5 Eco-Friendly Strategies for Construction Companies

The mindset of consumers, public servants, property owners and corporations has shifted toward protection of the environment. Most say they would pay more for an eco-friendly product or service over a more affordable but less sustainable one. With this approach spreading to all sectors, the construction industry is following suit.

Sustainable, eco-friendly construction strategies are key to making this shift. Implementing more green processes is essential to longevity in the industry. From creating sustainable business practices to making use of the recycling center whenever possible, there are a number of things construction companies can do to reduce their carbon footprint.

The following are five of the top eco-friendly construction industry waste management strategies to consider implementing into your construction business:

1. Use Safe, Sustainable Materials

Using more natural, recycled, non-toxic and environmentally friendly materials and construction components is a key step to becoming more eco-friendly. This would apply to paints, building materials, insulation, solvents and adhesives. Doing so reduces the risk of respiratory conditions, toxicity, skin irritation, headaches and other issues from conventional construction materials. Both workers and the people who visit or reside in the structures will benefit.

2. Buy Local

Buying materials locally versus items that have been transported hundreds or thousands of miles reduces the carbon emissions required for the transaction. Buying in your geographic region can also make the construction process more efficient while also lending support to area businesses and the local economy.

3. Use Green Demolition and Recycling Practices

Instead of immediately dumping all materials from demolition sites into landfills, construction companies can assess what can be reused or brought to the recycling center. Materials like carpet and other flooring materials can often be repurposed. Industrial crushing of wood and drywall can create new aggregate materials for future construction projects. Taking as much material to the recycling center as possible reduces waste as well as your carbon footprint.

4. Favor Solar and Wind Power

Recommending and favoring more eco-friendly alternatives to traditional HVAC systems and solutions is another way to help preserve the environment. Harnessing the power of the wind or sun and reducing energy usage can be accomplished by installing seamlessly integrated turbines, roof panels and photovoltaic windows.

5. Include Green Space and Multi-Use Areas

When designing and building properties, the addition of green spaces and flexible-use functionality can improve the eco-friendliness factor of a structure. While some of this will be the job of the architect and landscape designer, construction companies can choose to operate with these considerations in mind when working with planners, designers and clients. Adding courtyards or rooftop green spaces to commercial buildings can improve air quality for those who spend time there.

Using less toxic materials, finding energy-saving solutions and recycling as much as possible is key to running a more eco-friendly construction company. Construction companies can use these five tips to reduce their carbon footprints and run a more sustainable business going forward.

If you’re ready to make your construction company more eco-friendly, contact Lakeshore Recycling Systems. We can offer insights on how to maximize your recycling center services, waste management options and other commercial solutions.

10 Eco-Friendly Yard Waste Management Tips

There are numerous ways to minimize waste and help preserve the environment. Practicing eco-friendly approaches to waste management is one of the most beneficial things you can do. The goal is to create an eco-friendly landscape that requires minimal maintenance and naturally reduces waste management needs. Consider implementing these 10 eco-friendly landscape design and waste management tips in your business or residential property:

1. Compost Yard Waste

Grass clippings and plant trimmings should be composted as much as possible. If you have a surplus, contact Lakeshore Recycling Systems to learn more about proper yard waste management practices.

2. Less Lawn Space

The less lawn you have, the less you have to water and care for it. This tip allows you to keep some of your lawn, but replace portions of it with a low-impact walkway or eco-friendly foliage.

3. Choose Drought-Resistant, Low-Maintenance Plants

Low-maintenance foliage uses less water and also requires less pruning and plant maintenance steps. In addition to yucca, cactus and other succulents, you can also opt for easy-care plants like pansies, marigolds, tulips and asters.

4. Xeriscaping

Xeriscaping is a practice of grouping plants by their watering needs in order to reduce the amount of water you use. Consider the slope and incline of your property when deciding on placement; plants in the lowest portions of your yard will naturally receive the most moisture.

5. Mulch Around Bushes and Trees

The use of a professional mulch service can improve the health of your foliage and also reduce water usage. Proper use of mulch can help soil to retain moisture and support healthier, more robust plant growth.

