Boomers & Beyond - Fall 2016

A Sustainable Lifestyle, Small Changes Can Make a Substantial Difference

(StatePoint) It might not feel like you alone can have an impact on the environment, but over time, small lifestyle changes can make a substantial difference.

Need some ideas to get started? Draw inspiration from the collective efforts of one California olive company working to run operations in an eco-friendly way.

“Our employees are vital to our zero waste efforts,” says Dennis Leikam, environmental manager at Musco Family Olive Company. “Through monthly sustainability topics and a compost program, they’re encouraged to reduce not only our corporate environmental impact, but also their personal impact away from work, as well.”

Over 75 percent of residential waste is recyclable, but most people only recycle 30 percent, according to the Environmental Protection Agency. While it may be unrealistic to produce zero waste at home, you can get closer to that goal. Here are some simple actions:

  • Buy the Right Stuff.

Musco has an ethical sourcing program to ensure that every part of the olive production process meets their sustainability goals. Do your own ethical sourcing by: buying local, buying products with minimal, recyclable packaging, reducing use of disposable items and choosing products from companies with a commitment to sustainability.

  • Drive Less and Bike More

To reduce greenhouse gas emissions at its facilities by five percent, Musco is tracking emissions through Carbon Disclosure Project, the leading non-profit working to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. You can lower your carbon footprint by consolidating car trips, and walking or riding your bike to work and on errands.

  • Conserve Water.

In the last 10 years, Musco has recycled almost 1.5 billion gallons of water onsite in a closed-loop system. They even grow special grass that pulls salt from the soil, is harvested and becomes a tasty supplement for local cattle.

Conserve water by: turning off the tap when you brush your teeth; use the dishwasher. Unless the dishwasher is over a decade old, it uses less water than washing by hand; and put a brick in the tank to get a low-flow effect without the cost of a new toilet.