Building Sustainable Communities
How your business can support eco-friendly initiatives
A sustainable community is one that is built or modified with with sustainable living in mind. This can range from incorporating eco-friendly infrastructure and affordable housing, through to creating an environment that makes recycling easier for community members.
Many cities and communities work with groups such as The Partnership for Sustainable Communities, or The Institute for Sustainable Communities to achieve their goals. Cities such as Burlington, VT and Seattle, WA have had great success in implementing sustainable policies within their communities. The city of San Francisco even has the goal of becoming a zero waste city by the year 2020!
Recycling and composting makes up a huge part of what makes communities more eco-friendly, and many cities have taken a zero waste pledge, which is defined by the Zero Waste International Alliance as cities that are “working towards or have reduced their waste to landfill, incineration and the environment by 90% or more.”
What does this mean for your business?
As a business owner you are in the unique position of being able to directly support, or even help build, your sustainable community. It can be difficult to know where to begin, but your product and packaging supply chain is a great place to start.
It has been estimated that packaging represents one-third of all municipal waste in the United States! (Ackerman 1997) That’s a lot of waste going to landfills. How can you help?
- By implementing a Triple Bottom Line (3 P's: Profit, People and Planet) - and using recycled, recyclable, or compostable packaging for your products - your business can significantly reduce its impact on the environment.
- By setting a good example for other businesses in your area through education and business outreach you can encourage other local businesses to reduce their waste.
- Make it easier for your customers and local community members to dispose of their packaging in a sustainable way!