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Green marketing.

Green Marketing

In a network television commercial for US Sprint, Candice Bergen promises, "I can fix it so that every time you talk on the phone, you'll accomplish something. You'll help clear the air, the sea and perhaps save a tree. Sprint will donate a percentage of your monthly long-distance bill to help clean up the environment. Is Sprint doing this to get your business? What difference does it make? They're doing it."

That's a great way to position good "eco-works." Tell it like it is. When a corporation is a quality neighbor, let people know. Business is getting the message. Companies all over the country are climbing onto the "green wagon."

We started with the question, "Who in Indiana is doing what and how do they tell people about it?" The "what" breaks down into a number of different areas: recycling, precycling, education, renewal and "eco-manufacturing." Our roundup of "good doers" might give you ideas.

The major area is recycling. Employees of Indiana Bell Telephone Co. and PSI Energy Inc. collect aluminum and steel soft-drink cans. It was a challenge that Bell President Richard Notebaert issued in April to the chairman of PSI, James Rogers. The object is to see which company can gather the most per employee before Sept. 2. The losing CEO has to plant a tree where the winner wants it. The companies issued joint new releases hoping to draw attention to their battle, and even commissioned a black-and-white cartoon that got some space in area publications.

In another recycling arena, Indiana Bell is testing a collection system in South Bend that will keep 90 tons of obsolete telephone books out of the landfills.

GTE North of Westfield has a similar program. In conjunction with the city of Fort Wayne, Scott's Food Stores and northAmerican Van Lines, GTE last year filled 17 semitrailers with old phone books, more than a quarter-million of them. The program is continuing this year; the books will be trucked to Eaton, where Rock-Tenn Co. will recycle them. The company is publicizing its efforts by way of a message attached to the covers of its new phone books.

PSI, meanwhile, has adopted an environmental charter that calls for increased recycling, pollution prevention and energy conservation, among other things. The company has taken out advertisements and issued news releases to let the public know about its efforts.

A new subsidiary called PSI Recycling was started in the summer of 1990 and edged into the black six months later. Its mission, according to its president, Craig R. Johnson, "is to assist companies that want to do their part in protecting the environment." As a special service, the firm offers a confidential-document destruction service to the region's lawyers, accountants, bankers and other professionals.

PSI also works with Goodwill Industries to recycle paper, metals and other materials from more than 50 Indiana businesses. The venture has handled more than 100 tons of waste per month recently, and is making money at it by selling the trash to 15 paper mills and four metal plants.

USS Gary Works is cooperating with the Marathon Oil Co. in Indiana and Ohio to promote beverage can recycling. The system is based on Coinbank machines located at Marathon stations. They are about the size of a newspaper vending machine. You insert a can, turn a crank, and out comes a cash payment. USS has installed 38 can-to-cash Coinbank machines in Indianapolis. It has promoted its program through full-page color advertising.

Cans are not the only things being collected at service stations. Amoco Oil Co., for example, collects waste oil at service stations in several areas, including Northwest Indiana. It sends the oil to its Whiting refinery, where the oil is used as fuel or is reintroduced into the refining process. The company has promoted its program through advertising and news releases that appeal to consumers to help protect the environment by recycling their oil.

Yorktown-based Marsh Supermarkets Inc. has bright-colored collection bins on its parking lots and recycling information on much of its packaging. The company distributes environmental information brochures at in-store displays. At its checkout counters, Marsh has green canvas shopping bags for sale that silently but strongly convey the recycling message.

In Indianapolis, Marsh is a partner with the Indianapolis Clean City Committee and has recycling bins for customers on 10 Marsh parking lots. In 10 other cities, Bev-Pak Inc. of Carmel visits Marsh lots every other week for two hours and takes away recyclables. In Logansport, Bloomington, Kokomo, Huntington, Rushville and other towns where the local community has a recycling program, Marsh has containers on its lots. In its Anderson and Muncie stores Marsh runs a program at its own expense called "Recycle Plus," On the last Saturday of the month, people may bring in everything that is recyclable, including polystyrene foam. But Marsh isn't just getting on the bandwagon. For more than nine years, it has bailed boxes for recycling and has had an ongoing in-house office-waste recycling program.

