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Nov 07

Businesses In Notoriously “Un-Green” Industries That Are Going Green

While, yes, the world is getting a little greener, there are still major industries that are struggling to get into the “green” world.

These industries include waste/garbage, paper, automotive, oil, and technology. Why is this? Well, it’s tough to change industries that have always been wasteful and very “un-green”.

But there are a few companies in each of these industries that are taking the lead in the greenification effort. I’ve taken a look at one company from each of those industries, which you will see below.

WASTE/GARBAGE

Waste Management

As WM says in their “green” video, people need to throw things away. But it’s how they throw them away and how the waste industry takes care of those things that are thrown that is particularly important to leading a greener future.

WM is by far the largest company in the waste industry, which means it has the resources to jump into the green field and lead the competition in this area.

WM is changing the way waste companies dispose of garbage. Rather than throw it all away in a landfill and let it sit there, eating away at the Earth (I know that this isn’t exactly how it works, as my father works in the waste industry, but it’s a good visual, right?), they are recycling products into things other industries can use. They’re changing waste into power, helping companies and people alike live healthier, greener lives. As they say, let’s re-imagine waste.

PAPER

TicketPrinting.com

While this isn’t exactly a paper company, they use a lot of paper and paper materials. Using paper and making paper products means fewer trees to help our environment stay healthy and sustainable. I don’t want to move to the Moon or Mars yet, do you?

TicketPrinting.com is fueled by 100% wind energy, which means they have cut down their carbon emissions to almost zero. Wind generators are pretty handy out there in Bozeman, Montana.

They’ve also teamed with companies that make recycled paper products, and use them in all of their products that require paper.

And while most companies print everything for records, TicketPrinting.com has cut down on its paper use, reducing the amount of byproduct and toner use. With all the custom printed material they produce, this is a huge deal. They’ve also got an energy efficient building, which takes in less electricity overall. They’ve also got a lenient telecommute system that allows employees to work from home and reduce their carbon emissions.

They also give 5 percent of their annual net income to conservation organizations.

AUTOMOTIVE

MPG Car Rental

This LA-based rental car company has the green idea. If you go to their website, you see they’ve got a 100 percent green fleet of rental cars for its customers. From electric cars to hybrids to the ever-popular Prius, everything they put out there is fuel efficient and runs mostly on clean energy.

As cars put out about four tons of carbon emissions per year, a car rental company that can reduce that by giving each rental customer an eco-friendly alternative to the norm has the right idea.

Here’s the best part, though. If you are thinking about buying a hybrid vehicle, you can rent a few of their cars for up to four days to see how you like it. If you end up buying the same model from one of their affiliated dealers, they will reimburse you for those four days.

If I didn’t already own a hybrid, I’d drive myself out to Los Angeles just to take advantage of this.

OIL

Laurus Energy

This gets a little beyond me, but I’ll give it a go.

The oil and energy industry is notoriously awful for the environment. Among businesses, the oil and energy industry has among the highest carbon footprints. The number is going down, and it’s probably because of companies like this.

So what are they doing differently? Well, coal is a big deal in the energy world. The mining and manufacturing of coal for use is really, really bad for the environment. But, Laurus has taken an innovative approach to mining and manufacturing of coal for use.

They’ve got a system called Underground Coal Gasification that allows them to produce energy and products at much lower emissions than natural gas. That’s pretty low. The system also eliminates the need for surface mining.

Basically, they’re finding a way to capture all that gas and carbon before it gets out into the environment. Sounds pretty good to me.

TECHNOLOGY

Smartsynch

If it isn’t clear already, there is an incredible amount of waste in the technology industry. There is still no real way to recycle the technology we throw away, and while programs are probably in thought, it’s still not here yet, and at the rate we switch out our technology, it is becoming a huge problem.

At Smartsynch, they are changing the cellular smart grid. In fact, the Tennessee Valley Authority picked them to serve as the communications backbone in their renewable program.

So what are they doing?

Rather than build new cell networks, they use existing cellular networks, which simplifies and reduces the cost of smart meter deployments.

Diane Kuehl is a DiY/home improvement professional, as well as green enthusiast. She is also the co-owner of DIY Mother. She lives in Springfield, Illinois with her husband and two kids.

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