There’s been a lot of discussion lately on whether Sustainability refers to keeping your business going or integrating green practices in your processes. Actually, it’s both, but let’s define these a little more.
Sustainability from a Business Perspective
All businesses want to sustain profitability as long as possible by either growing revenue, reducing expenses or preferably both. Having these principles embedded in the corporate culture and practices usually ensures longevity, thus a sustainable business.
Sustainability from a Green Perspective
Most people want organizations to operate in as green a manner as possible to save natural resources, consume less energy and, in general, leave the planet a better place than when they started. Here sustainability refers to using resources in a responsible manner that neither destroys nor contaminates the earth, yet provides an environment that supports life.
Sustainability from a Green Business Perspective
So, how can both definitions apply? If a company truly examines its business processes to reduce resource and energy usage, they will automatically reduce expenses. If they use natural processes as much as possible, they will not have to clean up after themselves as much, again reducing operating expenses. An example, using renewable energy methods has no pollution, so no clean-up of emissions.
Sometimes these practices have higher upfront costs, but the payback takes into account the savings in energy reduction and those savings can be applied towards the repayment of the capital expenditure. And once the capital expenditure is paid, the energy savings continue forever, with some minimal maintenance costs.
How Does This Apply To Plastics Recycling?
Plastic recycling promotes sustainability in the following ways:
– Reusing a resource already produced
– It takes less energy for a user of post-consumer recycled (PCR) plastic to produce their product than to produce the product from virgin plastic (see previous blog on this at https://envisionplastics.wordpress.com/2010/10/14/what-takes-less-energy-to-produce-the-more-times-you-reuse-it/)
– It keeps plastics from going to the landfill, where they would sit forever and ever, with no use to anyone and possibly producing emissions harmful to the environment.
– It creates jobs (see previous blog post on this at https://envisionplastics.wordpress.com/2010/10/25/what-creates-more-jobs-burning-burying-or-recycling-trash/).
– Because recycling does not capture enough in its current infrastructure, the supply is less than the current demand, so this is a growing revenue industry.
How does your business stack up on the green business sustainability definition?
We welcome any other topics you wish to see or your comments on our posts.
Need more information? Envision Plastics Vice President, Tamsin Ettefagh will be happy to discuss your comments or concerns in greater depth. Contact her at 336/342-4749 Ext 225.