Earth Day 2023  Act Boldly. Innovate Broadly. Implement Equitably.

Earth Day’s theme this year is a continuation of the successful 2022 campaign, Invest in the Planet. Investing in the circular economy is the only path to a sustainable, prosperous and equitable future. The business community can drive value for their institutions and society with green innovation and practices. Smart businesses and organizations already know that sustainability and profitability go hand-in-hand. According to research by Accenture, reimagining waste as a resource could unlock an estimated $4.5 trillion in additional economic growth by 2030 by turning waste into wealth. Reimaging waste as a resource is the foundation of a circular economy.

Waste as Resource

Manufacturing a product from scratch creates waste and pollution at each step of the production process, from procuring the raw materials to transforming them into finished products. For example, using recyclables reduces the carbon emissions generated in converting trees to pulp, mining ore for precious metals and rare earth elements, and drilling for fossil fuels.

According to the Institute for Scrap Recycling Industries (ISRI), recycling one ton of material is equivalent to*:

  • The amount of gas you would use to drive across the United States 2.5 times in your car.
  • Saving 3,300 pounds of coal from being mined.
  • Restoring 3.8 acres of U.S. forests each year to capture carbon dioxide in the atmosphere.

*Calculation based on the average figure for all recycled materials

The recycling sector supplies 40 percent (on average across all commodities) of the raw material needs for U.S. manufacturing. This transforms more than 130 million metric tons of obsolete materials from consumers, businesses, and manufacturers into useful raw materials. These specification grade commodities are sold as valuable feedstock to industrial consumers in the United States and in 145 countries around the world. Recyclable commodity exports make a positive contribution to the US balance of trade because in recent years we’ve been importing more than we export.

What Can YOUR Business Do?

Platitudes like “Earth Day Every Day” are starting to ring hollow. Fighting climate change seems overwhelming. You may be thinking “What can my business do? I barely made it through Covid!” There ARE small things that every business can do. Combined, each little bit adds up and makes a difference.

  • Start a Recycling Program

Not recycling at work yet? Get a program going! If you’re too small for an independent program and located in a multi-tenant building, reach out to the property manager to see if they’ll set up a multi-tenant program in which all tenants participate to reach the required minimums.

If that isn’t an option, organize a “Clean Your Files Day” which is limited in time and scope. Contact a recycling company, arrange for collection containers, clarify the do’s and don’ts and get the word out to employees. An experienced recycling company can help with every step of the process. In addition, you can arrange to recycle your surplus and obsolete electronics with a reliable information technology asset manager (ITAD).

  • Invest in renewable energy and energy efficiencies.
  • Many utility companies offer rebates for upgrading lighting to more energy efficient systems. Motion sensors that turn off the lights after a set period of time are a small investment.
  • Go paperless as much as possible, keeping in mind that there are environmental impacts from electronic communications as well.
  • Offer bike to work incentives and encourage the use of public transportation and car-pooling.
  • Mitigate the carbon impact of your business by planting native trees around your property. Shade trees properly located are a great investment in the future.
  • Plant a native pollinator garden.
  • Organize a team to participate in the cleanup of a park or road.
  • Check to see what events are scheduled in your area to help the environment or just hang out with fellow “tree-huggers.”
  • Remind your team members to “Recycle Right” both at home and at the office. The recycling “do’s & don’t” could be different. They may seem arbitrary but they are not. What’s acceptable and what’s not depends upon the equipment used for collection and at the processing plant and proximity to end markets, to name just three factors.

 Invest In The Planet. Invest In Our Future.

Just last month (3/21/23), the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), released The Synthesis Report, which reports key insights from six previous reports. It confirms both emissions and atmospheric concentrations of greenhouse gases are now at record highs. “To keep warming within 1.5°C (2.7°F), above pre-industrial levels, global greenhouse gas emissions must decline by around 21% by 2030 and around 35% by 2035.”

“It’s now or never, if we want to limit global warming to 1.5°C (2.7°F),” IPCC Working Group III co-chair Jim Skea said in a statement. “Without immediate and deep emissions reductions across all sectors, it will be impossible.” According to the reports, we have the tools but politics is getting in the way.


Invest in Our Planet.

Reduce. Reuse. Remanufacture. Recycle.