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Companies Finding New & Improved Ways to Conserve

beck, christopher, homeinsurance.comThousands of companies in existence today are finding effective ways to recycle and “go green.” That means good things for cities and areas that want to reduce pollution, the population who wants to live in a cleaner world and for these companies themselves. They save on new materials when they put forth efforts to use recyclables.

Certain tech and electronics companies, car companies and other industries are constantly searching for new and improved ways to conserve. Here are a few whose efforts should be noted.

1.     Hewlett Packard

HP has been doing its part to not only comply with society’s desire to be “greener” and less wasteful; it has gone above and beyond to incorporate sustainability into its business model. As the technological age progresses, HP has recognized a need to control the environmental impact of all those outdated and/or broken electronics and computers, whether the gadget is HP brand or not.

To help slow the problem, HP has opened e-waste recycling facilities. At these plants, shredders and granulators turn old computers and other electronics into bite-sized chunks.

The plants are so efficient they are able to break down 4 million pounds of recycled electronics every month. From this, HP can salvage steel, plastic and other useful, reusable materials. This also helps find toxic chemicals like mercury that would otherwise end up in a landfill.

2.     Verizon

Verizon has implemented several sustainability initiatives. Verizon says the company is aimed at tackling what it feels is a “fundamental responsibility to impact the environment positively.” The company includes its customers and employees in its efforts to conserve, reduce waste and recycle.

Verizon has explored renewable energy conservation methods like solar power, fuel cells and micro turbines. It will invest $100 million in a project to power 19 of its facilities with solar and fuel-cell energy to reduce and conserve energy use. To conserve metals like copper, the company has built out a fiber-optic network called Verizon FiOS.

The company hosts electronics recycling rallies where the public can come to recycle and trade their old cellphones, tablets and laptops. To increase turnout, Verizon offers electronics recyclers a Verizon Wireless gift card.

3.     General Motors (GM)

The world’s largest automaker has recycling and reusing down to an art. GM brings $20,000 every month from the cardboard it recycles. GM claims on its website that the company reuses and recycles “more waste from [their] manufacturing facilities than any other automaker.”

GM chooses to be “landfill-free” in 105 of its facilities and recycles more than 90% of its manufacturing waste worldwide. That was more than 2.6 million tons recycled in 2012 alone. These recycled materials show up in their product as well. GM vehicles contain an average of 85% recycled material by weight “at the end of their useful life.”

The company also generates about a $1 billion in profit every year from selling scrap. It is a great example of a company that has turned its waste into profit.

4.     UPS

The popular shipping company in the United States has joined the corporate world’s mission to reduce, reuse and recycle. UPS has initiated several different recycling and conservation programs.

The company works to involve customers, who can bring in their damaged laptops to any of UPS’ 3,300 stores in the US for repair. It will also repair broken, unwanted laptops and sell them to individuals or e-waste recyclers.

UPS also has efforts in place to reduce its own energy and material waste. In 2011, the company replaced and upgraded 100,000 lighting units with more energy-efficient lighting. The company has recycled 35.4 million pounds of solid waste since 2000. This includes 35,500 pounds of batteries in 2012 alone.

UPS has also embraced responsible packaging to reduce the amount of paper products and other materials it sends out the door as packages. These responsible packages include the “Reusable Next Day Air envelope,” introduced in 1998. It includes 100% recycled fiber, and allows the envelope to be used twice.

5.     Valvoline

Instead of drilling for its own petroleum, Valvoline depends on other oil companies to supply its oil. That means the company, and its customers, are subject to market fluctuations. That means, to Valvoline, conservation is key to keeping its costs low. So, in 2011, Valvoline released a brand new motor oil product called “NextGen” that includes 50% recycled material.

Valvoline touts that NextGen is “better than new oil” because it saves resources and meets industry standards. The company experimented with “re-refined motor oil” for five years before it achieved its goal with NextGen recycled oil.

And Nascar’s Carl Edwards is a fan of NextGen; he uses it in his racing vehicles.

Christopher Beck is an environmental impact consultant for UNITS. Originally from Asheville, NC, he graduated with a degree from the University of South Carolina and is now pursuing a career trying to make the world a better, cleaner place.

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