Friday, November 15, 2013

Businesses Innovative and Diverse Recycling Efforts

There are a number of recycling campaigns in companies across the US and around the world. Some of the campaigns represent traditional tried and true approaches, others are far more novel. For years now Target has been supporting recycling throughout their 1,740 US stores. Their recycling stations accept aluminum, glass and plastic beverage containers, plastic bags, MP3 players, cell phones and ink cartridges.

In October, Johnson & Johnson launched a unique bathroom recycling initiative called CARE TO RECYCLE™.  Many Americans are not even aware that bathroom products can be recycled. As revealed by a Shelton Group poll, recycling in the bathroom is uncommon with less than half (40 percent) of Americans indicating that they recycle bathroom items.While 7 out of 10 Americans say they always or almost always recycle, only 1 in 5 Americans consistently recycle in the bathroom. This can have a major impact on the environment: Each year, Americans throw away enough 15-oz. shampoo bottles to fill 1,164 football fields—that’s 18,000 tons of plastic ending up in landfills. To help increase the recycling of bathroom products, Johnson partnered with several organizations, including Recyclebank, Keep America Beautiful, Earth 911 and Net Impact. 

One innovative recycling effort involves using waste for packaging. One great example of this phenomenon involves using chocolate waste to wrap chocolate products. In the UK James Cropper has developed a recycling process that the UK does just that.

Recycling of waste water is another increasingly popular business initiative. This is not only good for the environment but it can save companies money. Intel's plants now recycle 60 percent of their waste water. At its plant in Chandler, Arizona, Intel treats 2 million gallons of industrial water a day.

An innovative approach called "EcoVolt" uses microbes to recycle waste water. As reported by Environmental Leader, beverage companies can save more than $1M annually’ using this waste water treatment option. Using this system California’s Clos du Bois Winery, has reduced water and electricity costs while producing a surplus of reusable energy. An EcoVolt system can also substantially cut a facility’s carbon footprint.

Other companies offer awards in recognition of exceptional recycling efforts. For example, Coke has expanded it Recycling Awards Program.

Not all recycling news is good news. Some companies have been trying to cash in on the popularity of recycling by making false claims about biodegradable plastics. In response the FTC has been cracking down on such claims and they have taken action against six companies.

© 2013, Richard Matthews. All rights reserved.

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