Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Great Green Ideas for Your Business

Post by Sheri Gorman, LEED AP, RD Weis Companies Member, Starnet Environmental Issues Committee

Think Reuse First!

Did you know that there are a number of non-profit (501 C3) organizations that happily accept used carpet tile and remnant donations? These groups either redistribute flooring to needy individuals, give it other non-profits, or sell the materials to generate funds, which help support local charitable efforts.

This is a great opportunity to “do the right thing” and give new life to old carpet. You’d also be helping your clients achieve potential tax benefits while generating some very positive PR for their businesses (and yours). These materials often end up occupying valuable warehouse space, so minimizing excess is just a good business practice.

First, you need to identify participating non-profits in your area. It’s easy to get started. Go to your favorite search engine and enter “REUSE CARPET,” along with your city. You’ll be amazed at the many results. Even easier, go to ReDO and click on “find a city.” A list of organizations, along with their accepted materials comes up.

(ReDO is a national and international tax exempt, 501(c) (3) non-profit organization promoting reuse on every level. It was created to fill an informational void identified at a February 1995 conference on reuse, where participants voiced a desire to avoid "reinventing the wheel" and share their knowledge.)

Linda Goldstein of CI Flooring Solutions in St. Louis, MO has found a unique way to make a difference in her community. Operation Food Search distributes food, free of charge, to more than 250 agencies in the Saint Louis area. Each month, more than1.5 million lbs. of food is distributed to 100,000 needy people. Operation Food Search has a number of ways in which it raises funds. One program is called Office Furniture to Food. Used office furniture and carpet are collected and sold, creating critical working capital for the organization.

Elizabeth White reports that for many years RWA Flooring Solutions of Grapevine, TX has been contributing outdated remnant stock to local area charities. In 2008, RWA donated to the Faith Christian School, Rio Bravo Orphanage, Beacon House and several local churches.

We here at RD Weis Companies have been sending carpet to The Loading Dock, Inc., (TLD) a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization with a mission of improving living conditions for families, neighborhoods, and communities. They strive to attain their goal of surplus building material redistribution while positively impacting the environment. TLD operates out of a 42,000 square-foot warehouse in southeast Baltimore that serves as the state’s central clearinghouse for salvaged surplus building materials -- materials that would otherwise clog up landfills -- and redistributes them. Since 1984, TLD has saved low-income housing and community projects over $16.5 million and has kept over 33,000 tons of building materials from going to landfills.

In New York, under a grant provided by the Carpet America Recovery Effort (CARE), New York WA$teMatch, and CarpetCycle, a carpet removal firm, have partnered to find new uses for gently used carpet. These organizations work together to eliminate thousands of pounds of used carpet from going directly to landfills.

CarpetCycle collects old carpet from office buildings and other commercial properties in the tri-state area. They evaluate carpet, on-site, to determine whether the carpet is suitable for reuse, recycling or waste to energy. If carpet is deemed appropriate for reuse, New York WA$teMatch finds a new home for the flooring material. Postings on New York WA$teMatch’s website reach out to nonprofit groups, and new end-users help extend the life of these materials.

If you identify a non-profit organization in your local area that is accepting used carpet, please share this information with the Environmental Issues Committee (fred at starnetflooring.com).

You can make a difference – Reduce Waste, Reuse, and Reclaim!

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