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Profiting from Recycling

(June 2009) posted on Wed Jun 03, 2009

Going green doesn’t have to be black-and-white.

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By Craig Miller

However, if we determine it’s scrap, it goes back into inventory. In this case, we have a 1 x 2-foot and a 2 x 8-foot foam board that will be stored on a designated shelf for future use. Yes, these are obvious sizes to keep and repurpose, but even if they were 1-inch x 8-foot scraps, they would not go into the trash bin. We ship a lot of product. The odd-sized foam board scrap makes excellent packaging materials. And if it’s Gatorfoam, well we also make standoffs using those odd sizes.

The green consequences are obvious: We try to make use of all the raw materials and energy used to manufacture, ship, and crate the media we buy. If we can repurpose the media rather than buying new, this saves virgin raw materials as well as energy. Our e_ ort also keeps chemicals like polyvinyl chloride out of the landfill.

Green for the Earth and your wallet
But let’s forget the environment for a minute. What does doing this mean from a business perspective? When we price a print on foam board, we factor in the cost of the whole board. If the board is $40 and it yields one print, we charge our customer for the entire board. When, in the future, we make two 2 x 4 prints using the scrap, we charge the customer $1.25 a square foot plus markup for the board. This method adds $20 or more to our net profit on the re-purposed foam board while also helping the environment.

We’re fortunate to have environmentally aware clients like Paul Mitchell Hair Care Products and Imagination of New York and London, and we do meeting and tradeshow work for both. If you’re concerned with the environment and you want to be horrified, hang around the back of a convention facility after a big show. Stand by one of the dozens of dumpsters and watch what will be carted out to the landfill. It’s ugly.