3 Things to Learn from Award-Winning Company American Waste Control
The Tulsa, Oklahoma-based waste collection, recycling, and waste to energy (WtE) firm American Waste Control has been awarded the 2014 Henry Bellmon Sustainability Stewardship Award. The award is actually quite prestigious and recognizes companies who balance economic growth with environmental stewardship.
American was recognized for its commitments to sustainability including its WtE and city-wide recycling programs.
“This award really shows our efforts to make Tulsa a city we can be proud of and the passion we have for developing sustainable practices that improve people’s lives,” Kenny Burkett, the company’s founder and owner, said.
So, what can the greater industry learn from a regional award winner? Quite a bit, actually.
Focus on the community.
In the end, managing waste is about people. Waste management companies provide a necessary service, yes, but there’s a different between doing your job and doing it mindfully.
“Nothing means more to us than serving our city,” American. “Tulsa is our home—and it is our priority to make a difference in the lives of people as we build upon a legacy of caring and doing in our city.”
It seems like a simple concept, yes, but it’s surprisingly important. Better management of waste begins with understanding the community you serve, no matter the size or scope.
Look for solutions, not just issues.
Identifying the needs of a community comes with recognizing that not everything may be working. However, recognizing this is only half the battle. To best serve its community, American looks for solutions to the issues it faces—and actually enacts them. In the end, it all comes back to better serving Tulsa and being a better community partner.
There’s always room for innovation.
While certainly a sizable city, Tulsa isn’t exactly a major metropolitan area. This hasn’t stopped American from searching for innovative solutions to the city’s waste management matters. The company’s WtE efforts are certainly notable, seeing as how it’s very much on the cutting-edge of waste management.
“Over the coming years, we will continue to expand our emphasis on renewable energy and help our city’s efforts to create energy sustainability within our back yard,” the company says. “The very nature of our business passion is protection of the environment and lessening the impact of trash on the community. Our mission goal will always strive for a collective culture that is passionate about green issues and technological advancements that help our city thrive.”
‘Good enough’ isn’t good enough for American Waste Control—and that’s a lesson any waste management company could certainly learn from.
All but two UK regions failing on school energy efficiency
Most schools are still "treading water" on implementing energy efficient technology, according to new analysis of Government data from eLight.
Yorkshire & the Humber and the North East are the only regions where schools have collectively reduced how much they spend on energy per pupil, cutting expenditure by 4.4% and 0.9% respectively. Every other region of England increased its average energy expenditure per pupil, with schools in Inner London doing so by as much as 23.5%.
According to The Carbon Trust, energy bills in UK schools amount to £543 million per year, with 50% of a school’s total electricity cost being lighting. If every school in the UK implemented any type of energy efficient technology, over £100 million could be saved each year.
Harvey Sinclair, CEO of eEnergy, eLight’s parent company, said the figures demonstrate an uncomfortable truth for the education sector – namely that most schools are still treading water on the implementation of energy efficient technology. Energy efficiency could make a huge difference to meeting net zero ambitions, but most schools are still lagging behind.
“The solutions exist, but they are not being deployed fast enough," he said. "For example, we’ve made great progress in upgrading schools to energy-efficient LED lighting, but with 80% of schools yet to make the switch, there’s an enormous opportunity to make a collective reduction in carbon footprint and save a lot of money on energy bills. Our model means the entire project is financed, doesn’t require any upfront expenditure, and repayments are more than covered by the energy savings made."
He said while it has worked with over 300 schools, most are still far too slow to commit. "We are urging them to act with greater urgency because climate change won’t wait, and the need for action gets more pressing every year. The education sector has an important part to play in that and pupils around the country expect their schools to do so – there is still a huge job to be done."
North Yorkshire County Council is benefiting from the Public Sector Decarbonisation Scheme, which has so far awarded nearly £1bn for energy efficiency and heat decarbonisation projects around the country, and Craven schools has reportedly made a successful £2m bid (click here).
The Department for Education has issued 13 tips for reducing energy and water use in schools.