KAB Recognizes Other Emerging Businesses in Sustainability Part 4

By Cindy Pantea

summit of sustainability logoIn this post, Keep Akron Beautiful-Greenprint for Akron recognizes the sustainable practices of two more Summit County businesses who applied for the 2012 Summit of Sustainability Awards. Read about Goodwill Industries of Akron and SGS Tool of Munroe Falls and get inspired…

Goodwill Industries of Akron (nonprofit): For 85 years Goodwill has been a community source for those who wish to reuse, repurpose and recycle. Meanwhile, at Goodwill Industries of Akron in particular, they’ve continued to evolve through the years by seeking out more sustainable options for their business. In doing so their efforts have:

  • Used energy-efficiency grant matching funds and rebates to help retrofit their existing building saving $40,000 in light energy the first full year and increasing their HVAC efficiency rating from 60% to a 92% (based on 2010-2011 numbers).
  • Recycled approximately 7,600,000 pounds of material not sold in stores through its salvage programs (based on year-end 2011 numbers).
  • Recycled 535,753 pounds of computer equipment not sold in stores through the Dell Reconnect program (based on year-end 2011 numbers).
  • Resold, reused or recycled over 95% of all donations (based on year-end 2011 numbers).
  • Educated their Facilities Department employees on sustainability and as a result they continue to research best cleaner choices and have succeeded in cutting down their lighting usage simply by switching their cleaning function from night to daylight hours – these efforts saved $10,000 within the last year.
  • Encouraged paper and plastic recycling and energy efficiency (light usage) within the office.
  • Reduced paper waste by regularly updating mailing lists.
  • Reduced greenhouse gases and fuel consumption by keeping donations local, having local one distribution center, and having most stores be conveniently located on a bus line for customers.
  • Given back to the community – for every $1.00 that is spent in a Goodwill Store, $0.88 goes back into the community, helping people find jobs. In 2011, this amount of money helped to train over 7,263 people for the workplace and helped to place 517 people in jobs. This is Goodwill’s true mission, and the retail stores are just one way to fund it.

SGS Tool Company (small business): This Munroe Falls business is and has been committed to lessening their impact on the environment. Here’s how:

  • In conjunction with FirstEnergy, replaced existing light fixtures with new energy efficient fixtures at two facilities in 2012.
  • In 2012, they exchanged plastic packing material for paper at both the world headquarters in Munroe Falls, OH and the manufacturing site in the U.K.
  • Worked with River Valley Paper Company to begin recycling cardboard in June 2011 and by December 2011, they went from recycling less than 500 lbs. to nearly 2,500 lbs. – they’ve now successfully implemented a cardboard recycling program at all six facilities in 2012.
  • Worked with the Summit Akron Solid Waste Management Authority, SGA locations recycled over 22,000 lbs. of paper in 2011.
  • They’ve continued to recycle toner through Staples and electronics and batteries through Itran.
  • Used top-of-the-line filter systems, centrigugal systems and Transor systems to reduce both old oil disposal costs and filter cartridge disposal.
  • Given back to the community – SGS Associates and family members annually volunteer at Munroe Falls Metro Park in April in honor of Earth Day.

Thank you to both Goodwill of Akron and SGS Tool for looking to the future and continually researching and implementing new sustainable business practices.

How does your business sustainability measure up? Will you be ready for the 2013 Summit of Sustainability Awards? Learn more about business sustainability by visiting The Summit of Sustainability YouTube Channel.

KAB Recognizes Other Emerging Businesses in Sustainability Part 3

by Cindy Pantea

KAB_CPtweets retweet of the EPA: Feed people not landfillsI retweeted the Environmental Protection Agency the other day and at the same time thought that the day before Thanksgiving would be a perfect time to release this post on the food service businesses who were applicants for The Summit of Sustainability Awards. While they did not win their small business category, the efforts should be recognized so that the practices can be started by not only other food service entities but also maybe ourselves…

Ms. Julie’s Kitchen – It’s all about sustainability with this vegan restaurant. Not only does the business reduce food miles through the use of local produce as well as growing hard-to-get produce herself, Ms. Julie’s Kitchen also composts 15-5 gallon pales of food scraps each week to make the best soil for inner-city growing. Owner Julie Costell’s work brings healthy living to Akron – mind, body and soul, as she has joined forces with Truly Reaching You Ministries (T.R.Y.), and Janet Paul, Summit County Women’s Chaplain, to offer a strong set of support services for ex-felons. While the women help take care of tasks on the farm, the men focus on physical labor. At Ms. Julie’s Kitchen, the women do food prep. All of this offers these folks not only a peaceful transition back into society but also helps them learn about both healthy food and healthy lifestyles. Costell also sells at the Countryside Conservancy Farmers Market and wants to be a part of the local Cornerstore Project, which seeks to make healthy, fresh produce available at places in Akron that might not normally offer the best food choices.

Main Street Gourmet (MSG) – With all their employees exposed to the company’s emphasis of going green, they have accomplished energy savings by replacing high-intensity light bulbs with more economical fluorescent bulbs, upgrading existing fluorescent bulbs to even more energy-efficient models, installing motion sensors to turn on lights only when people need them, and using visual aids in areas like the conference room that remind users to turn off lights when finished. That’s not all, through, MSG has accomplished significant waste reduction, too, actually keeping 80 tons of paper, plastic and metal out of local landfills through recycling efforts. These efforts have also reduced trash pick-ups from four dumpster loads per month to two! Funds generated from recycled materials have been used to pay for virtually the entire $12,000 cost of a baling machine they use to prepare items for recycling. On top of that, nearly all organic waste at the company, 500 pounds per week, is sent out for composting and eventually sold as fertilizer. They also had the great idea to provide their unused sugars, for a nominal fee, to some local beekeepers for use in their honey production, which not only recycles but also helps stimulate the local economy.