Rogers Markets Inc. in Fort Wayne, working with the Hefty Bag people, helped bankroll a fledgling, for-profit firm called Don't Waste It Inc. It now does door-to-door recycling. Folks who won't throw bags in the car and truck them to a recycling site are willing to leave them in front of their houses for pickup. That's what happens now in three Fort Wayne neighborhoods. The program is supported by advertising and public relations and the idea is working. The Don't Waste It people hope to double the size of their service area next year.

Another Rogers project deals with grass clippings. The company says yard waste accounts for 18 percent of what goes to the landfill. In April, Rogers Markets placed fenced bins in two of its parking lots where neighbors can dump their lawn fodder, twigs and leaves. A local company takes them to be composted and handed out as mulch at the end of the year. This, too, has received wide media coverage, and has been promoted in print with full-page color ads picturing Mayor Paul Helmke. The response has been tremendous, according to the supermarket chain.

Hercules Inc. of Terre Haute, a manufacturer of plastic film used by food packagers, designed a "We Care" inplant recycling program in 1989, which it phased into action in 1990. It started collecting tons of paper, miscellaneous wood, beverage cans, waste polymer, cardboard and fiber cores that it wrapped in its own final product. As of this past March, it had saved 346 truck-loads of waste from going to landfills. Other companies around the state are asking Hercules for advice on how to start similar programs.

Hercules has gotten the word out by sparkling interest among those in the news media. The Terre Haute Tribune-Star told the story in an article, as did a local television station. The company keeps the interest high among its employees by posting colorful progress charts throughout the plant.

But recycling is not the only answer; it also is beneficial to reduce the need for recycling. How? Try precycling. The term "precycle" generally applies to shunning products with excess packaging. That's a natural crusade for consumers, but it also can apply to corporate purchasing departments. Buyers can say, "Look - lay off of the polystyrene popcorn. Give us something that will go away. We're buying as if the future mattered."

A classic example of precycling is McDonald's Corp.'s new lightweight paper it uses to wrap hamburgers. It eliminates the polystyrene "clam-shell" packages that used to come with every Big Mac.

Marsh buyers look at packaging in terms of waste reduction. The supermarket concern has altered all its buyers and suppliers to stay on top of the problem. And the message is getting through, says the supermarketer. Manufacturers are beginning to bundle grocery items in larger and, consequently, fewer packages.

Country Market in South Bend tells shoppers they can collect a 5-cent refund if they return the store's large grocery bags to be refilled. Martin's Supermarket gives 3 cents. Marsh offers the same kind of deal in its West Lafayette and Anderson stores. Other groceries besides Marsh also sell canvas credit to shoppers who bring them along.

Southern Indiana Gas & Electric Co. of Evansville uses compressed natural gas as a substitute for gasoline. It operates a fleet of trucks and vans on the fuel. It also worked with the Evansville School Corp. to equip 90 buses to run on CNG. Both found that, beyond the ecological benefit, the vehicles cost less to power and are easier to maintain. The SIGECO effort has been promoted through articles in natural-gas industry trade journals as well as in the Vanderburgh County news media.

A key to inspiring both recycling and precycling is "eco-education," teaching consumers about the values of and methods for protecting the environment.

Indianapolis-based DowBrands bankrolled The Children's Museum's Eli Lilly Center for Exploration and helped develop a "Waste Not-Want Not" gallery. For its effort the museum won a Governor's Award for Excellence in Recycling. Dow installed a molding machine that grinds up milk jugs on the spot and turns them into bright yellow plaques kids can use as refrigerator magnets or key-chain ornaments. Dow also supports a travelling environmental theater group that uses music, video, comedy and a cast of five to provide information on recycling to high-school students. It has documented its efforts in news releases in hopes of getting the word out.

