“Going green” is all the rage these days. This includes, for instance, not printing emails and other electronic posts, except when absolutely necessary.  But what else can companies and organizations do to help the environment? This post provides some ideas.

Despite pressing economic worries, the environment remains a top concern for consumers the world over. And that means environmentally-friendly business practices are as necessary for the bottom line as they are for the planet, says Joe Veilleux, president of Euromed USA (www.euromedusa.com).

Polls, including BCG’s annual International Global Green Consumer Surveys taken throughout the recession, reveal an unwavering commitment to environmentalism, he says. “Even at the height of the recession in 2008 and 2009, more than a third of consumer said they were willing to pay a little more for products that are better for the environment,” Veilleux says. “A majority said they consider a company’s environmental credentials when making purchasing decisions.”

These are some of the initiatives undertaken at Euromed Barcelona, which manufactures herbal extracts and natural active substances for customers in the U.S. and Europe.

 • Recycling biomass – This is the company’s manufacturing waste product. Much of the residue is sent to companies that specialize in creating bio-gas – specifically, methane, which is used to generate power. However, the residue left from milk thistle has such a high nutritional value, it’s actually used to feed farm animals. They ship the waste product to a company that dries it out and cleans it before it’s added to feed for pigs, chickens, cows, and the like. The biomass is given away for free.

 • Wood pallets become compost. Wooden pallets are reused until they can’t be used any longer. At that point, they’re sent to recycling facilities, which use them in composting products. This step was easily accomplished by working through waste management companies.

 • Printer toners get refilled. Empty toner cartridges are shipped to the company’s supplier, where they’re recharged and returned for use. If not for recycling, the toner cartridges would be deposited in landfills.

 • Cleaner air and water. The company purchased new equipment to accomplish these goals, including on-site wastewater treatment and water purification plants, and equipment to decrease atmospheric emissions. All told, Euromed spent between $1 million to $2 million to upgrade its factory.