In the last couple of years, the push to “go green” has inspired some very innovative green initiatives, and Millennials have been at the center of it all. Even though we don’t consider ourselves environmentalists, we — the Millennials — are re-envisioning environmentalism and climate policy. Oh, and we’re running the companies that are changing the world with sustainable business practices.
Here are 10 of those companies that are going green in very cool ways.
1. Pizza Fusion
Pizza fusion is on a mission to “save the earth one pizza at a time” through its commitment to the environment. The pizza superheroes offer an organic menu and an eco-friendly approach spanning all operations by:
- Delivering food with company-owned hybrid vehicles
- Offering discounts to customers who return their pizza boxes to the store to be recycled
- Using heat from Pizza Fusion ovens to keep rooms warm and heat water
- Offsetting 100% of energy usage with renewable wind energy certificates
And pretty much using only 100% recycled everything, which is 100% awesome.
That’s right, the golden arches are going green! McDonald’s is working with People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals in an attempt to be kinder to the environment in which it operates and is looking to make its stores more energy efficient by reducing energy waste by about 25% in its new “green” restaurant. The coolest part may be the parking lot, which has reserved spaces for hybrid cars and permeable concrete paving that recharges and cleans groundwater. Check out this video to see all the features.
Everyone knows Google likes to push boundaries and find out what’s possible. So far, it’s installed solar panels and purchased windmill farms. It’s built the most efficient data centers in the world, using 50% less energy than the typical data center. It’s invested in more clean energy projects than I can count. And Google has even been carbon neutral since 2007. If that’s not impressive, I don’t know what is.
4. Izmir, Turkey
Ok, so it’s not a company but this one was too cool not to include. Shepherds from Izmir have found a very unique way to stay connected online: they tether solar panels and battery packs to their donkeys.
When traveling with their donkeys, the shepherds can use the solar-generated electricity to stay online and power lights to see when their animals give birth. I’m pretty sure that makes each solar panel-carrying a$$ the coolest on the Internet. Literally. (Take that, Kim!)
Amazon is giving us another reason to smile: they’re choosing the “right-sized” box for all of its customers. It has developed a software program that assesses each item’s dimensions and weight to determine the “right-sized” box, which guarantees no materials are wasted.
Plus, most orders are shipped in completely recyclable, corrugated containers, and the fulfillment centers use packing materials that are not only recyclable, but made from 50% recycled content. Looks like those brown boxes are actually quite green, if you ask me!
Apparently Anheuser-Busch’s beer is greener than the shamrock-tinted brews enjoyed by St. Patrick’s Day partiers. Who knew the beer company was so environmentally friendly?
In addition to offering organic beers and partnering with the Organic Farming Research Foundation to raise awareness of organic farming, the beer maker recycles more aluminum cans than it puts to market! It has also trimmed 1/8” from each of their cans, which saves 21 million pounds of metal per year. Don’t worry, though, you’re not getting any less beer with the trimmed cans!
The best part: The BERS. Yes, I spelled that correctly. It stands for Bio-Energy Recovery Systems and is technology that turns the wastewater from brewing into fuel to power the breweries. So drink up — you’re helping the environment!
Everybody’s favorite coffee shop is doing more than serve up delicious caffeinated beverages. The brand commits to creating a positive influence in the surrounding communities, which includes some pretty cool environmental initiatives.
In addition to its “bean-to-cup” approach and tables made with recycled coffee grounds, Starbucks’ comprehensive plan to reduce its impact on the environment across the board includes LEED Certified stores. Starbucks states it has integrated green construction strategies into all its remodels and new projects, and in 2011 75% of stores it built achieved this standard. Way to go, Starbucks!
Electric-powered cars and the fastest charging station on the planet. Yeah, Tesla has a good strategy going. So what’s the big deal with the innovative car company? The first ever 100% electrically powered car.
It may cost a pretty penny to buy, but the Tesla vehicles cost about 2 cents per mile to drive and get over 250 miles per charge. It might not get you coast to coast, but it will be able to get you from 0 to 60 in under 4 seconds (so the company says).
Wal-Mart has been the target of some well-deserved ire in the past, and amazingly, it’s changed. Wal-Mart has since formed a partnership with Worldwise in which it provides recyclable waste materials to the consumer products company and then sells Worldwise’s recycled pet products at its stores. That dog bed is actually made of recycled bottles. How cool!
Wal-Mart also now offers a wide variety of organic, vegan, fair trade, and sustainably grown/harvested products, is working to reduce energy use by installing solar panels on the roofs of its factories, and has launched a plan to eventually power all of its stores with 100% renewable energy sources.
Hewlett-Packard produces 100% recyclable products, and owns and operates “e-waste” recycling plants that transform computer products into raw materials that can be reused in other productions. On top of that, it has at least partially solved the computer disposal issue by accepting all brands of computer equipment to dispose of safely.
Hewlett-Packard also found a way to reduce its impact on the environment, and win Wal-Mart’s design challenge, with a reusable messenger bag. The bag protects the HP Pavilion dv6929wm Entertainment Notebook during shipping and eliminates the need for boxes and excess packaging. That’s pretty cool in my (note)book!