Indiana Bell also is involved in school and community education. Working with Lew Wallace Elementary School in Indianapolis, it set up an information hot line. A girlish voice warns, "If we don't start recycling, this world may be nothing but trash." She goes on to tell where to take recyclable materials, how to start a home recycling program, and gives you the recycling "tip of the week." Newspapers picked up the announcement and used a photo showing Indianapolis Public Schools Superintendent Shirl Gilbert and Bell President Notebaert flanked by mountains of paper at the Langsdale Recycling Center.

Another environmental buzzword is "eco-renewal." This refers to the effort to stabilize or restore the ecosystem.

Union Carbide Corp. is into the second year of its national "Rooting For America" community tree-planting program. It arranged with civic organizations to plant and maintain disease-resistant elms, sugar maples and American Hornbeam in Indiana locations. Indianapolis will receive 1,100. Saplings also will leaf out in Carmel, Danville, Brownsburg, Lebanon, North Salem and other central Indiana communities. A package of news releases alerted the local media about the program.

Indianapolis Power and Light Co. and WTPI-FM are into the second year of their Hoosier ReLeaf program. IPL plans to distribute to Marion County residents. During the spring and summer, IPALCO and WTPI have a van that cruises that the streets to hand out the seedlings, educate the public on the proper types of trees of plant and to tell people where to plant them so they won't interfere with powerlines. Newspaper stories and WTPI announcements cover the activity.

And if you're eliminating harmful substances in products or changing a process or formula to improve and protect the environment, you are an "eco-manufacturer."

Nor-Cote Chemical Co. in Crawfordsville markets environmentally friendly, ultraviolet ink for printing. It is a non-solvent-based ink that greatly reduces the hazardous effect that traditional petroleum-based inks have on the ecosystem and on humans. These UN inks also need less heat to cure or dry, so they cut down on the cost of energy.

Beveridge Paper Co. of Indianapolis manufactures paperboard products with 100 percent recycled paper. The board is used primarily in signs for stores, schools, taxis and buses. It is made from reused newsprint and is laminated on the outside with a higher grade of paper. This story made local news during Earth Week.

Northern Indiana Public Service Co. is working on a scrubber that will take 90 percent of the sulfur dioxide out of the emissions from its coal-burning Bailly Generating Station near Chesterton. Already more than half-built, the scrubber is expected to be completed by mid-1992. Completion of the Chesterton scrubber will put 10 of NIPSCO's 11 units in compliance with the Clean Air Act Amendments of 1990, well ahead of the 2000 deadline. Chlorides produced by wastewater treatment related to the scrubber will be collected and sold to U.S. Gypsum in East Chicago for wallboard.

Golden Cat Corp. of South Bend currently commands 40 percent of the cat box filler market. It helps the ecology by producing environmentally sensitive Kitty Litter, Tidy Cat and Scamp. These products are made of clay so, when they are discarded, "dust to dust returneth." The litter actually helps a landfill because it absorbs trash liquid and holds it so it cannot leach into the groundwater. It even has been recommended as a good medium for lining landfills. The company also reclaims the pits where the clay is mined by filling the holes, covering the ground with topsoil and "vegetating" with trees and grass so it returns to its original state. It has been following this procedure for more than 30 years.

Goldsmith Pipe and Playground Equipment Co. of Indianapolis started making swing sets, basketball goals, Jungle Jims, flagpoles and bumper posts in 1938 - "anything that can be made out of steel pipe," Eric Goldsmith says. "We take old pipe, rattle out the rust and scale, sandpaper it to a shine and then enamel it. We buy scrap pipe from people who take boilers out of buildings or we'll use gas or water pipe out of closed factories." The activity made news as part of the story about the Governor's Awards for Excellence in Recycling. Not as well-known is the company's work in surplus computer and electronic hardware. It takes out parts, gold and copper for resale.