6. Use Low-Maintenance Grass

There are a number of grass species that require less water and maintenance than other turf types. Some of the most popular include Eco-Lawn, Fleur de Lawn, Pearl’s Premium and Bluestem Enviroturf.

7. Consider Synthetic Turf

You can avoid the labor and resource-sapping nature of lawn care altogether by using synthetic grass. Synthetic turf has become extremely realistic and lifelike in recent years, and it requires no watering, cutting, weeding or fertilizing.

8. Use Certified Wood

When installing landscaping elements like porches, decks or stairs, use wood that has been certified by the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC). Avoid using chemically-treated wood and instead favor rot-resistant species like cedar, or eco-friendly synthetic materials.

9. Reuse and Recycle

Whenever possible, reuse existing components or repurpose items from local building sites that have been discarded. Get creative so that you can recycle as much as possible and reduce the amount of new materials used and the volume of items you must discard overall.

10. Landscape for Reduced Energy Use

Strategically planted bushes and shade trees can also help your home or business property to use less energy in all seasons. They can block the harshest rays of the sun in summer and offer a buffer against wind, storms and harsh elements in winter.

Your yard or commercial property grounds should be a consideration when assessing your overall waste management needs. Contact Lakeshore Recycling Systems for more insights about the best practices and options available to you.

6 Tips for a “Greener” Office and Workplace

With environmental awareness on the rise, most business owners are looking for a more eco-friendly approach to waste management. Consumers are increasingly seeking out companies that keep the environment in mind in all of their practices. A majority say they would rather shop eco-friendly businesses than those not making it a priority.

A greener workplace and office has many benefits, from raising worker morale to enhancing brand goodwill and image to actually boosting profits. The following are some tips for cultivating a greener workplace:

1. Go Paperless

As much as possible, strive to keep your business practices “paperless.” In our current digital age, this will be easier to do than ever before. Use cloud commuting to allow for easy document editing and file sharing without the need to reprint them every time.

Some other paperless office practices include:

  • Store documents digitally and print them only when absolutely necessary.
  • Contracts can be signed on touch-screen tablets.
  • Use warm air, hand dryers in rest rooms instead of paper towels.

2. Buy Green-Minded Materials and Products

Take the time to research the source and production process for all of the supplies and materials you purchase regularly for your business to ensure that they are made in a sustainable fashion. Buying local is always more eco-friendly than having products shipped great distances.

Other factors to consider:

  • Are the products and their manufacturing processes free of toxic and ozone-depleting substances?
  • Are they made from easily renewable resources and materials?
  • Can they be recycled?
  • Are they repairable (not disposable or “throw away”?)

3. Encourage Carpooling and Mass Transit

A majority of commuters still take their personal vehicles to work, and many drive alone. Encourage and organize carpooling groups at work, and consider paying for (or contributing to) workers using mass transit options such as the bus or train.

4. Allow Telecommuting

Technological advances are allowing people to work from home more easily and without any lapse in quality. Establishing guidelines and deadlines can help to ensure productivity and worker success. The worker will make a smaller carbon footprint, and you’ll save on resources at the office.

5. Eco-Friendly Break Room Tips

  • Forego those single serving pod coffee makers and make large batches that can be kept in a vacuum sealed pitcher.
  • Buy bulk condiments instead of single-serve.
  • Encourage workers to bring their own coffee cups and glass or hard plastic refillable water bottles instead of providing them with plastic bottles of water and/or Styrofoam or paper cups.
  • Provide clearly marked recycling bins and remind workers about compliance.

6. Update to Eco-Friendly Components

When the lease on your current office equipment and appliances is up, upgrade to the most eco-friendly options available. When it’s time to buy new models of any business component or electronic device, recycle the old ones instead of discarding them.

Many older model electronic devices work just fine or can be refurbished to provide years of use. When remodeling your workplace, insist on eco-friendly building materials and practices.

One of the most important components of business waste management today is minimizing it as much as possible. These six tips can help with making your workplace more eco-friendly and doing your part in creating a better environment.

