We all know that recycling is a wonderful thing for the environment and our world. But can recycling alone solve our waste problems in America? The blunt answer is “No”. There are many reasons why recycling alone will not be able to resolve all our waste problems. If producers and manufacturers do not provide reasonable and accessible methods for consumers to recycle their products, the chances of the products being recycled is significantly reduced.
Companies must be working cooperatively with consumers and partnering with waste management facilities to make sure success. Corporations play the most vital role in reducing the world’s waste problems because they are the only ones who can help tackle waste problems and plan for solutions at the source (even before distribution and consumption).
The Texas Campaign For The Environment (TCE), a non-profit, has recently brought this issue to center stage. According to TCE, the time has come to hold more producers accountable for the full life cycle of their products. TCE believes we must eliminate waste beginning with the source (the producer), and that this needs a complete renovation of the current system of “produce it, consume it, toss it out”. If you think about it, it makes so much sense. There is no real accountability in our current system, as so many producers leave the responsibility for recycling in the hands of consumers. Now of course, you would think consumers will always be ultimately responsible for recycling, since producers cannot force someone to recycle their products. But with the recent momentum of “producer take-back” programs that are mandated by environmental laws and pushed by “Zero Waste” proponents, things are really changing. This would force manufacturers to work with waste management companies and government agencies to recover and recycle their products. For long-term success in reducing waste and the harmful effects of landfills, this strategy makes a lot of sense.
TCE is also not waiting for “producer take-back laws” to become more widespread. They are doing everything they can right now to be a great asset for consumers irrespective of what manufacturers are doing. No matter what you’re trying to recycle, TCE funded TexasTakeBack.org is an outstanding resource for information on recycling all kinds of products from paper to household chemicals to batteries. It is always refreshing to see a non-profit group like TCE working so courageously to solve our country’s waste management problems, and it really shines the light on “for profit” corporations and helps to encourage them to finally go green.
Are your company’s products recycled after consumption? In this time of great change in our world, and from a public relations stand point, it is imperative that your company clearly stands out as a green ambassador. As BP learned (the hard way), you cannot wait until you’re right in the middle of an environmental crisis to start on your journey as a green company. Waiting until “you’re forced” to take action will not work. There is no retreating from this issue. If you haven’t already, your company must begin right now to go green in all phases and protect the environment whenever and wherever you can.
Considering your products often have your brand name on them and can easily be identified when wasted, it is creates even more of a sense of urgency to take action. The question of “how” and “where” your products can be recycled is something that should be easily answered by your customers as a result of the resources and tools your provide for them. Ask for feedback from your customers, blog about it and show the world you are actively working towards a solution to making sure all your products are recycled.
You can even go beyond your own products and remember to consider eco friendly supplies like sustainable pens and lanyards and eco promotional items like custom promotional bags for trade shows and job fairs or eco friendly shopping bags for your retail customers. This soft marketing tactic will definitely help show the world your commitment to go green. These kinds of products are truly eco friendly and will not harm the eco system if wasted. Center your community service events around the idea of doing things to help the environment like planting trees or picking up trash in the community on a reoccurring basis.
These are just a few small examples of the kinds of efforts companies and organizations can make to help make sure the continuity and success of the green movement. Consumer eco consciousness is at an all-time high due to so many recent environmental disasters, which means you can’t afford complacency. Be a leader in your industry and take TCE’s advice to go green in all phases today.