Doing Business With Values Will Cost You

February 14, 2017

We are so glad that we found a good option for recycling our unused plastic plant containers.

Let’s face it: if you do business, you create waste. Some of us produce a lot of it. Greenhouses seem to create a ton. Cardboard from shipments that come in, leftover plastic liners that have been transplanted to pots, pots that have been transplanted to baskets, baskets that go unsold… If your greenhouse is anything like ours, the waste tends to pile up.

Our goal is to find great ways to reuse, repurpose, and recycle the tons of plastic that we bring in each year. The vast majority of our plastic leaves our facility as liners carrying millions of plants throughout North America, but a sizeable portion stays here and creates a challenge for us. We sanitize and reuse what we can, but over time the plastic breaks down, and a lot of it needs to be recycled.

My family and I recently watched Ken Burns’ documentary (http://www.pbs.org/kenburns/dustbowl/) on the Dust Bowl. It showed how farmers in the Great Plains turned up millions of acres of land without much thought to how that might affect the environment. The disaster that ensued was incredible. The documentary was a timely reminder of how the decisions we make, impact the world around us—both now and for the next generation.

Let’s be honest. It costs more to recycle than it does just to throw something away. For us, we have to sort, package and coordinate pickups. Our added cost in labor outweighs the check we will receive for the recycled plastic, and that is precisely why we need to think through our values as we make business decisions.

Values outweigh profit

 For us, it means someone has to haul off cardboard each Saturday morning to the local recycling center. We have to store larger portions of plastic for sorting, and once we have enough, we have to coordinate a truck to pick it up. At every stage, there is extra cost, but the end result is worth it.

The end result

What is that end result? It is sleeping better at night knowing that we have become part of the solution rather than part of the problem. It is leaving a better world for our children. It is creating teachable moments for those around us that we are part of creation and it is in our best interest to preserve what we can.

I loved the Kia commercial in the super bowl: the one where Melissa McCarthy was trying to save the whales, trees, icecaps, etc. in some pretty awful ways. The point of the commercial was that we are not all eco-warriors, but we can all easily drive their hybrid car… I am not an eco-warrior, but I can manage what I have been given in a way that creates rather than destroys. Even if it costs me something.