31 One initial problem with Staples' new emphasis on recycled paper: less durable products. The solution? Reinvent paper. The company's hanging file folders now include 50% regenerated cotton (aka "denim"), and its "carbon neutral" notebook paper is 90% bagasse, a sugarcane by-product the company buys from Argentine farmers who would otherwise burn the spent cane, polluting their own communities.
32 Talk about turning garbage into a useful resource: The University of New Hampshire signed a deal this year with Waste Management Inc. to get 80% to 85% of the power and heat for its 14,000-student campus, using methane piped in from a nearby landfill. UNH must build a 12.7-mile pipeline to carry the gas, but the $45 million project is expected to save enough to pay for itself in 10 years.
33 Take the foodie trend of consuming only locally grown products and apply it to sportswear: That's what
34 If flying is the new smoking, fractional jet companies are the eco-equivalent of Philip Morris. But this fall, Warren Buffett's NetJets begins hitting its clients with a healthy dose of guilt serum: $5,000 extra a year, to pay for carbon offsets.
35 Surfers are generally pro-environment; their petrochemical-based gear is not. Patagonia is looking to change that. Its latest wet suit is made of Japanese neoprene, unbleached New Zealand merino wool, and PVC-free kneepads; and it uses 80% less petroleum than its competitors. Better yet (for surfers), at 3 millimeters thick, it produces the same warmth typically associated with 5 millimeters.
36 Emissions aren't the only enviro-scourge of the air-travel industry. U.S. airlines throw away enough aluminum cans every year to build 58 new 747s. At the urging of its own flight attendants,
37 Not content to confine its green efforts to recycling, Delta has also become the first U.S. airline to offer its passengers carbon offsets for their trips at the same time that they buy their tickets. The offsets—available only at Delta.com—cost $5.50 per roundtrip domestic ticket, and the money goes to the Conservation Fund's Go Zero program.
38 Paper or plastic? The unsatisfying answer is neither. Retailers including Ikea and Trader Joe's sell heavy-duty polypropylene sacks designed to be reused. But how do you get convenience-obsessed American shoppers actually to use them again?
39 Speaking of reuse,
40 Knocking down drywall and rebuilding the office every time your workforce shifts doesn't exactly square with running a sustainable business. Enter
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A version of this article appeared in the November 2007 issue of Fast Company magazine.