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 user 2008-02-15 at 1:24:00 pm Views: 90
  • #21041

    Local businessman spreading the gospel of going green
    Green is the new black in business.
    Fueled by high energy costs, catapulted by public awareness and inspired by reducing the bottom line, going green is taking the business world by storm — pollution free, of course.Companies across the country are incorporating this socially conscious, environmentally friendly concept into their everyday practices — and it’s no different here.

    Philip Padgett, owner of Cartridge City at 1630 S. Church St. in Murfreesboro, is hoping to bring this national phenomenon to the forefront of other local business owners’ minds.Starting this month, Padgett plans to visit area businesses, teaching them “mainly the whole idea of how becoming green can help their business and their standing in the community.”Padgett says his business fits into the green model. The nearly 2-year-old store refills ink cartridges and sells re-manufactured toner cartridges.”We are being a part of the solution,” he said. “Our business is about reusing what’s out there. We’re certainly not the only company that does it.”

    He said reusing ink cartridges reduces the amount of waste in landfills. The Environmental Protection Agency estimates that about four pounds of plastic, metal and chemicals are added to a landfill from each laser toner cartridge that is thrown away.Among other green practices, Padgett’s business uses fluorescent light bulbs, prints on both sides of the paper and turns the lights off at nigh.During his visits, he plans to show business owners how they can be a green business with things as simple as recycled office supplies and equipment. If a company has unused equipment, like a computer, Padgett said he will suggest donating, selling or recycling it.

    He will also encourage businesses to create a drop-off station for recycling. For owners unable to create such a station, Padgett plans to pick up those items and have a drop site at Cartridge City.”There’s not going to be any cost,” Padgett said. “It’s just an opportunity for me to talk with then and just how I want to try to give back to the community.”"It basically means that you are trying to eliminate or lighten the impact on the planet and people,” said Dodd Galbreath, executive director of the Institute for Sustainable Practice at Lipscomb University in Nashville. The institute teaches students how to integrate ecological, social and economic issues into various fields.Lori Munkeboe, director of the office of environmental assistance at the Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation, adds that is looking at “where you can make some environmental choices that fit into your company and what it does. I definitely think it’s going to be different for each business.”

    Experts say customers like to support businesses that practice green.
    “Consumers are also driving this trend with daily purchases/votes for better products,” Galbreath said. “They have begun to think of ways to use their purchasing power to make a difference and a statement.”But, green products can cost as much as four times as their counterparts.”People are willing to pay a little bit more because you are doing something that is really responsible,” Munkeboe said. “Your customers like it when you practice environmental stewardship.”Businesses across all sectors have begun being more environmentally conscious. Last week, Hewlett-Packard introduced two energy-efficient business desktops.Last May, Nissan in Smyrna started conducting trial runs of using forklifts powered by hydrogen fuel cells as opposed to lead-acid batteries.And, BMW became the world’s first automotive maker to use recycled methane gas as energy for its paint shop.”CEOs of the largest corporations have noticed that, as their markets reach the far ends of the globe, they can no longer grow revenue and increase the price of their stock just in quantity of their sales,” Galbreath said. “They have realized that they must grow quality or they will not be able to grow as fast and stay competitive.”

    Padgett thinks paper is the biggest source of waste.
    “Most businesses use twice as much paper as they need to,” he said. “How many people print on both sides of the paper? Right there you can cut the amount of paper use in half.”Munkeboe suggests recycling cell phones and purchasing energy efficient equipment like low-flow commodes. Many products can be purchased at stores like Lowe’s and Home Depot.Sometimes companies can make money by recycling equipment, she said. “Energy savings measures are some of the easiest ‘paybacks’ that businesses benefit from, both quickly and economically.”While fluorescent light bulbs last five to seven years, they can cost three to four times more than the traditional light bulb.”New solutions nearly always cost more than the high impact alternative,” Galbreath said. “They (businesses) are able to make harmful products cheaper only because no one has made them factor in what it really costs society to get rid of the product or the minority of people it hurts.”But, it’s a smart move, says Munkeboe. And, it’s easy.”If it were difficult,” Munkeboe said, “people wouldn’t do it.”