Channel 19

Todd Dills

How much of your business goes to the trash?

| October 21, 2010

The folks over 40mpg.org, the site of an advocacy organization working to make “40 miles per gallon the standard for all automobiles in the United States,” makes note of recent automakers’ trumpeting of operations changes making certain of their U.S. plants zero-waste facilities, most notably Subaru and Honda.

Which sent my computational brain into immediate overdrive, no pun intended. Bear with me.

In our home, my family probably produces in a month a single green-bin-type, rolling, city-street pickup can full of landfill waste (with the amount the raccoons have been taking lately, it might even be less than that). We produce just slightly more than that volume of monthly recyclable waste. There’s nothing I can do with that information, really, save for basking in the feel-good vibes I might get from not filling up my garbage every week with trash to pile on.

But in today’s world, where “green” is increasingly become a calling card of good business practice, a single-truck owner-operator business may well profit from similar data. Anybody who’s been able to enhance their truck’s aerodynamics or their driving practices to achieve 8 and even 9 mpg regularly knows the nice pading of the coffers it is.

But what does waste-reduction get you? Increased MPG reduces costs, directly affecting profits. Trash is trash, and if it’s put in the right place, somebody does something with it, right?

But here’s what those automakers know: trash is tangible, taking up space in waste receptacles, landfills and, perhaps most importantly, the minds of potential customers out there. Next, expect them to look for business partners who run solid-waste-neutral operations as well. I imagine some of you are already there. How much do you produce on the road, from the truck itself to your own life out there? Do you recycle used oil, instance?

I can envision a day when a “THIS TRUCK PRODUCES ZERO LANDFILL WASTE” tag on the bottom of the door might get you an auto-parts-transport contract. Sound crazy? That’s what I’m here for. . .

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