KAB Recognizes Other Emerging Businesses in Sustainability Part 5

by Cindy Pantea

Summit of Sustainability Awards are facilitated by Keep Akron Beautiful

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

Wow — read the sustainability efforts of these three nonprofits, which include two residential communities! What are you and your neighbors doing for the environment? Are you cleaning up your dog’s waste, realizing the importance of not littering and participating in recycling efforts? Maybe these folks will inspire you to do that and more:

Habitat for Humanity (nonprofit) – Because they care about the environment, this nonprofit is continually working with its partners to improve the quality of the building process and the homes they build. Their sustainability accomplishments include:

  • Building all ENERGY STAR® rated homes (and since 2010, the affiliate has been designated a Green Builder for complying with Northeastern Ohio Green Building Institute Standard)
  • Building healthy buildings with good indoor air quality by using natural and non-toxic building products, installing energy efficient windows that reduce condensation and thereby reduce moisture and mold, sealing holes to prevent air leakage, ensuring proper ventilation for HVAC systems, and designing energy efficient plumbing that makes water conservation a priority.
  • Using materials with recycled content and applying building methods that minimize waste.
  • Opening a ReStore in 2007, which has recently been expanded, that sells building materials and home furnishings at 50% to 90% off retail prices – this not only diverts an estimated 300 tons of perfectly good materials from landfills each year but also has generated $2 million in income that was then reinvested into the organization.
  • Recycling a perfectly useful building across from Rolling Acres mall, which enabled them to also consolidate building operations, the Restore and administrative offices into one building.
  • Increasing efforts to help sustain local communities; for example, Habitat’s Deconstruction Program helps divert demolition debris from landfills and “A Brush with Kindness” helps low-income homeowners spruce up the look of their existing homes.

Laurel Lake Retirement Center (nonprofit) – This retirement community has been educating their 450 residents (average age of 82) in the concept of Sustainability and the practice of Recycling. Their efforts include:

  • Working with Summit /Akron Solid Waste Management Authority on plastic and paper recycling.
  • Collecting and re-using building materials salvaged from an abundance of re-modeling projects.
  • Using only energy-saving plumbing and electrical fixtures (including wall switches with motion/infrared sensors, where appropriate, CFSs in the common areas, fluorescent fixtures with electronic ballasts, LED exit signs).
  • Using only Energy-Star rated appliances.
  • Upgrade all air filters in all HVAC units withMerv-8 filters.
  • Instituting a CFL conversion program for residents’ lighting fixtures.
  • Involving Hudson area Eagle Scouts in the building of bridges and walk-ways on Laurel Lake’s 5 miles of nature trails.
  • Introducing a composting program for food refuse.
  • Introducing dog waste stations to avert ground water contamination.
  • Running a year-around Garage Sale open to the whole Hudson area to aid in the re-use of household furniture and equipment.
  • Completing an analysis of both gas and electricity bills over a 12 month period to aid in the establishment of the Laurel Lake Retirement Community Carbon Footprint.
  • Shared their activities with “Good Day in Hudson” cable television program to educate others.
  • Installed walk-off mats at each entrance to catch air contaminants.
  • Purchase supplies in all areas in bulk to reduce container trash.
  • Reduce lawn area with low maintenance plantings.

Hampton Wood Condominium Inc. (nonprofit) – Consisting of 304 units on approximately 70 hilly acres that contain 16-17 acres of grass, it is the largest complex in Summit County. Environmental efforts at Hampton Wood began with one resident and grew into a team effort. Keeping residents and park neighbors in mind, the association’s board of directors included an environmental policy in the 2010 revision of their rules and regulations and is the only known complex in Ohio to have such a formally stated environmental policy.  As a result, improvements in sustainability over the past two years are:

  • Reducing pollution and fuel consumption for lawn maintenance.
  • Switching to organic pond treatments in lieu of chemicals.
  • Incorporating native species and wildlife friendly species in landscaping projects.
  • Initiating paper and aluminum recycling measures where there were none.
  • Recycling trimmings and storm damage to flora for mulch, then purchasing that mulch.
  • Reducing electricity usage for outdoor lighting.

On behalf of Keep Akron Beautiful – Greenprint for Akron, thank you to Habitat for Humanity, Laurel Lake Community Center, and Hampton Wood Condominum for participating in the 2012 Summit of Sustainability Awards.

We’ll be soon launching the beginning of the 2013 Summit of Sustainability Awards and will have two new categories: Businesses with less than 10 employees or less and a Governmental and/or Neighborhood Association. Visit http://www.summitofsustainability.org/ homepage for more info. Is your business ready to share sustainability efforts?

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 2

by Cindy Pantea

Keep Akron Beautiful (KAB)/Greenprint for Akron shares more on the efforts of the other Summit of Sustainability Applicants (SOSA) that received a certificate as an “Emerging Company” in the area of sustainability:

Akron Children’s Hospital (Nonprofit) Nutrition Dept.: Did you know that all food is recyclable—including meat and bones? This is what Akron Children’s Hospital learned when they partnered with SASWA/Rosby’s to begin a serious food recycling program, and serious it was! The Hospital’s 2012 food scrap recycling program diverted 17,356 pounds of food scraps from the landfill to become compost instead. This new food recycling program best practice will go along the Hospital’s other best practices: Using more energy efficient light bulbs, reduced water usage due to repairs, installation of more efficient equipment, and recycling cardboard and batteries used throughout the hospital.

Hazel Tree Interiors (small business): This design business, owned by a husband and wife team, Karen Starr and John Haidet, uses repurposing, redesign and buying local as their first approach to design. They upcycle or recycle almost all of our waste: All packaging material goes to the local business, The Bomb Shelter, for the Ebay portion of their business, and all discontinued design materials go to arts projects and ZeroLandfill. Their historic building (built in 1875) is often used for many organizations’ fundraising and causes. Meanwhile, Karen is involved with the organization, Greater Akron Innovation Network for Sustainability (GAINS) and has been working on a curbside recycling education video.

refrigerator recyclingJaco Fridge Recycling – a branch of Jaco Environmental (small business): This partnership between Jaco Environmental and SEG Umwelt Service GmbH has a goal to “make the world a better place by the art of safe, responsible appliance recycling,” which includes refrigerators with dangerous refrigerants that can harm the environment. Jaco offers customers an incentive by giving them a rebate for their old but working energy-hog-of-a-fridge and even picks up the item at no charge. (If the refrigerator does not work, a customer can drop it off at Jaco and have it recycled for a small fee.) The Stow facility has the first and only mobile refrigerator shredder in the US, and in a year and a half they have shred over 66,000 fridges. In addition, they’ve recycled over 79,000 appliances totaling over 8,000,000 lbs. of scrap and refrigerant. That means they have stopped 790,000 tons of CO2 or CO2 equivalent from entering the atmosphere.  That’s just like taking 1.58 million cars off the road for an entire year. JACO’s process is so thorough and safe that the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency honored the business with an International Stratospheric Ozone Protection Award in 2004 and a Best of the Best award in 2007. Their facility has also been awarded the Green technology award by the city of Stow and has been featured on the show, “Designing Spaces” Think Green Series as well as has been featured in many newspapers and blogs. What a big endeavor for a company that has only 12 full-time employees.