By Danielle Flagg, Marketing Intern
Personally I try to recycle, reduce, and reuse every chance I get. I recycle my plastic and glass bottles, cardboard and paper, etc. I also try to reduce my plastic bottle use by carrying around a reusable eco- friendly BPA free, stainless steel water bottle.
When I grocery shop I remember to bring my canvas
tote bags so I won’t have to waste plastic or paper bags. These are just a few simple acts of greening that I have been able to proactively implement in my daily routine. I am sure
many of you are familiar with this green movement, and how you can participate in helping to preserve our planet, but is it really that easy?
During my last visit to Europe I was constantly reminded to recycle because everywhere I went there were 3-purpose trashcans designed specifically for paper, bottles, and trash. This differs from the Boston area where those recycle trashcans are sparse. I have found that when there is not a convenient reminder to recycle in front of you, it is hard to develop these good habits. Unfortunately, the phrase “out of sight, out of mind” comes into play. Most people will not bother to carry around extra “trash”, or rather “recyclable trash,” just because there is a lack of convenience of the proper disposal of these items. So when it comes to cultivating the “green” culture, when does “going green” transform from a personal decision to mainstream culture?
By Mike Farrell, Disposal Coordinator
Black Friday…Cyber Monday..We’re being inundated with news and flyers advertising the best deals that are worth stampeding a WalMart for. Also out there are all the black market rip off products available from overseas, everything from DVD’s to household cleaners. Make sure you’re getting what you pay for. If you’re a manufacturer make sure you’re doing your part to keep returned or damaged goods and off-spec products off the shelves and damaging your brand name. Triumvirate helps clients destroy, and when possible, responsibly recycle all kinds of consumer products and trade secret raw materials. We can manage a wide range of materials through various technologies such as shredding, waste to energy incineration and even ethanol recovery of that awful fragrance Grandma sent you from last Christmas.
By Meghan Sunyar, Technical Services Representative
Nearly all companies use paper. In the past few years, many companies have made the switch to reduce their environmental impact by recycling paper. Like most consumer products the environmental impacts of using paper occurs across the paper life-cycle, starting from forests, to paper mills, to point of use, to landfills and recycling centers. Collecting paper for recycling and buying recycled paper will ultimately lessen the overall demand for wood, energy and at the mill recycled paper takes less chemicals to product new postconsumer paper.
Not all paper can be 100% recycled due to fact that if you can only recycle - recycled paper for so long before the pump fibers degrade beyond use. Therefore, there will be virgin fiber in recycled paper but recycling will reduced the amount of trees to be harvested. Recycling one ton of paper saves about 17 trees from being cut down. It is cleaner to produce recycled paper then virgin because the chlorine-containing chemicals used to bleach virgin pulp often release chlorinated organic by-products in the form of dioxins and furans into our environment. The EPA has found that recycling causes 35% less water pollution and 74% less air pollution than making virgin paper. To add to the benefits the amount of energy to produce recycled paper is about 40% less then producing virgin paper. Mills will burn pulp that is no longer usable for recycle as fuel to operate their facilities. Although burning wood products and fossil fuels release greenhouse gases, the pulp already has invested fossil fuels from its virgin manufacturing. Therefore, the amount of greenhouse gases is essentially recycled.
The environmental impacts of papermaking are complex, but the basic conclusion is that recycled paper is better for the environment then virgin paper. Simple tips to reducing paper use are keep documents electrically based, print only when needed and buy recycled paper!
By Amanda Mendonza, Technical Service Representative
The sea of environmental faux pas is bottomless, but how are we ever going to keep our head above water if people's common sense continues to falter? There is a superchain of grocery stores in this country that prides itself in its green initiatives. They've won awards for their canvas bag product, plastic bag recycling program and their tenacity in finding outlets for expired food product as opposed to throwing food away. Simply by perusing the isles one can see this conglomerate's support of the organic/free-range food movement as well. So how is it that their most important resource in sustainability, the human workforce, is not 100% compliant to their practices?
