Waste management tops business agenda

by Jason Zanatta

Currently trending in business news is the topic of waste, specifically waste management, sustainability, recycling programs, green initiatives, lowered carbon footprints and fewer emissions.  Many engaging networking conversations have been ignited from the simple question: “What are you doing to insert choice of green effort here?”

The Globe and Mail recently shared memorable quotes on social responsibility from Canada’s beloved environmentalist, David Suzuki. This one inspired me from a business position: “Ecology is the study of home, while economics is its management. Ecologists try to define the conditions and principles that enable a species to survive and flourish. Yet in elevating the economy above those principles, we seem to think we are immune to the laws of nature. We have to put the ‘eco’ back into economics.”

We are seeing green initiatives embraced by all types of businesses from government to private sector. In January, Toronto banned plastic bags in their city. With Canadians now using nearly three billion plastic bags annually, other cities will probably follow suit.

According to a Forbes article, a “sustainability expert” is a position that didn’t exist 10 years ago!  These days, these environmental consultants now have a seat at the table during planning and strategic operations development. The objectives may be as simple as to lower power bills or the requirement to develop new workflows to increase productivity while lowering the carbon footprint of a business. Regardless, the opportunities are endless for companies to do something.

Interesting facts about Canadian waste:

–          Currently, more than 150,000 tons of food and yard waste are already processed at Fraser Richmond Soil & Fibre each year, received from local municipalities and diverted from landfills by Metro Vancouver

–          According to the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), municipal waste is defined as “waste from households, including bulky waste, similar waste from commerce and trade, office buildings, institutions and small businesses, yard and garden waste, street sweepings, the contents of litter containers, and market cleansing waste.

–          Canada ranks in last place out of 17 countries and gets a “D” grade on the municipal waste generation indicator

–          Canada produces 894 kg per capita of municipal waste each year, more than twice as much as the best performer, Japan

–          Canada’s municipal waste generated per capita has been steadily increasing since 1980

In the home textiles industry, there are several ways we can minimize our overall waste output. Simple initiatives such as conserving the electrical energy in our warehouses [NND1] or reducing product packaging (or at least using post-consumer packaging) can greatly impact the amount over time. In April, we launched GeoBlendTM, an environmentally sustainable fibre fill generated from clean off-cuts of home textiles products we currently manufacture. Used in our NOVO Sleep System products, GeoBlendTM keeps thousands of pounds of off-cuts out of landfills each year. This lowers our carbon footprint, which means customers that choose this fill for their products also benefit.

Whatever industry you work in, there’s something you can do to preserve the life of our planet. I’d love to hear about it – simply post a comment below.

©Novo Textiles co 2014