Green Dealer Support


Zero Landfill-What Does it Mean?
September 30, 2013, 6:36 pm
Filed under: Going Green, Green Facts, Uncategorized | Tags: , , ,

GDS

In the US industrial facilities send 7.6 billion tons of nonhazardous waste to landfills. This according to the EPA is can be reduced through industry efforts to become Landfill-Free efforts. Going Landfill-Free requires investment and a long-term view. Upfront cost generally decrease in time, with revenue generated from recycling helping to offset the investment.

LandfillIs it worth trying to operate as being Zero Landfill and how do I go about it. These are questions are worthy of some additional study and research.

What is Zero-Landfill – The definition is the ability to avoid diverting any excess material resources in a landfill or other non-reclamation waste center. What this means is no two companies will have the same definition of but it does mean that companies will have the same theme.

Evaluating the opportunity:

  • Begin with an assessment of what is currently in your dumpster or other landfill stream. This means doing what some call a “Dumpster Dive”. To do this you need to go to your almost full dumpster and clean everything out to see what you have. The end result is several piles of material segregated by type or large category.
  • As you and your team sort through the trash and get it into different piles you generally will end up with about four initial groups of; Metals, Papers, Plastics, and Other
  • Then sort down each category to find the subsets and divide by recyclable and non-recyclable. A good example of sorting plastic is this chart that was provided by Western Michigan University:

Grouping

By identifying the top contributors of landfill from the category of plastic better decisions can be made as to how the issue should be addressed. It would be appropriate to measure the volume or weight of the materials in each category. A great video by a company called Burt’s Bees show how this process can work. Here is the link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_HsUlAS0kY8

While all companies may not eliminate some things going to the landfill some companies do make that a reality. Here is another video that talks to that companies success. The team effort displayed in both of these videos is an important consideration. Here is that link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MLk01JfBlx8

One of the success factors seems to be the involvement of people throughout the organization including management. We find that this is a never ending project and that the team needs to constantly be looking for additional ways to make mahttps://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MLk01JfBlx8

This activity is definitely a team activity and need to include everyone from the top down. The cost saving can be significant. The marketing impact can be even more powerful.



Pollution Prevention (P2)
May 31, 2013, 10:52 pm
Filed under: Going Green | Tags: , , , , ,

GDSPollution Prevention (P2)is defined as preventing or minimizing waste generation, or the environmentally sound reuse or recycling of those waste that cannot be prevented. Common examples of P2 include:

  • Replacing hazardous  organic solvents with non-toxic aqueous cleaners
  • Recycle metals, solvents, oils, cardboard, wood pallets and office paper
  • Replace standard motor, pumps and lighting with high efficiency versions
  • Stopping leaks, drips and spills and instituting preventive maintenance practices

RRRP2 can not only help to meet environmental goals, but also reduce waste, improve efficiencies and save money as well as reduce liability and hazardous exposures. P2 offers important economic, regulatory, environmental and social benefits that can often result in a more competitive business. Being “green” provides a competitive edge and opens up a new markets to others that share the same concerns.

What we find is that the resolution for one source of pollution is far different than another. A good starting place is to research one of the many P2 related websites to identify a local solution for a dealer’s particular issue. From these source documents you will find that a pollutions solution for dealing with pesticide issues is far different than dealing with the waste created by Styrofoam. Here are a couple of links that you might use as your initial source documents:

http://www.epa.gov/region5/waste/solidwaste/p2pages/toolbox.htm

http://www.michigan.gov/deq/0,1607,7-135-3585-17316–,00.html

In addition to finding a technical solution following a P2 plan is a way to insure success for the business we are working with. Here is a high level plan:

Step 1 Get management’s commitment and support
Step 2 Develop a company P2 policy statement
Step 3 Gain ongoing companywide commitment
Step 4 Establish a P2 team
Step 5 Select a P2 coordinator
Step 6 Establish reduction goals
Step 7 Establish priorities and procedures for conducting assessments
Step 8 Designate an assessment team
Step 9 Conduct a waste assessment
Step 10 Identify potential pollutions prevention opportunities
Step 11 Perform technical and economic analysis of potential P2 opportunities
Step 12 Develop an implementation plan
Step 13 Implement the selected projects
Step 14 Evaluate project results periodically and document results
Step 15 Create positive results and learn from failures
Step 16 Modify plan as needed and select the next steps

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Plastic Waste
February 28, 2013, 7:21 pm
Filed under: Going Green, Green Facts | Tags: , , , , , , , ,

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As a country we are generating a lot of plastic that is either disposed of in landfills or recycled. Some recent statistics (2010) indicate that about 12 percent  of landfill space is used by some form of plastic. That number is growing very fast. Fifty years ago it was only 1 percent.

plastic Waste

Here how plastics are made:

Plastics fall into two basic categories; thermosets and thermoplastic.

Thermosets sets when heated and is used for durable items such as construction and automobile parts.

Thermoplastic softens when exposed to heat. It is used for products such as milk jugs, floor covering and carpet fibers.

Here are some interesting plastic waste statistics (2010):

  • Over 30 million tons of plastic were generated representing over 12 percent of Municipal Solid Waste (MSW)
  • Only 8 percent of the total plastic generated was recovered for recycling
  • About 7 million tons of plastic are non durable goods which includes plates and cups
  • About  11 million tons of plastic was durable which includes plastic in appliances, etc.

