Aries Clean Energy
July 18, 2018
Let’s take a further look at sustainability regarding how businesses and industries are changing the world with their environmentally sustainable goals and initiatives.
By Dillon Fuller, Aries Clean Energy Staff
When going green, it takes more than just the individuals around the world. It takes the businesses of the world also to do their part. It doesn’t matter if it is a big or small company. All that matters are what are they doing become greener. With about 3.5 million tons of waste being produced a day around the world, how are companies looking to go green? What does it mean for a business to be green?
Walmart employs 2.1 million people around the world. The amount of waste the employees produce, plus the amount of debris from the inventory that is brought in and unpackaged must be outstanding. Therefore, Walmart is moving towards becoming a zero-waste future. Walmart prefers to donate the unsold product or recycle it. In its sustainability report, Walmart says, “To date, we have made good progress – by the end of 2015, Walmart U.S. achieved 82 percent diversion of materials from landfill and diverted an average of 71 percent in international markets.” With companies like Walmart motivating its employees to recycle and striving to reduce the waste in its operations, this is definitely a step in the right direction.
Home Depot is another big recycler posting all its company responsibility reports for everyone to see. In 2017, The Home Depot responsibility report stated that it recycled more than 225,000 tons of cardboard, over 1 million pounds of rechargeable batteries, over 180 thousand lead batteries, and over 860 thousand pounds of CFL (florescent) bulbs. The Vice President of Sustainability at The Home Depot, Ron Jarvis, gave some advice for newer companies looking to be environmentally sustainable. He said, “Companies just starting out must intuitively know their potentially largest environmental impact and set paths for continual measurable improvements.” What he is saying is pick out what you believe is the most significant area your company can impact and always continue to make it better. For example, if your company believes its most significant impact can be recycling, then every year try to beat your previous year’s goals. Come up with new initiatives or technology to make it easier or better for your employees or customers.
KROGER’S ENERGY INITIATIVE
Some easy ways for companies to reduce the amount of energy they are using is by taking the following steps:
- Install motion sensors that keep lights from staying on when no one is in the office,
- Add hand sensing faucets to keep from wasting water,
- Upgrade to energy efficient electronics, and
- Invest in alternative energy if you are a large enough company.
Anything you can update to be more energy efficient helps the company not only helps the environment but helps lower the cost of operations. Kroger is doing all this at large scale. It has reduced its overall energy consumption by 34% since the year 2000. Also, it has saved 1.6 billion kilowatt’s which is enough electricity to power 119,000 homes for one year. That was the equivalent to taking 238,878 cars off the road as well. The company’s 2020 initiative is to reduce its consumption by 40%. Fantastic with all the needs for food refrigeration and the amount of food Kroger must bring in every day, Kroger is still finding a way to save energy. The most significant impact a company can make is by doing something rather than nothing.
The Kroger Recovery System is a machine at the Ralphs/Food 4 Less Distribution Center that takes food that cannot be donated and turn that into biogas to help reduce the carbon footprint on the planet. In 2016, it produced 1.8 million kilowatts of electricity. If the machine does not use the energy, then it goes back to power the building. Kroger had broken ground in 2016 to establish a wastewater version of the food digester in Greensburg, Indiana. These advances in technology are a great way Kroger is helping fellow businesses, communities, and the environment. Kroger has many goals for the year 2020 to help reduce its carbon footprint along with other sustainability goals.
ALTERNATIVES TO GAS TRANSPORTATION
Nissan Motor Company has been the biggest company in the news recently with its 2022 initiatives for sustainability. Most of the efforts have been social issues, but another one is how it plans to move towards electric vehicles rather than gas-powered cars. The Nissan Green Program 2022 is a plan to move towards more efficient electric vehicles, zero-emission penetration vehicles, and more. It is a more significant step from their NGP 2016 plan except now they have the technology to push their program even more. The company plans on combating four main issues with their shareholders and investors: Climate Change, Resource Dependency, Air Quality and Water Scarcity. If more car manufacturing companies started to invest in electric vehicles, it would reduce the amount of oil being consumed and significantly reduce the amount of emissions entering the air.
Tesla is usually known for their electric vehicles, SpaceX, and now their solar panel technology. Tesla is indeed an innovative company looking to rid the world of fossil fuels by having the best technology. The company even allows other companies to use some of their technology to help spread it across the globe. The one program that most people forget about is Elon Musk’s, the CEO of Tesla, hyperloop technology. The Hyperloop is a train like-system which would be in a vacuum tube to allow frictionless travel and would propel the passengers at a speed of 760 MPH over vast distances. The Hyperloop is also powered by magnets, air, and a small amount of electricity. Virgin and SpaceX are both working to create these products and have had tremendous support from the federal government and other governments around the world. Elon Musk holds a competition with schools every year to have them create their technology for the Hyperloop. With this kind of technology, it would help alleviate the amount of fuel used for planes, cars, and trains because this would replace them. Also, it would help lessen the amount of congestion we have around the world at airports, train stations, and other places. Currently, there is something called the loop, created by The Boring Company which is a version of the Hyperloop with production in Chicago, Illinois and a loop from the state of Maryland to Washington D.C. A version of the train is making a comeback and people are excited about this new clean way of transportation.
CREATING A GREENER EARTH
With the advancements in technology companies around the world are building a better tomorrow but there’s a long way to go. No matter if you are a small company or a large company there are ways to become green. Here at Aries Clean Energy, we are building a better future. Since 2016 we have recycled 146 pounds of plastic, 401 pounds of cardboard, and 895 pounds of paper. As a smaller company, we are also making an impact on the environment.
We are not just creating a cleaner Earth in the office. Aries Clean Energy produces a renewable clean energy source through gasification. We have two processes called the downdraft and the fluidized bed gasification. The downdraft takes wood scraps and provides clean energy while the fluidized bed takes biosolids from the wastewater treatment plants and provides a more environmentally friendly solution for biosolids disposal. The City of Lebanon, Tenn., has received Tennessee’s highest Environmental Stewardship Award for energy and renewable resources because of the downdraft gasification plant Aries designed and built for them. We believe that the company, along with other business can substantially impact the world.
If companies motivate their employees to live greener lives at work, then it could drive them at home to live a more eco-friendly life. It the past month of working at Aries, it has genuinely made me think more consciously about the world we live in. With about 3.5 billion jobs in the world, this means that businesses could impact individuals and the environment but in a good way. I would love to see people start caring more for our earth and its ecosystem because the company they work for cares about it as well.