A Look at Lakeshore Recycling’s Aerobic Digester

Lakeshore Recycling Systems Acquires Area Restroom Solutions, Expanding Its Chicagoland Portable Restroom Services Business by Over 20 Percent

LRS has Acquired Area Restroom Solutions, Expanding its Portable Restroom Services by Over 20 Percent

LRS is continually searching for new methods to increase service levels to customers and spread its services geographically. On September 14, LRS announces its most recent expansion with the acquisition of Area Restroom Solutions, a leading Chicagoland portable restroom rental company. With this new addition to the LRS family, LRS has expanded our inventory of portable restrooms by over 20 percent.

Some of the reasons to rent portable restrooms are:

1. Construction and Demolition Sites

When construction and demolition projects take place, there are few restroom options available to those working on the job site. Portable restrooms give easy access to construction and demolition workers to help make sure they are working efficiently.

2. Home pit stopRemodeling Projects

In indoor home remodeling projects the restroom may not be easily accessible so a portable restroom is needed, or it is unavailable for those working on the remodeling project. A portable restroom solves this problem by being located in close proximity to the work being done.

3. Events

Many events, especially events that take place outside, need portable restrooms because there is not an indoor restroom nearby or there will be too many attendees for the restrooms that are available. Portable restrooms can help increase the number of restrooms available at the event or add some restrooms that were not near the event originally.

4. Park Districts

Many park districts do not have indoor restrooms; however, restrooms are needed near parks. Portable restrooms are a great way to ensure that park goers do not have to leave when they have to use the bathroom.

Acquiring Area Restroom Solutions helps LRS expand our geographic footprint as well as continue to give customers the best service possible. LRS remains the second largest portable restroom provider in Illinois and is always looking for new ways to grow and improve. To read more about the acquisition of Area Restroom Solutions, check out our press release.

Lakeshore Recycling Systems adds aerobic digester

Lakeshore Recycling, EcoloCap install aerobic digester for organic waste diversion

LRS Continues to Set Industry Standards with Integration of New Aerobic Digester

LRS has partnered with EcoloCap Solutions to create the first aerobic digester in the United States. The digester will be used in LRS waste diversion efforts to convert 15 tons of organic waste, yard waste and food scraps into high-grade compost and organic fertilizer.

There are many advantages of using the digester in our waste diversion efforts:

1. Zero Water Pollution

The aerobic digester’s in-vessel unit removes the chance of any water run off or pollution into the environment.

Digester2. Zero Methane Gas

When organic waste is dumped into landfills methane gas is created.  With the aerobic digester organic waste is diverted from landfills and repurposed into fertilizer. This process does not produce methane gas, which is a greenhouse gas.

3. Zero Odor

The process of using the aerobic digester does not produce odor.  The fertilizer that is created is fresh smelling and nutrient-rich.  This process takes organic waste away from landfills which creates a lot of odor.

4. High-grade Compost and Organic Fertilizer

There is a continuous output of nearly 90 percent of items put into the digester and when the end product is processed, it is reduced by 70 percent in weight and volume from its original state.  All of the output is cleaned by the digester with high heat and free from dangerous bacteria that may have been in the waste.

LRS takes pride in being an industry leader in the waste diversion and recycling industry and will continue to stay innovative in our environmental sustainability efforts.

LRS is hosting a ribbon-cutting ceremony to celebrate the incorporation of the aerobic digester in our waste diversion efforts at 2 p.m. on Wednesday, September 13, at our California Avenue Material Recovering Facility, 3152 South California Avenue, in Chicago.  There will be a step-by-step demonstration of the digester as well as speeches from LRS and EcoloCap senior executives. To learn more about the aerobic digester and the ribbon-cutting, read our press release.

For a more in-depth look at this system, how it works and its impact within our community, read the Spring 2017 issue of REgenerate, which extensively covers the digester.

Discover the differences between anaerobic digester systems and our cutting-edge aerobic digester by reading more in the image below.

FINAL_comparison

Lakeshore Recycling Systems Is First in the United States to Integrate Breakthrough Aerobic Digester Into Its Organic Waste Diversion Process