Here's my story: Saturday I went food shopping for a day at the beach. I planned to purchase a couple snacks, a pack of soda and a bag of ice. As usual, I forgot my canvas bag on the way into the store but, as should be expected from a "green grocer," the first rack of items for sale is the canvas bags. Thankful for the reminder, I walked back out to my car and grabbed my canvas bag. I continued on with my shopping and picked up a few more snacks and two plastic picnic cups for easy sipping on the beach. I brought my fair up to the register, handed the cashier my canvas bag and proceeded to not pay attention to the bagging lady at the end while I paid for my groceries.
To my horror, when I turned, I saw my limp canvas bag sitting patiently at the end surrounded by a sea of plastic-bagged items. She had placed half of the snacks in the canvas bag (maybe three items), the other half in a plastic bag, the already bagged ice in its own bag, the soda which had a handle in its own bag and the two plastic cups together in their own bag. She gave me very innocent grandmotherly smile of pride for a job well done and wished me a wonderful day out in the beautiful weather. To further add to it, the cashier handed me a receipt about 2 feet long of coupons that I will never use; also with a very gracious smile.
I grinned back through gritted teeth and took my cart to the exit where the bag recycle box was waiting for my deposit. I repacked my groceries fitting everything that needed bagging into the canvas bag, dropped the instantly wasted plastic bags into the box and quickly left the store. Baffled, I couldn't come to terms if this was a wavering common sense on the lady's part, a lack of training on the store's part, or my own ignorance about grocery packing strategy. Any way, we all three had a hand in a senseless waste that day.
By Lindsey Swanson, Marketing Intern
There is no other way of putting it: my vovô (Portuguese for grandfather) was a miser. His story is a familiar one: born a first generation immigrant in Fallriver Massachusetts, he was the oldest of seven and lived in utter poverty. After seventh grade he went to work in the factories, only to be drafted as a teenager in WWII. His life was long and hard, but full of small successes. He sent all of his children to college and made a better life for them than the one he had. It is the story most Americans conjure when they consider the life of an immigrant.
Despite his ultimate financial success, my vovô was one of the stingiest men one could ever hope to meet-to the point where his habits bordered on unsanitary. He would reuse the same napkin for up to five days, refolding it neatly on the table after each meal. He would wash and reuse the plastic utensils at McDonalds until they physically wore down. He refused to go to the laundry mat until the dirt or stench on his clothes was detectable. He only showered bi-weekly. He would rather wear mittens in his own home than turn the heat on, and would often wander in the dark to save money on electricity bills.
While all of vavoo's efforts were fueled by the memory of the great depression and the desire to stretch his dollar, they are not dissimilar to the things that environmentalists urge the public to do.
In their eyes, vavoo was exemplary: he did not abuse paper or plastic goods, he conserved gas and energy, and he was even careful about uselessly expending water. Though others may not have the same flagrant disregard for their own hygiene and comfort, the idea behind vavoo's logic and environmental consideration is fundamental: value and conserve your resources. Wastefulness and excess did not exist to vavoo. With America developing so quickly over the last century, we have evolved into a society where waste is the norm; we are accustomed to running through resources. Yet all it takes to change these habits is a little conscious thought.
So I have to ask myself: regardless of whether your motive is to save money or to save the earth, isn't resource conservation just plain good sense?
By Mark Campanale, Marketing Manager & Social Media Trainer
I love how marketing/branding/business in general can be summed up by Yoda:
"Try not. Do or do not. There is no try."
Indeed, there is no try. When you try, you let yourself off the hook if you fail, which is case-in-point with the hotel I stayed at recently in NY.
There were signs everywhere of the tired phrase "we're going green!" They'll only wash your towels if you put them on the floor; change your sheets only if you request; low flow toilets; etc. Kudos.
However it wasn't until I trudged down to the courtesy coffee bar when I saw the major inconsistency:
Really? All of the sustainable attempts throughout the hotel and they can't give us mugs or at least recycled paper cups?
So of course I had to ask the manager why the 'let down', to which he replied,
"We're trying our best."
He let himself off the hook; he gave himself an out. There was no sustainable initiative, rather a bandwagon greening attempt.
Have you seen any sustainable inconsistencies at the businesses you patronize?