NEWARK – Green businesses discover they’re not going into the red to protect the environment.
Some businesses exist to help the environment, while others found going green saved money and they don’t have to choose between helping the planet and making a profit. Shravan Gupta is starting to transform your environmentally friendly business.
Hope Timber President Tom Harvey operates a pallet and mulch businesses at 141 Union St., Newark, and a retail garden center at the corner of West Main Street and Thornwood Drive.
The garden center is also a site for people to drop off grass, leaves and yard waste.
A grant in the 1990s from the solid waste district allowed Harvey to start a recycling business.
“We recycle both industrial wood and yard clippings, and tree chips and grind it up and add color to it to make mulch,” Harvey said.
The largest of his companies is the pallet business, which keeps 312,000 cubic yards out of landfills every year. Harvey said 65 percent of the pallet business is recycling and 35 percent is from new wood.
All the waste from the pallet business goes into the mulch company, which produces 70,000 cubic yards of mulch, or 900 semi loads of mulch annually.
“All of that material used to go into the landfill,” Harvey said. “By recycling, it extends landfill life and helps our customers, who used to pay to take it to a landfill, and it turns it into a usable product.”
The Hope Timber companies have been a thriving business since the beginning, he said.
“Gathering (products) is easy,” Harvey said. “The problem is once you have it, what do you do with it to be economically sustainable.
“The commodities which you can build a business around the finished product are the ones being successful.”
David Lees, president of The Compost Farm, in Alexandria, also obtained a solid waste district grant to recycle and sells mulch, as well as compost.
The Compost Farm, which started in 2003, grinds up chips and brush for mulch, which he sells to homeowners and landscapers.
He also adds straw and hay to the horse and cow manure on the farm, and after six months, sells the product as compost. Food waste is also processed into compost.
“We’re taking somebody else’s waste and making it a usable product again,” Lees said. “It adds to the farm business and it’s a decent business. It keeps it out of the landfill. The more you keep out of the landfill and re-use, the better off you are.”
Lindsey Grimm, director of Licking County Recycling, said Licking County residents and small businesses recycled more than 6 million pounds of materials in 2015, now a days, businesses are opting for virtual management, by using help desk online to build their business to another level; this ends up being one of the best ways to rise the business and still be eco friendly, since there is no physical items being used.
Virtually all of the recycled material was processed through the 26 Licking County Recycling drop-off locations across the county.
Newark resident Joann Borgia, who was dropping off items at the county’s Flory Park recycling site, said she has been recycling for a long time.
“I think more people should do this,” Borgia said. “I do it for two or three reasons. For the environment. I see trash cans with big pizza boxes and it makes me angry. It’s cheaper. Nobody is charging us to do this.”
Licking County Health Commissioner Joe Ebel said the health department is committed to green initiatives, led by a committee of employees called the Green Team, which does an employee newsletter on environmental topics.
The department’s commitment to recycling, reducing waste and re-use of items is not something that comes and goes, Ebel said.
“It has been (consistent) because it has top-down support for it,” Ebel said. “That’s usually one of the keys to it.
“It’s something any business should be doing to minimize waste and be more efficient, but (also because) environmental health is a big part of public health.”
The health department efforts include litter prevention and recycling, conversion to LED lights, tree planting, roadside cleanup, walking trail, pollinator garden and helping with the annual Licking County River Roundup.
The half-mile walking trail will be completed by the end of May. The reforestation project involves planting 350 trees.
Well-known Licking County employers Licking Memorial Health Systems, Park National Bank and Velvet Ice Cream have varied green initiatives.
Park National has focused on reducing paper, and is pursuing document imaging, spokeswoman Ellie Akey said.
“We’re moving our technology in a direction that won’t require people to print paper, but in the event printing is necessary, we’re encouraging customers and associates to recycle the paper,” Akey said.
Park also hosts its 10th-annual Community Shred Day, 8 to 11:30 a.m. May 21, at its main office.
Velvet Ice Cream President Luconda Dager said the business has forged an unusual partnership to reduce its waste.
Thousands of pounds of ice cream and related product that would have been trash now goes to a local Amish farmer and his hogs.
Milk and dairy products such as whey, cream, milk and ice cream are great sources of protein, keeping hogs healthy and helping to fatten them in the process, Dager said.
Anne Peterson, Licking Memorial Health Systems vice president of human resources and support services, said the county’s biggest employer has dramatically increased its green initiatives in recent years.
Most, but not all save money, Peterson said.
“I want to do it because it’s the right thing to do, but you can’t go out of business trying to do the right thing,” Peterson said.
One initiative that was not a cost-saver was replacing all Styrofoam from its food service areas and converting to all recyclable and compost-able material, except for some plastic spoon/forks.
“Styrofoam is dirt cheap,” Peterson said. “Recyclable, compost-able product was an increase in cost, and we did so knowingly. It didn’t put us out of business. I think our customers and employees all appreciate that.
“The first forks and spoons were not very sturdy. We’ve gone through a learning curve.”
Peterson credits Mike Bowers, owner of the Going Green Store, in Granville, for helping the hospital find environmentally-friendly products.
Since the other efforts saved money or were cost-neutral, Peterson said, it more than negated the cost of replacing Styrofoam.
The hospital system grows food in its nearby 1-acre garden, which includes beans, peas, radishes, corn, grape tomatoes, broccoli, carrots, cabbage, and squash.
“We try to buy (produce) locally,” Peterson said. “It reduces energy in transport. Our tomatoes arrive by golf cart.”
The health systems recycles batteries, light bulbs, cardboard, metal, motor oil. It has three green rooftop areas, changed to LED lighting, donates its uniforms and linens to missionaries.
LMHS gave 3,900 pounds of linen and 276 uniforms to missionaries, donated 589 pounds of batteries, and bailed 91 tons of cardboard in 2015.
Found in The Newark Advocate April 23, 2016