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Sustainable options in business

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A new global sustainable business and industry incubator network is expanding into a Paris suburb. They want to make the newly acquired building and operations more environmentally friendly, has asked your advice on four measures:

a. They are considering renovation using some synthetic building materials. They understand that these materials require relatively more energy and nonrenewable resources for their manufacture. Is there any way your client can justify using these materials on environmental grounds?

b. The building's café will offer, for carryout, plastic utensils and food containers. Should these be recyclable or compostable plastics?

c. What kind of light bulbs would you recommend for the building, and why?

d. The incubator plans to have a small, Zipcar-like fleet of two-passenger company cars for their members to use as needed on short-distance (up to ~40 miles/64 kilometers) highway trips to locations not accessible by public transportation. Should they use purely electric plug-in vehicles, or very high-mileage gasoline or diesel cars? Hybrids, for now, are not an option.

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Solution Summary

Suggesting globally sustainable options for modern business - in the area of building materials, food containers, light bulb, and vehicles.

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Consider the following hierarchy of waste management technologies in decreasing order of preference:

1. waste reduction
2. reuse of material
3. recycling
4. treatment or incineration
5. land disposal

What criteria do you think are the most important in this prioritization of preference? Do you think this order of preference is correct and if not what would you change?

Using specific examples to support your answers, what are advantages and disadvantages of each of the methods considering the options of on-site versus off-site waste management?

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