Why going “green” is good for business
Yokohama Tire Manufacturing Virginia has declared it is now “zero landfill.” In September, the plant announced it sends nothing at all to a landfill. By reducing the waste it generates, recycling what it can, and sending non-recyclable trash to an incinerator, they’ve converted waste to an energy recovery resource.
Yokohama’s director of environmental health and safety, Neil Dalton, said it required a shift in mindset to achieve the zero-waste-to-landfill goal.
“In order to be a zero-landfill plant, it was important to understand as a company that you can’t throw anything away because there simply is no ‘away,’” Dalton said.
Environmentally friendly practices aren’t just for big international operations either. Iowa City Tire and Service has taken steps to recycle what it can, including batteries, used lead wheel weights, tires, refrigerants and motor oil. Pete’s Tire Barns has implemented a series of changes, including retreading tires rather than replacing them; reusing building, packaging and transport materials; training drivers and reducing reliance on heating. Following their lead, we looked into the benefits going “green” might have for your business. Here are ideas for how you can be a more environmentally conscious business and why not going green might be a mistake in the long run.
It’s easier than you think.
Customers recognize when businesses are environmentally conscious. But keep in mind consumers are discerning; you can’t just seem green – you have to actually be green. Aiming to send zero waste to a landfill might seem like a lofty goal, but small changes to the way you run your business, or do your marketing, don’t have to cost a fortune. For example, it’s likely you already send old tires away for recycling or processing, but do you tell your customers that? Why not include a note on their invoice explaining what you do with waste?
Give your customers the option to buy “green” tires
Tire manufacturers know environmentally friendly practices are good for business so they make a sustainable line. Aside from production practices, “ecofriendly” tires are those reducing roll-resistance, making the car run more efficiently and using less fuel. Less fuel burning means fewer emissions, which means a healthier environment. Bridgestone, Goodyear, Yokohama, Hankook and Pirelli all make ecofriendly tires.
Stock products with innovative recycling chains
Timberland Tires, for example, turns a waste product into a new product – Timberland boots. You might already stock tires like this but make sure you tell your customers about them. You could even keep the upcycled product – in Timberland’s case, the boot – in your office or waiting room explaining the creative ways tires can be recycled into something brand new. Other products, like valves and rims, can also be recycled.
Save money through green office and workshop practices
Creative thinking helps reduce your impact on the environment in day-to-day activities in addition to the products you sell. For example, Pete’s Tire Barns uses air compressors to heat the retread facility and service area. An energy audit can show you how to save power, reduce emissions, and also save money. You could also purchase green electricity if it’s available in your area. Using recycled paper and biodegradable cleaning detergents are simple ways to reduce your business’s environmental impact. If you do make these changes, make sure you tell your customers about them on your paperwork or on your website.
Teach your customers how to go green
The emissions created by motor vehicles are something you can help indirectly reduce by educating your customers. Include tips to improve their fuel economy in a customer care package. Tips can include keeping tires at the correct pressure, using the highway, avoiding congestion where possible and carpooling if they live near a coworker.
Given that customers are quick to spot an eco-fraud, it’s worth sharing the green initiatives of your business and encouraging your customers to do the same. Not only will it be clear you are genuine about environmentally friendly practices, your community will help the environment at the same time. And that’s what it’s all about, after all.