Science 4 min read

Sustainability Round-Up: Ditching Plastic Bags, DTE Energy, and Dell PCs

Sustainability isn't the highest priority for many companies or countries around the world. But more and more seem to be pivoting on this including heavyweights like computer manufacturers Dell and HP, as well as energy company DTE Energy.

Sustainability is a major factor in many businesses future plans. Here are three of the most important recent sustainability developments. ¦ Shutterstock

Sustainability is a major factor in many businesses future plans. Here are three of the most important recent sustainability developments. ¦ Shutterstock

Sustainability remains a hot button topic for many across the world. Not necessarily because we disagree about ways to increase it, but simply about implementing sustainable practices in the first place. However, more and more companies seek to enhance their environmental-friendly policies.

The Green Science Alliance just debuted their biodegradable cutlery earlier this month. Last month, researchers found a way to turn CO2 back into solid carbon. And of course, Volvo, committed to eliminating gas-only cars, keeps making headlines with their EVs.

But sustainability requires more than just that including creating circular economies.

This month, many companies announced new initiatives to enhance their own practices, and encourage others to do the same. Here are just a few.

Taken way back in 2013, here you see that the Galaxy S4 received TCO certification. The entity behind the certifications continuously update their criteria to sustainability standards.

TCO Certifications for Dell, Lenovo, and HP

Dell leads the pack in terms of sustainability; the company has now recycled 2 billion pounds of e-waste. It originally planned to meet this goal by 2020, making the accomplishment even more impressive. But some of this has to do with something known as TCO certification.

“TCO Certified” means that IT products passed a robust sustainability certification program. The criteria for the program involves circular approaches regarding environmentally and socially responsible manufacturing.

From there, companies must ensure user safety and health, product performance, and product lifetime. They must also adhere to reducing hazardous material use and increasing material recovery. This reduces e-waste and creates better sustainability for various IT products.

As such, some manufacturers including Dell, HP, and Lenovo stepped up to meet the TCO’s latest and toughest criteria yet. Sören Enholm, the CEO at TCO Development, had this to say:

“This is our largest step yet toward a sustainable life cycle for IT products. The criteria in generation 8 are comprehensive and challenging and the brands that have products which comply with them show that they are serious about their ambitions in the sustainability field…As a purchaser, you can really make a difference. Your demands have a direct effect on how industry acts and can drive the development of more sustainable products on the market.”

Everyone is guilty of using a generic plastic bag for many uses (including lining small trash cans at home).

Natural Grocers Eliminates 300 million Single-use Bags

Many grocery stores currently worry about how to stay relevant in a time of increasing automation. Kroger, for instance, paired with Nuro to offer grocery delivery. Amazon invested in Whole Foods, making it even more of a services juggernaut.

But Natural Grocers focused on something else: eliminating plastic single-use bag usage.

They started the initiatives around 10 years ago. And, in that time, they have gotten rid of around 300-million plastic bags, as well as raised $1-million in donations for local food banks.

Heather Isley, the Natural Grocers Executive Vice President, stressed the importance of sustainability. But local outreach also factored in:

“We are drowning in a sea of plastic, which is causing harm to people and the planet. Additionally, there are people in our communities that are food insecure. 10 years ago, we saw an opportunity to make a difference and address both plastic waste and hunger simultaneously. So, we decided to eliminate single-use plastic bags at checkout and provide a 5 cent donation to our local food banks every time a customer remembered to bring in their reusable bags.”

The company uses other “green” tactics including solar-powered store signs, BPA-free cash register tape, carbon footprint reduction methods, and more.

The energy company serves as Michigan’s largest electric utility. They also plan to shut down three coal-fired electricity plants by Q4 of 2023.

DTE Energy Moves up Carbon Reduction goal by 10 Years

Originally, the company DTE Energy made a commitment to reduce its carbon emissions by 2050. Now, the company pledges to reduce them by 80% by 2040. In a closer 10-year goal, however, the company aims to reduce them by 50% in 2030.

This involves accelerating coal plant retirements, as well as investing in renewable and energy efficient customer programs. How much? The company plans to invest around $2-billion USD in renewables by 2024.

The company cites local community outreach as a key factor in retooling its sustainability plan.

Read More: 6 Ways Envirotech Helps Future-Proof Earth Cities

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Juliet Childers

Content Specialist and EDGY OG with a (mostly) healthy obsession with video games. She covers Industry buzz including VR/AR, content marketing, cybersecurity, AI, and many more.

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