Red’s Place Buffet Express / New Adventures Early Learning Center – Red’s Gourmet Buffet Express and New Adventures Early Learning Center share the same business lot in Twinsburg, OH. Red’s Buffet also has two other remote locations. The two businesses got together in an organized effort to recycle at all four sites so that every environmental hazard had a place. For metals, recycling efforts were deposited to Decco Alloys. Paper and cardboard had their own depository. In addition, New Adventures recycles for their own playground soil and  socially promotes a green effect on their youth so it will leave a lasting impression.

Totally Cooked Catering – In October, this business announced that they were the only independent, full-service catering company in Summit County that composts and recycles all materials associated with its food service. With the help of Summit/Akron Solid Waste Management Authority (SASWMA), they found a solution for composting food scraps and recycling bottle, cans, glass, cardboard and paper. To reduce the waste generated by its catering operations, Totally Cooked also offers completely compostable serviceware, including utensils.

West Point Market – The store has found two areas where eco-friendly alternatives are beneficial to the store both financially and ethically. These are: the changeover to light bulbs that help preserve energy and the initiation of a recycling program so that food waste is composted and leftover food is given to outreach programs. From the beginning of January 2012 to the end of June, West Point Market has composted 123,270 pounds of food.  That is over 60 tons of waste that is being converted into useful soil for the local agricultural use instead of being sent to a landfill. This has also cut down their dumpster pickup from two dumpsters per week to one.

Remember to feed people, not landfills. Happy Thanksgiving from all of us here at Keep Akron Beautiful (KAB).

KAB Recognizes Other Emerging Businesses in Sustainability Part 1

Summit of Sustainability Awards - SOSA - logoIf you have been reading our most recent posts, you’ve watched and heard about the three winners of the 2012 Summit of Sustainability Awards (SOSA). In the coming days, Keep Akron Beautiful (KAB) would like to share the sustainability efforts of the other SOSA applicants that received a certificate as an “Emerging Company” in the area of sustainability:

GOJO Industries, Inc., (large business) – With the development of summit meetings, action plans, and internal sustainability teams, GOJO has made steady progress in their sustainability efforts. These include:

  • Saving 3.8 million gallons of water (a reduction of 30%).
  • Reusing and recycling waste and sending unrecyclable materials to waste-to-energy programs (a reduction of 25%).
  • Reducing greenhouse gas emissions by 5%.
  • Launching green-certified hand soap products.
  • Making sustainability improvements in the production of newer products, reducing smog emissions by 79%, reducing greenhouse gases by 15% and a saving 20% in energy consumption.
  • Educating the public on health risks and the benefits of hygiene, helping to reduce healthcare-acquired infections and improve the health of people in developing nations.
  • Encouraging employees to be more sustainable in their daily work, saving 4.2 million sheets of paper between 2009 and 2011, an equivalent of 500 trees.
  • Installing a water filtration system and handing out refillable water bottle to help employees reduce plastic waste, cutting individual consumption by about 8,000 water bottles and saving over 20,000 gallons of bottled water for water coolers.

Boy Scouts of America, Camp Manatoc (nonprofit) – It just took a tiny look at how they were doing things – or not doing things…like recycling – and this organization saved themselves $400 a month in dumpster fees during the summer. That’s 8 yards of waste a week. All by:

  • Recycling food waste through Summit County.
  • Recycling cardboard through The River Valley Paper Company.
  • Recycling cans and bottles through Kimble Recycline.

Barrington Carpet & Flooring Design (small business) – Did you know that 4-6% of all landfill space is old carpeting?  Want to know what else?…Carpet is full of renewable resources that are not only wasted when they are sent to the landfill, but also will remain in the landfill forever because they will never fully decompose. So, this company has, since 2011, been a participant in an Ohio grass roots effort to recycle old carpet and pad, as well as other recycling efforts. Here is a scenario:

  • Barrington’s recycling of carpet and pad has kept 2.315 billion pounds of carpet out of America’s landfills — nearly 86% has been recycled back into carpet or some other product and the remaining 14% used as an energy source, like in cement kilns for example — this is because carpet is petroleum based, making it an excellent resource to generate power without using new oil supplies.
  • This company also took the step to recycle plastic and cardboard generated by the company has saved the environment.
  • By scanning all documents into their office computer system, Barrington has reduced paper usage, saving trees.
  • Using fluorescent bulbs for Barrington’s in-store lighting, wherever possible, has saved on energy consumption.

These are just three of the other SOSA applicants, check us out later to read about more emerging leaders in sustainability.

The Summit of Sustainability Awards is a part of Greenprint for Akron which is facilitated by Keep Akron Beautiful.

Akron Zoo: Net-Zero Use of Energy is the Goal of this SOSA Winner

by Cindy Pantea

Keep Akron Beautiful is delighted to share this video of the 2012 Summit of Sustainability Award winner in the non-profit category, Akron Zoological Park. See how their ambitious and visionary energy independence goals have allowed them to “be the first” and “be the only” when it comes to net-zero energy transportation and green dining! Watch now to learn more. With a message of “Be the Change,” Akron Zoological Park wants to share all that they’ve done to preserve and protect wildlife and be a leader in educating the community in environmental education.

Learn more about being a sustainable organization so you can be a part of the Summit of Sustainability Awards. Visit http://www.summitofsustainability.org/.

The Summit of Sustainability Awards is part of Greenprint for Akron, which is a program facilitated by Keep Akron Beautiful.