Donald Trump said, “As long as you’re going to think anyways, THINK BIG.”

At first, Saturn of Indiana’s manufacturing plant didn’t think they could achieve zero landfill status, but by setting the goal and thinking big, they were able to take the neccesary steps to that mark. OK, I know Trump wasn’t refering to zero landfill status when he talked about thinking big, but you get the point.

Industry Week published a few briefs dated July 1 (so I’m assuming the articles are coming out in a to be released paper issue) and it caught my green-manufacturing eye.

I think the tone of the articles are a sign of green becoming commonplace. The magazine describes the necessity of green practices and its benefits while barely even mentioning the planet, or our climate. They just highlight companies that have made efforts to contribute zero waste to landfills: in Subaru of Indiana’s case, done in part by making sure materials are used again and that the byproduct of byproducts are sent for recycling.

Subaru also hired Allegiant Global to help them keep up with their zero waste goals because assafety and environmental compliance manager Denise Coogan, Subaru of Indiana says.

“We’re in the car making business, not the waste management business,” 

“Allegiant finds us places to recycle our material.”

And they do this by doing three primary things:

 

“on-site collection and sorting of recyclable materials,

advice on using recyclable and reusable materials,

and creation of markets for manufacturing byproducts. “

 This is the kind of thing the Green Collar Economy B2B Directory was made for. Finding companies like this that can help you save money and reduce waste.

 

Industry Week also highlights another large corporation, Frito-Lay, which has created their very own Department of Energy, which allowed them to better develop an off grid energy plan.

 

With progression like this, the planet benefits while you, the manufacturer, benefits. The attraction of a green economy is the idea that it could actually create a stronger economy while we making the necessary changes needed to preserve earth.

An important lesson to learn from these stories is that they never thought “zero waste”, or “net zero” would happen at such a large plant or at such a large scale but by taking the right steps in the right direction, it gradually became a reality.

As a general rule, it’s a great idea to aim high. Even if you think zero waste or even carbon neutrality is not possible, aim for it anyways, set a deadline and try to get as close to it as you can. Even if you don’t hit the number you expected, you will be headed in the right direction.

 

The concept of Green Collar Manufacturing is in a state of transition right now. It’s not quite fully accepted in some areas but there is tremendous room for growth. In some cases there are shortages in engineering jobs and at the same time the job market is hurting. We see so much good in green practices and most people would agree that we can make changes in the way we do business.

 

The changes are difficult, new, and sometimes confusing. And they also usually cost more. Realizing a return on investment is becoming easier and quicker as conventional energy prices go up. Renewables allow us to reduce our impact on the earth and create our own infinite energy supply. There is money to be made here and that’s what we are promoting every day here at Green Collar Media.

 

Most people won’t make a lifestyle change unless it is painless and affordable. With so many options and things do get done in normal business activity, it’s no wonder converting to green solutions is pushed aside for later. There are more important things to tend to sometimes.

 

It’s this page along with http://www.greencollareconomy.com that can publicize our message:

 

Taking advantage of our previous oversights can strengthen our economy. This can be done by taking green business practices into consideration, finding knowledgeable staff, implementing a plan of attack, and changing the way we use energy and resources.

 

Sign up for a username at GreenCollarEconomy.com > add your thoughts to our community forums and list your business in our directory. Be a part of a site for the first generation of green collar professionals.

Everyday, I log into Green Collar Manufacturing, hoping to acquire a new reader, or get some feedback, or make a connection; all in an effort toward making the green economy a reality. It will take a while, as Sal Dimasi so honestly pointed out, for it to fully come to fruition, but every day I use my space in the blogosphere to create more content on the subject. There can never be enough as far as I am concerned.

The one post per day that I write seems a bit low considering the amount of info and news on the web regarding alternative energy jobs, renewable, solar, wind, weatherization, community farms, smart grids, smart cars, hybrids, ethanol. Yet all I do is post once per day. What else can I do without actually putting my hands into the creation of these products and services? I definitely can’t do everything, so I have to pick my focus. 

The one thing I can do is come to my office every weekday morning at 9 and stay until around six, contributing to the progression of the green movement. The movement itself is on a roll and it’s not because of my blog that I started a month ago; this is, obviously, far bigger than me. But I can continue playing the role of internet advocate.

