The latest issue of Fast Company has a list of 50 ways to green your business. Here’s the top five:
1 In the past two years, General Mills has turned its solid waste into profits. Take its oat hulls, a Cheerios by-product. The company used to pay to have them hauled off, but realized they could be burned as fuel. Now customers compete to buy the stuff. In 2006, General Mills recycled 86 percent of its solid waste.
2 Take-back programs, in which customers return spent technology to manufacturers, who recycle the parts for new gadgets. The U.S. has long lagged behind many European nations, which mandate the programs, but that’s finally changing. Dell is leading the way, according to Fast Company. Last year, the PC maker recovered 40,000 tons of unwanted equipment for recycling, up 93 percent from 2005.
3 Trains were already the cleanest way to move massive amounts of freight long distances, but General Electric raised the game with its Evolution locomotives, diesel engines launched in 2005 that cut fuel consumption by five percent and emissions by 40 percent compared to locomotives built just a year earlier. Up next, a GE hybrid diesel-electric locomotive.
4 Wal-Mart is providing funding to the biggest truck manufacturers – ArvinMeritor, Eaton, International, and Peterbilt – to develop the first heavy-duty diesel-hybrid 18-wheeler. Wal-Mart will test the prototypes next year.
5 Austin-based concert promoter C3 Presents made news when it banned Styrofoam cups from the sixth annual Austin City Limits Music Festival this year. C3 took a holistic approach to greening nearly every aspect of ACL, from bamboo-based concert T-shirts to gel sanitizer in the bathrooms to bio-diesel power generators.
Read the whole list here.