Tag Archives: Sustainability

Trash-CanGate

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Garbage is a rare subject at your average cocktail party. But in Washington DC, trash — or the cans it goes in, at least — is a trending topic.

It started with the rush delivery of more than 200,000 shiny-new cans before the city’s primary election. That led to the odd problem of trash can proliferation, with old cans waiting weeks to be picked up and streets and alleys overflowing with extra bins.

Then there was the arrest and lockup of a little-known District artist for trying to repurpose (as flowerpots) several of the old cans that had been plastered with “Take Me!” signs. And the city’s overcorrection of the languishing can problem, which officials dubbed a “blitz” — cleared away not just unwanted cans, but even some recently delivered ones.

And now, it turns out that the city has not been recycling thousands of the cans, as the administration of Mayor Vincent C. Gray (D) had promised — but chucking them instead.

City officials admitted that sanitation crews dumped at least 132 truckloads of plastic bins — a third of the more than 16,000 old cans collected— alongside city waste and hauled them all off to Virginia to be incinerated.

This episode presents a setback to the District’s effort to reinvent itself as a well-managed city after decades of complaints of dysfunctional services.

“Trash-CanGate” is the byproduct of a badly initiated and badly run program. The $9 million program was to replace every city trash and recycling receptacle for the first time in a decade without a plan in place to collect the old ones.

 

Many of the new cans were delivered in the two weeks before the April 1 Democratic primary. They came with “Take Me!’ stickers to affix to old, unwanted ones, but the city had no plan to retrieve them.

So, Public Works Director William Howland responded by ordering a “blitz”, telling crews to pick up any can left on a sidewalk or in a public alley. But as the effort sped up, residents across Northwest reported seeing not the flatbed trucks that had been carrying away the old cans, but D.C. garbage trucks, which swallowed up and compacted the cans as if they were the week’s trash or recyclables.

The District has a contract to return unwanted cans to the manufacturer in North Carolina. But the process is labor-intensive resulting in the city delivering about 26,500, less than half of the total 71,000 cans collected.

With Mayor Gray advocating for a sustainable D.C., this was certainly a disappointing story to tell.

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Sustainability Efforts Can Boost the Bottom Line

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“Sustainability” can mean different things to different people. In healthcare, sustainability is a means to practice the Hippocratic Oath—to heal and do no harm—through safer products, reduced air emissions, elimination of toxins, safer working environments, less waste and efficient use of energy and water.

But sustainability isn’t just about environmental stewardship. As the sector faces increased financial pressures, more hospitals and healthcare facilities should prioritize sustainability as a way to strategically manage rising costs.

Sustainability must be a core business value across the industry, with real impacts on the bottom line. What are some guiding principles?

It’s guided by strategy. It’s not enough to put recycling containers in your facility and consider your work done. Successful sustainability programs are guided by facility-wide strategies. Healthcare organizations must create a deliberate approach aimed at building internal support at all levels and producing external results, including financial savings.

It doesn’t have to cost more. Facilities should look first at strategies that require little capital investment and save money from day one. Waste prevention is a good place to start—facilities generate tremendous waste and pay higher disposal costs than most industries. Simple changes can lead to dramatic reductions.

It’s measurable. Hospitals engaged in sustainability recognize the old adage is true—you can’t manage what you don’t measure. Steps taken must be tied to goals and metrics so progress can be measured year-to-year. The results can be the driving focus for executive support and more board involvement.

It doesn’t have to be hard. Sustainability is a learning process. Hospitals and technology leaders —including BioHitech America—are pooling their wisdom and best practices to make significant changes in healthcare settings. Leaders should look to their peers for help incorporating sustainability into day-to-day operations. The success of others can help advance sustainable healthcare that’s good for the environment, good for patients and staff, and good for the bottom line.

The Eco-Safe Digester delivers on every point.  It doesn’t cost more than what a hospital is  already paying for food waste disposal, it measures diversion with the assistance of the BioHitech Butt, and is easy to operate while fitting seamlessly into day-to-day operations.   It is currently a component of many hospital strategies today.    A sustainable journey involves a long-term view, bottom-line focus, innovative thinking and ongoing collaboration.  BioHitech America is the best partner to take on that journey.

Microsoft, Becoming Carbon Neutral

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For a long time, the marketplace has associated technology giant Microsoft with innovation and efficiency. Now the company is vying for accolades in a third area: sustainability.

In an ambitious move to catapult the company’s carbon emissions reduction strategy, Microsoft issued a corporate policy in July 2012 across 14 business divisions in more than 100 countries: Every division would be accountable for its carbon emissions.

Microsoft has put a price on carbon and is including that cost in their profit-and-loss statement across business divisions.  By integrating carbon reduction policies with business priorities engages the executives and employees in their commitment to mitigating climate change by investing funds appropriately.

Under the Carbon Neutral and Carbon Free Policies, the company put an internal price on carbon, where each divisions pays an incremental price linked with the carbon emissions associated with energy consumption and business air travel. The funds are then used to invest internally in energy efficiency, renewable energy and carbon offset projects.

These policies help Microsoft employees band together more than usual. Microsoft is working with Wildlife Works, which runs the Kasigau project in Kenya and emphasizes carbon sequestration, social enterprise and wildlife preservation.

Microsoft believes that climate change is a serious challenge, and supporting carbon sequestration through carbon finance supports local jobs and provides new educational opportunities for the youth — making a huge difference in improving lives.

One of the benefits of setting a carbon neutral policy is to set an example for how a business can run more efficiently, reduce waste and carbon, and address its environmental footprint.

So Right So Smart

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A visionary film that showcases leading companies and experts that are proving what is good for the planet can also be good for the bottom line.

Through its inspiring stories of change, the film shows how businesses and other organizations can profit by successfully integrating more sustainable practices.

Ray Anderson, Founder & former CEO, Interface, Inc, explains how he was so wrong for so long, but over the course of many years of researching and applying sustainable business practices learned it is a better way which yielded a bigger profit.

Watch the trailer here:  http://sorightsosmartfilm.com/

Sustainability

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Sustainability

—it’s a word that many see as synonymous with increased costs. But in fact, the very definition of sustainability is sustenance: supplying or being supplied with something essential that gives support and strength. Sustainability is about recognizing that resources are limited and choosing to use those resources in smarter more efficient ways while supporting ecological balance does not necessarily cost more.

When applying sustainability to proper food waste management, there is an opportunity to minimize the negative impact on the environment and achieve cost savings at the same time with the Eco-Safe Digester.

Case in point: Jim Abrahamson, CEO of Interstate Hotels & Resorts, says that the Hilton Concord Hotel is adopting sustainability without actually raising costs. The hotel’s food and beverage service uses the Eco-Safe Digester to convert food waste into liquid, reducing its contribution of food waste into landfills while saving money by reducing disposal frequency and costs.

Howard Halverson, Director of Environmental Services at Valley Hospital agrees. “The investment paid off.”  The hospital has diverted 100% of their organic waste from local landfills, lowered their operational costs, improved their building’s performance, and enhanced their environmental commitment.  “There is economic value in going green.”