Ameritech Publishing issued its first Ameritech Pages Plus directory in Indiana made of 100 percent recycled paper to Kokomo customers. The company uses animal-based glues and soybean-based ink, which are water soluble.

GE Plastics in Mount Vernon has reduced solid waste by almost 15 million pounds. GE Plastics has recycled 96,000 pounds of white paper and repaired or recycled hundreds of shipping pallets.

Certain companies are outstanding in the way they are "incorporating pollution-prevention technology into their manufacturing process," according to the Indiana Department of Environmental Management. For example:

Hill-Rom Industries in Batesville is reducing hazardous waste in the fabrication of small parts for hospital equipment and furniture. It uses a recycling machine to collect coolants out of drill presses and lathes. Every two weeks the liquid is run through a purifying machine. "Tramp oil," or stray oil from metal-working machines, is pulled out by centrifuge. The water and coolant are treated with additives so they can be used again. Now, only the oil goes to a waste facility whereas before, all of it went. Fragments of metal are picked up by a steel recycler for melt down.

Best Lock Corp. of Indianapolis also is reusing oil with a "closed loop" system, and has replaced dangerous solvents with non-hazardous chemicals. It also sells the metal scrap left from turning and shaping to smelters.

Raybestos Products Co. of Crawfordsville manufactures friction products used in the automotive and agricultural industries, such as brake bands and transmission parts. It gathers metal dust and sells it to a smelter. It filters acid and put it back into the process for reuse. Seventy percent of the paper is recycled by an in-plant paper mill. The remaining paper dust, scrap and trim is sold to a firm that burns it to generate steam that is resold to IPL. It is using everything but the squeal (as meat packers say).

Eli Lilly and Co.'s Tippecanoe Laboratories near Lafeyette, which makes pharmaceutical products for human health, has reduced air emissions of the solvent methylene chloride by 75 percent during the last four years. Lilly is still at it, and the reduction is costly. The firm invested $3.5 million in pipe, special valves and condensers for storage tanks to stop leakage.

Jayco Inc., a major Middlebury-based recreational-vehicle manufacturer, started to slow the outgo to landfills in 1988. To date, the reduction is 70 percent and it continues to improve. Jayco's twist is to make trash into treasure. It sells recycling companies more than 40,000 pounds of bailed cardboard and more than a semi load of scrap Styrofoam a month. Fiberglass waste is sold to a housing manufacturer that grinds it and mixes it with concrete into a revolutionary construction material. A Chicago-based firm picks up paper and other scrap that it shreds for livestock bedding.

The system is going so well that other companies ask Jayco for its secrets. Ernie Lambright, Jayco's special projects engineer, says: "We don't burn anything. This company contributes nothing to air pollution through waste disposal." Jayco's efforts earned it the Governor's Award for Excellence in Recycling.

This is the beginning of an honor roll of eco-activists. The green wagon is doubtlessly the ride into the future. Companies will do well to climb on early while the activity is fairly voluntary. One environmental consultant says: "A few dollars of prevention now can save hundreds of dollars of correction later." For sure, most of the cost will be passed on to the consumer. We are all consumers, however. Telling us the ways you've joined our struggle to purify the world makes good business sense.

PHOTO : Right: Indiana Bell President Richard Notebaert challenged PSI Energy Chairman James Rogers to an employee beverage can recycling contest. The losing CEO plants a tree where the winner wants it.

PHOTO : Turning trash into good news: USS Gary Works has saved an abundance of landfill space and garnered good will through its recycling efforts.
COPYRIGHT 1991 Curtis Magazine Group, Inc.
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Copyright 1991 Gale, Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.

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Title Annotation:environmental policies adhered to by Indiana companies
Author:Johnson, J. Douglas
Publication:Indiana Business Magazine
Date:Jul 1, 1991
Previous Article:Maximum wage: Indiana's highest-paid CEOs.
Next Article:Doing time for environmental crime.

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