A recent survey on green products came with the wry comment that these days people are more interested in saving money than saving the Amazon. That might annoy green advocates, but our preoccupation with reducing costs could end up being the best thing that´s happened to the environment in a long time.
The survey by The Shelton Group concludes that consumers will buy energy-efficient products and services if they see immediate savings. Of those surveyed, 71% said they would buy energy-efficient products to save money. That compares to 55% that cited saving the environment as a reason.
Among the popular means to reduce energy and costs, a large number of consumers said they are saying yes to buying Energy Star brand appliances or a programmable thermostat, and to installing insulation and/or a higher-efficiency water heater. They´re turning off the lights and power strips, adjusting the thermostat and using compact fluorescent bulbs.
Businesses are increasingly looking at going green as a cost-efficient move. A recent article in the Wall Street Journal profiled the Subaru auto plant in Indiana and the savings it has achieved through various means. The plant has reduced electric consumption per car by 14% since 2000, eliminated sending any waste to a landfill since 2004, reduced by nearly 50% the waste generated per vehicle and recycles virtually all that remaining waste. The operation has spent years redesigning plant processes in ways that ultimately, if not at first, save money.
At our office, which includes three other publications, we´ve put a higher priority on things like avoiding printing when possible or using both sides of the paper, turning off lights when rooms aren´t in use, not using disposable plastic coffee cups, etc. Honestly, it´s motivated completely by the drive to cut costs.
The Depression created a generation that by and large never lost its appreciation for the conservation of resources, because there was a strong financial incentive to do so. Maybe economic necessity today will prompt us in business and our personal lives to learn that lesson as well.
(March 30 issue)
Contact Waste & Recycling News editor Allan Gerlat at 330-865-6167 or email@example.com