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.

 

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Today in Inside Indiana Business, the WIRED (Workforce Innovation in Regional Economic Development) Program was highlighted as a collaboration between Indiana Department of Workforce Development, manufacturers from 14 counties in the state, and Purdue University, all of which was made possible by federal funding from the Department of Labor.

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I see this as a great example of how a focus on training the green collar workforce is in motion and that the green wave is gaining momentum. The training will allow for businesses to improve the rate of return they receive on investing in green.  By employing people who are well versed in sustainability practices, Indiana businesses can compete in an economy which has increasingly been favoring responsible corporate practices. Also, if you have read any of my other posts you’d know that universities have been playing key roles in driving green training and information.

There’s so much great stuff in this article I’m just going to list the practices that this program’s going to bring to workers and managers.

General skills level training:

Environmental waste streams and receptors

Managing hazardous wastes

Waste minimization

Using green materials in manufacturing

Alternative energy sources

Low impact manufacturing processes

Globalization issues involving green manufacturing

Specialist Skills Training (for managers)

                Engineering economics in green manufacturing

Facility assessment

Potential financial benefits

Engineering green manufacturing projects

There are also examples of sustainable manufacturing practices that have worked:

                Wastewater through a generator to produce electricity

Recycle metal dust into aluminum

Biodegradable packaging

I have to give so much credit to Inside Indiana Business for getting this info out to us and hopefully I can spread this story to more interested parties as well. They will be streaming video of training session for the public on the web and the more people that see it the more solid our sustainability base can be. Purdue obviously has made a big impact into this as well “Go Boilermakers”.