Going green is important. And we can all do our individual parts to help—whether that’s by recycling, making your home more energy efficient, or just turning off the water when you’re brushing your teeth. The bottom line is that everyone can do their part. But the responsibility of going green doesn’t lie solely with individuals. The government and private businesses need to get involved too. The great news is that in many ways companies are leading the way to a greener planet. Let’s take a look at who’s making the effort to go green.
Starbucks—The coffee giant has saved 78,000 trees per year since 2006 simply by using coffee cup sleeves made of recycled paper. Even better, it offers a discount for customers who bring in their own reusable cups. In 2011 alone, this kept more than 1.5 million pounds of paper out of landfills.
Wal-Mart—Long hated by the green industry, Wal-Mart is turning a new leaf. It recently announced a long-term plan to power every single one of its stores with 100% renewable energy. It’s also working with is suppliers to ensure the products it sells are more eco-friendly.
Burt’s Bees—A lipbalm company seems like an unlikely candidate, but in 2010 it achieved its goal of putting zero waste into landfills. (Yes, you read that right. Zero. As in none.) It accomplished this through a combination of making more efficient processes, recycling, and reusing. What cannot be recycled is shredded and blended into fuel for cement manufacturers.
Dell—Electronic waste is a quickly growing category. To make that statement a little more clear, in 2008 the US generated 3 million tons of e-waste—and less than 14% of it was recycled. Yikes. Dell is helping solve this problem by partnering with Goodwill to provide more than 2,200 sites throughout the US to collect any unwanted electronics products. This will allow Dell to keep hazardous materials out of the environment as well as reuse valuable and scarce materials.