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Zero Waste Hero: The company helping other businesses affordably go green

Posted at 6:45 PM, Nov 11, 2020
and last updated 2020-11-11 20:45:19-05

What happens to the document you toss into the shredding bin at work? What if I told you it gets turned into the same toilet paper you use in the office restroom? Or even paper towels for the break room? Well, at least when it gets picked up by shredding and recycling experts Green Planet 21, who aim to make the world a more sustainable place, starting with Utah businesses.

Sales manager Erik Brown says every business he works with gets a dumpster overhaul to see what's trash, and what could be treasure.

If they see something reusable, Erik and his team will "try to pull it out, and not only recycle it, but try to turn it into a revenue stream for them, so they can be green at a lower cost."

So rather than waste money on waste collection, a company who hires Green Planet 21 gets a custom plan to find things to recycle or reuse, which not only reduces the waste that has to get hauled to the landfill (which costs money!) but also creates income for the company when another buyer wants what they've got!

For example, Erik was contacted by a company who had hundreds of thousands of paper rolls that they couldn't use anymore, but they had a silicon coating on the paper, rendering these massive tubes not easily recyclable. But, rather than (paying to) send them to the landfill, the company actually started earning money - when Erik found a buyer who could reuse them in his business!

"That deal rescued hundred of tons a month from the customer's garbage, which cut the garbage cost," Erik said. "Then we were able to turn the rolls into a revenue stream, so it was a huge win for the company."

And it's a win-win, as "we've diverted thousands of tons from the landfill," Erik added.

That's why Amanda, and Aubriana Martindale with Smith's Food & Drug, surprised Erik and Green Planet 21 with this month's Zero Waste Hero Award.

"Erik, Green Planet 21's mission is to help businesses become green so we can protect our planet; the place we all get to call home," Aubriana said. "So we would like to honor you as our Zero Waste Hero for the month, in partnership with Fox13."

"Honored to receive it," he said. "Thank you!"

If you'd like to nominate a person or organization ending hunger or waste in Utah, email