's the way it should be. Awareness and compliance are better than government-imposed fines.
The county law was pushed by advocates who had no patience for the state's efforts to use public education rather than a
But even with the county ban, the public education focus of the state's approach is key to making the local law work smoothly, giving both retailers and their customers adequate time to make the change.
The lower cost and convenience of plastic bags have made them ubiquitous, including in the litter that gathers along our roads, in our creeks and on our beaches.
In 2009, during California's participation in International Coastal Cleanup, plastic bags were the second most collected marine debris.
Improved availability of inexpensive reusable bags has made a big difference. There are viable, practical, affordable alternatives to the single-use wispy plastic grocery bag. Without real alternatives, the move away from plastic would be far more difficult.
The county's nominal store charge — up to a nickel — for paper bags should encourage shoppers to reuse them, or better yet, bring in their own reusable bags.
Marin shoppers' growing use of their own bags helped turn local retailers into supporters of the ban.
United Markets, which has stores in San Rafael and San Anselmo, would not have been impacted by the ban, but went ahead and made the change on its own before the ban even went into effect. We urge other grocery stores to follow United's example.
It also is impressive that a big chain such as Safeway made the switch smoothly.
Fairfax's voter-approved ban, which is much broader than the county's law, has been in place and working well since 2009.
Based on the first few weeks, retailers and customers seem ready for Marin's law. They've seen the litter and don't need to be convinced that reusable and paper bags are more earth-friendly alternatives.
PALLET WRAPZ are a fast new way to stabilize, secure and protect pallets and skids from damage in shipment. Made of sturdy industrial grade mesh, Pallet Wrapz can be used over and over to wrap and secure full pallets of product. A single worker can install the wrap. The edge is rested against the pallet and is walked around the skid. The two ends are used to locate the sides. The straps are put through the loops and drawn tight. The straps areVelcroed to the holding strip.The entire operation takes less than 1 minute. To remove, the straps are released and the unit is rolled up for reuse.