On Monday I will be a part of the launching of the Green Collar Media flagship website, Green Collar Economy. It’s another way to more swiftly advance the movement, as the site will be a clearinghouse for ideas and a location to find partners, products, or services. This is made possible with a 2700 company business to business directory divided into seven channels: Business Services, Transportation, Capital, Energy, Environment, Facilities & Construction, and Office.

Green Collar Economy provides a vital new community for business professionals where ideas can be shared, news stories discovered, deals discussed and jobs found. By bringing more people together our economy benefits and businesses can exceed expectations. They can top the projected job estimates, they can reduce emission rates ahead of deadlines, and we can resuscitate the economy, not follow it into recession. Green collar economy can reward companies for sharing stories of success. It can also alter the thinking of business leaders who aren’t looking toward the distant future of climate change because their job relies on profit first.

The goal of Green Collar Economy.com is to establish a database of content (authored and user generated) that proves the worth of profitable sustainability; proof that responsible energy use and less wasteful practices can add to your margin while reducing the destructive impact humans have on earth.

The site will not ask you to hug a tree, or go vegan, or change your lifestyle. Its objective is to help us all benefit from doing the things we have to do anyways: reduce our dependence on foreign oil, create jobs, please stakeholders, remove pollutants from the air and water, support our families, and restore pride in being an American. You are welcome to join Green Collar Economy.com today, though we are still preparing to officially launch on Monday March 24, 2008.

I just read an article by Anna Waugh, the associate editor of the Mac Weekly, Macalester College’s school newspaper. The Ford Motors Plant near the school will be closing in 2009 and Macalester students are trying to work with Unions and the community to green the space when it goes vacant. There are substantial positives that can result from this, contrary to the abundant negatives that usually follow large American motor factory closings.

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They’re talking green all the way. Residential housing, shopping centers, and then the choice of where to invest. Will it be light rail manufacturing? Or renewable energy production? Or maybe something else really cool that I don’t even know about? The changes could actually improve the quality of life for the surrounding community, not bring it down with the factory closing. The Ford Site Planning Task Force appointed by the city of St. Paul is coming up with the plan which they think will be a “beacon for what green jobs can really be in this country”.

Yes, this is great. We aren’t letting a day go by without using a facility in the best possible way. The wave of green is so strong that all these students, architects, engineers, union members and folks in the community are basically telling Ford, “Don’t let the door hit ya on the way out.”

It’s almost like exchanging one infrastructure for a more modern one that, well, just makes more sense. It’s also important to note that they’re not really sure what type of green manufacturing business they will go with. They’ll probably just take bids from several emerging companies or from current companies that can’t keep up with demand.

My favorite part of this might be the focus on building community. It allows people to share energy sources more easily and we avoid spending so much on transportation when we agree to live, shop, and work in the same general area. People are usually friendlier in these areas and work together with their neighbors.

Hopefully, Macalester and the city of St Paul will achieve their green goals and their ‘beacon’ can light the way for future manufacturing infrastructure. Maybe Anna Waugh can keep us posted.

                    

 

                              When a leader in renewable energy decides to build a new manufacturing facility they aren’t required to build the factory with a green foundation. I mean they are already creating a way for the masses to save energy. However, for HelioVolt, and a ton of other renewable energy businesses I’m sure, LEED Certification just gives them the opportunity to be green throughout.

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                              “The new HelioVolt manufacturing operation will produce highly efficient thin film solar energy products aimed at revolutionizing the solar energy industry.” According to the press release by TAG International LLP, the architecture and land development services firm brought on to build the new state-of-the-art facility.    

                              “HelioVolt is committed to applying concepts of sustainability across all functions of our business, from our green facility to our solar products.” Said Helio VP of manufacturing operations,  Dave Bowen     

                               And apparently beyond, since they’ll also be encouraging employees at the plant, which is based in Austin, Texas, to use green commuting methods. They’ve even gone so far as to include a changing room for bicyclists.     

                              As it turns out the City of Austin actually does require LEED Certification for municipal buildings, and with privately owned buildings rapidly following suit, why wouldn’t HelioVolt want to build their solar panel factory right in the middle that type of area? File this under: government takes the first step, free market follows, and green economy emerges.