“It’s not easy being green,” are well-spoken words from our amphibian friend, Kermit the Frog. Now, more than ever, there is a focus on being green. Whether the topic is climate change, greenhouse gasses, recycling, or just plain conserving, the topic surfaces in headlines as we move around in our daily lives. It all comes down to how we impact our environment and what we can do to help Mother Earth maintain her beauty and sustainability for millennia to come.
For some, this is a big leap of faith. Conservation is one thing, but letting go of some of the axioms we or others have used for years isn’t easy. For consumers, the “green” mindset may be about recycling, followed by perhaps composting. It could also incorporate lighting changes to efficient LED bulbs, driving less, or finding a more economical vehicle to drive. All of these actions impact our environment.
For manufacturing, the same applies to some extent. Better means for chemical reclaim, better monitoring of down spaces to conserve lighting and HVAC, use of more environmentally friendly materials—such as lead-free solder—and streamlining processes to reduce waste and scrap (click here to read my recent column on waste.)
All of these combined have a significant impact, but it doesn’t stop there. One of the largest—if not the largest—contributor to waste is paper. As a consumer, we are bombarded by paper waste every day. One just has to open their mailbox at home, and you are spammed by every imaginable form of advertising. There are days where I don’t even receive anything to our home mailbox but a bunch of advertising papers that all have the basic theme—1-800 or “www.buymystuff”—which, most times, go straight into the recycling bin.
I’m definitely not supporting those advertisers’ marketing budgets. How many of you are with me? You know who you are. Some of these advertisers have evolved and taken it to the next level and gone online. Online ads are one reason it takes so long to load your favorite web pages. At least we are not wasting paper—just your time—but that is another story.
The difficulty is letting go of paper. So many of us depend on hard copies that going paperless is a step that, for some, is that leap of faith. With the internet, there really isn’t a need for most consumers to have that hard copy any longer. Almost all utilities offer paperless billing and online account processing. For the most part, that is the largest reduction we as consumers can embrace.
To read this entire column, which appeared in the April 2020 issue of PCB007 Magazine, click here.