‘Zero Waste’ program shown to generate more ‘green’ for businesses, in Gateway

See why, and how, business owners are taking advantage of a program that helps them become more profitable by acting more ecologically responsibly. And, learn about Commissioner Amanda Fritz’ July presentation …

(From closest to furthest) Bruce Altizer of Postal Annex, Pete Diamond with the Warren Allen Law Firm, and Brad and Alan Sanchez of Realty Brokers, are served lunch prepared by Loaves and Fishes – as the Gateway Area Business Association meeting gets underway.

Story and photos by Watford Reed and David F. Ashton
Learning how “being green” can be profitable, hearing about the organization’s upcoming event, and networking were the three topics of the day, at the Gateway Area Business Association’s (GABA) June 11 meeting.

Jil Zilligen of the Zero Waste Alliance is welcomed to the GABA meeting by board member David Panichello of OptiCon Laboratories.

Business and industry can earn higher profits by recycling and reusing material and supplies. That thought was supplied by guest speaker Jil Zilligen of the Zero Waste Alliance.

The organization’s goal is for businesspeople to leave no “carbon imprint” on the environment, by reducing waste, Zilligen began.

Describing what she called the “Green Gain Program”, she observed that business activities and byproducts with no clear use, no market value, or with hazardous properties, are expensive.

“We help organizations eliminate these inefficiencies,” Zilligen said. “What is typically considered waste can actually become a potential resource, through adoption of the Zero Waste strategy.”

Jil Zilligen clicks off eight good reasons to adopt a zero-waste program.

Zilligen noted that adoption of a Zero Waste Strategy will:

  1. Promote rapid savings;
  2. Assist with and/or reduce the effects of new regulations;
  3. Improve the bottom line;
  4. Reduce or eliminate the impact of hazardous materials in the workplace;
  5. Develop innovative new products and services;
  6. Attract and retain talented employees;
  7. Create a market niche; and,
  8. Increase resource conservation.

“The Green Gain Program can help a company increase its profitability,” Zilligen continued, “by reducing fees associated with regulations, more cost-effectively renovating an expanded facility, and improving process efficiency, among other things.”

Matching funds are available from the PDC — which makes the program very affordable, Zilligen says.

‘Green’ matching funds available
The Sustainable Business Alliance (SBA) “Green Gain” program provides matching funds of up to $15,000, Zilligen went on.

“The group works with staffmembers to develop a customized project,” she explained. “The participating company receives support from the Portland Development Commission [PDC], typically a 50% match for the project. The SBA works with clients, providing companies with technical expertise, project documentation and support.”

Available services include:

  • Green building;
  • Technical research;
  • Process improvement;
  • Waste stream diversion;
  • Management systems;
  • Resource efficiency;
  • Project management; and,
  • Product stewardship programs.

Zilligen cites examples of how, by using a zero-waste program, companies have saved thousands of dollars.

Reveals thousands saved
Pointing to the successes of the program, Zilligen mentioned Rejuvenation, Inc. – one of the nation’s significant manufacturers of period reproduction hardware. “Adopting sustainable business practices,” she said, “Rejuvenation is able to eliminate sewer discharge fees, provide uncompromised product quality, and, at the same time, save $14,155 annually.”

She added that the Doubletree Hotel and Executive Meeting Center adopted “sustainable practices”, resulting in an annual savings of 2.9 million gallons of water – 11% of their total usage, thus reducing their annual water and energy savings bill by $43,283.

Since 1999, we learned, the Zero Waste Alliance has been supporting local businesses in the creation of a more sustainable future.  Improved profitability, competitiveness, and environmental performance are achieved through development and implementation practices that reduce and eliminate waste and toxins.

For more information see their website: www.zerowaste.org

Pete Diamond, of the Warren Allen Law Firm, gets the coveted “Rubber Chicken Award” – recognizing him for his participation and support of the business association – from GABA President A.J. Prasad, of Columbia State Bank.

Portland City Commissioner Amanda Fritz speaks on July 9
Because of how the calendar falls, the second Thursday of the month is on July 9.

If you want to hear, first-hand, what’s happening down at Portland City Hall, come and see Portland City Commissioner Amanda Fritz as she addresses GABA members and guests at their luncheon meeting on that date. We’re told she will answer questions.

And, you’ll also learn how GABA members are gearing up to help produce a National Night Out for Safety event on August 15 which will combine elements of the famous Fun-O-Rama Community Fair with the Oregon Baptist Retirement Homes’ Cruise-in.

Verona Garner, volunteer at Loaves and Fishes “Meals On Wheels”, serves up a bowl of soup at a GABA meeting.

GABA meetings are now held at Oregon Baptist Retirement Homes, 1825 NE 108th Avenue (just north of NE Weidler Street,  in their Community Room just west from where NE Schuler Street dead-ends into 108th Avenue. Loaves and Fishes provides lunch for a suggested donation of at least $6.00 per person. Please call GABA president AJ Prasad for lunch reservations at (503) 542-3720. For more information, go to: www.gabanet.com.

© 2009 David F. Ashton ~ East Portland News

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