When eco and business collide, we get a better planet

Though not exactly what he had in mind at the time, Kermit the Frog said it best: It’s not easy being green. Cities like Portland, OR do their best to make it easy for their citizens to recycle. But in the process, end up making it difficult and confusing just to dispose of a piece of trash. There is not one can, but four. That one is for cans, the one next to it is for paper, next is plastic, after that, glass. Neither is for that last three bites of sandwich you are too full to finish. Toss that bottle in the wrong container and you might be looking at a ticket. You would have gotten off easier driving 60mph. in a school zone. No, my friends, it’s not easy being green, not easy at all. But it is important.

It is easy for eco-conscious people to mistake looking green for being green. Take the case of the electric or hybrid car. It feels like you are doing something great for the environment by purchasing one. In point of fact, the eco-footprint is not much better when you consider what it takes to build, ship, and operate one of these green machines. It never even dawns on many that we still have to burn coal to run an electric car.

At the same time they are burning black coal to power green cars, they are spending a fortune on new electronic equipment instead of buying refurbished with the same warranty. That MacBook Pro with Retina Display you have been coveting can be acquired through Apple at a reduced price with the same warranty as new. Decisions like that mean the world to the planet.

Sites like containerexchanger.com offer another great way to help your business stay green by making recycled, and recyclable products. When you see that a product is made out of recycled material, the work has already been done. All you have to do is choose it over a different product. Did you ever consider something as simple as a resealable bag as green? Think about it. Any product you buy that comes in a resealable bag, especially a food item, can stay in that bag. That means that you do not have to throw that bag away and immediately put the contents in yet another bag. Green.

What do you do with your old technology when you are done with it? Throwing it away out to be illegal. Depending on what it is and where you are, it is already illegal. Yet tons of consumer electronics either get thrown away or left at the bottom of a junk drawer. There are many places that will buy broken technology such as iPhones, for parts. What has lived out its usefulness in the US may still have years of life some place else. When you recycle in this fashion, the planet thanks you.

We may be a long ways from a paperless office, but that does not mean that you have to print out that thirty page memo for everyone in the office to have in hand for the morning meeting. Honestly, they are just using that paper as an excuse for ignoring what it is you are trying to tell them. Congratulations! You have just wasted the life of a tree that should have been utilized for better things, and created thirty pages of clutter for your employees. Say “hello” to several minutes of lost productivity.

Here is a tip: They all have smartphones, tablets, and computers. They all have email addresses. They all have ways of looking at and processing that information that are more productive and actionable than the dead tree you are used to handing out. Stop it! Nobody thanks you for your sharp collating skills.

Being green is not about getting badges and recognition from environmental groups. It is not about looking green. It is about a thousand little decisions that go unnoticed and unthanked by just about everyone. In fact, when businesses get serious about eco, the only people who may notice are our children who breathe cleaner air, drink cleaner water, and live longer, healthier lives.


Credit Katherine Smith on Google+

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