Plastic pollution is a problem because plastic takes so long to decompose. A website maintained by the Mid Michigan Waste Authority provides numerous links that explore all aspects of plastic pollution. Here is an excerpt from their website:

Quick Facts about Plastic Pollution

  • A plastic milk jug takes 1 million years to decompose.
  • A plastic cup can take 50 – 80 years to decompose.
  • Recycled plastic can be used to make things like trash cans, park benches, playground equipment, decks, and kayaks.
  • Special fleece-like fabrics used in clothes and blankets can be made out of recycled plastic bottles.
  • Americans use 2.5 million plastic bottles every HOUR.
  • Plastic bags and other plastic garbage thrown into the ocean kill as many as 1 million sea creatures every year.
  • Recycling plastic saves twice as much energy as burning it in an incinerator.
  • A United States law, implementing an international agreement called MARPOL Annex V, became effective on December 31, 1988. It prohibits the disposal of plastics into the marine environment and requires ports to provide reception facilities for ship-generated plastic waste.
  • Today, Americans generate 10.5 million tons of plastic waste a year but recycle only 1 or 2 % of it.
  • An estimated 14 billion pounds of trash, much of it plastic is dumped in the world’s oceans every year.
  • The worldwide fishing industry dumps an estimated 150,000 tons of plastic into the ocean each year, including packaging, plastic nets, lines, and buoys.
  • About 1,200 plastic soft drink and salad dressing containers could carpet the average living room.
  • It takes 1,050 HDPE (#2) milk jugs to make a six-foot plastic lumber park bench.
  • Every year we make enough plastic film to shrink-wrap the state of Texas.
  • Nearly every piece of plastic EVER made still exists today.

You can go to their website for further plastic pollution information and action that you can take. Click here to go to their website:

Most plastics have a resin identification code as you would typically see on the bottom of plastic container. The resin number is usually inside a triangle which is frequently confused for the recycling symbol. It does not mean that the item can be collected for recycling. Here is a chart of the codes and what they mean:

Resin Identification Code

1

2

3

4

5

6

7

Type of Resin Content

PET

HDPE

Vinyl

LDPE

PP

PS

OTHER

  • PET – Polyethylene Terephthalate
  • HDPE – High-density Polyethylene
  • LDPE – Low-density Polyethylene
  • PP – Polypropylene
  • PS – Polystyrene
  • Other – Mixed Plastics

resin-identification-symbols2120px-Recycling_symbol_svgNote the difference in these two recycle related logos. It is often confused that the resin identification guarantees that a plastic item is recycable but that is the farthest thing from the truth. The number is for sorting purposes.

There are about 2,000 companies in the US that handle or process post-consumer plastic. Recycling occurs either curbside or at drop-off points. Often this is included in full stream recycling and is mixed with other recyclable material such as paper. The recyclable material goes through a number of sorting and cleaning processes until it is finally ready for processing which includes grinding it into small flakes. After further processing it is formed into pellets and shipped to product manufacturing plants where they begin the cycle again as new plastic products.

Source reduction is about reducing the amount of waste that is generated. Here plastic plays an important role as plastic is generally more lightweight than its alternatives such as glass, paper, or metal. These lighter weight materials require less fuel to transport and result in less material in the waste stream.

Green Dealer Support works with dealers to identify items that are being added to the waste stream and may eventually end up in landfills.



Can You Recycle It?
October 8, 2012, 9:12 am
Filed under: About the Company, Going Green | Tags: , , , , , ,

Most everyone I know talks about that they believe in recycling both at work and in their personal lives. It is a good thing to do and we see and hear lots of things about  the harm to the environment by not recycling everything we can. So why isn’t everyone doing it?

Personally, I tend to justify my less than 100% engagement of recycling by rationalizing that it does not always make sense. We believe it cost too much, it would create more pollution than it would avoid, etc., etc.  Where we live and where my office is located we do not have curbside pickup of recyclable  items. So how can we recycle and do what is right for the environment and future generations? What could I do so that I would not be saying it is right for everyone else but not for me?

I think you have to begin with the end in mind; that being a plan that you want to do everything you can to reduce the amount of things going to the landfill. With that being the ultimate goal then start considering what is going to the landfill today and determine is there any practical way to reduce that.

Every location has its own set of rules for what can be recycled and how it gets recycled. In order to be an effective recycler you will have to know what can be recycled from your location. When that is determined you are already part way there. Determine how to capture items that can be recycled and getting them into that system. But what about the items that are more difficult to recycle. Just because it is not easy does not mean it can’t be done. A great website to use in determining where and how to recycle a particular item is www.earth911.com

Next do not bite off too much at one time. Start with one item or at least one category and do the research as to how that item can be recycled or disposed of in an environmentally friendly way. Once you figure one out and put processes in place to handle that one move on to the next. Often when you figure out what to do with one item several others can be addressed in a similar way. Just keep working  on this with the idea of “how can we reduce the amount going to the landfill”?

Different than recycling is reducing but it may be an even better way to reducing landfill. Our office had ended up with a large number of  magazines coming in each week. We had subscribed to lots of printed material much of which was a free subscription. This was creating clutter in the office and using up of storage space just in case there was any great article that we want to have on file. Then when we finally became overwhelmed we would throw it all away in big bunches. To improve on this we did an inventory of every magazine we were receiving and put them into three groups:

  • Really want a hard copy for the shelf
  • Wanted material but could receive it electronically
  • It would be worth stopping the subscription, at least for a test

We found that the “wanted a hard copy only needed to be about 25% of what we were receiving. This really works and it is more than just having less to go to the landfill, the clutter reduction is the best thing we ever did.

Whether for business or at home the process of ramping up your recycle activity should be very similar and that is to take it a few items at a time. However, having said that you still need to begin with the end in mind.

As the volume of material going to the landfill is reduced work with you trash hauler to reduce the cost. Can the pickup be once per week instead of twice? Can we use a 6 yard dumpster instead of an 8 yard. A great measure of that is to look at the dumpster just before it is picked up. Is it half full or even less?

If a dealership is looking for recycling solutions look at our website at http://www.greendealersupport.com/ or contact us by clicking here.




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