Non-profits, businesses, and the local government are working hard to implement their own sustainability initiatives within Memphis and Shelby County.
Cotton Board: As the administrative arm of the Cotton Research & Promotion Program, the Memphis-based Cotton Board funds and oversees the activities of Cotton Incorporated as they implement research and promotion activities world-wide. Sustainability is ingrained in every aspect of both organizations, from research and education to reduce cotton’s on-farm and manufacturing environmental footprint, to strengthening cotton’s supply chain through collaborative partnerships focused on sustainability metrics and reporting systems. View their sustainability video here.
Ducks Unlimited, a national non-profit headquartered in Memphis, focuses on wetlands and waterfowl conservation. As of 2013, they have conserved more than 13 million acres of wetland habitat in North America. www.ducks.org
Project Green Fork, by partnering with local restaurants, has to date recycled approximately 1.1 million gallons of plastic, glass, and aluminum; 500 tons of paper and corrugated fiberboard (cardboard); and composted 150,000 gallons of food waste. www.projectgreenfork.org
Baptist Memorial Hospital-Memphis recently took energy efficiency measures with their lighting, plus they added solar panels to their building in order to reduce their carbon footprint. They are using environmentally friendly cleaning products, and have purchased electric fleet vehicles. Read more here. http://www.baptistonline.org/memphis/
GrowMemphis works with urban communities to establish community gardens and provide a local food source. They are currently working to establish a Food Policy Council. www.midsouthpeace.org/growmemphis
Habitat for Humanity of Greater Memphis is committed to sustainable building and has, to date, built 100 homes using EcoBUILD guidelines, a MLGW construction standard. EcoBUILD homes use 30% less energy than typical residences and the power bill for a 1,200 square foot EcoBUILD/Habitat for Humanity home is around $100. http://www.memphishabitat.com
Habitat for Humanity ReStore sells and accepts donations of new and gently used building materials, appliances, and furniture with proceeds supporting Habitat for Humanity of Greater Memphis. ReStore is open Monday-Saturday 10-6pm at 7130 Winchester Rd and donations are accepted until 5:30pm. Schedule a pickup here: www.memphisrestore.com/donate
Gaia Movement of Memphis currently has 55 used clothing donation boxes throughout the area and last year diverted 7 million pounds of clothing from the landfill. The group teaches workshops on sustainability and conducts various beautification projects. www.facebook.com/GaiaMovementMemphis
United Housing, Inc. is committed to making the future of home-building greener and more affordable to low-to-moderate income families by creating the first solar powered subdivision at Wolf River Bluffs in Frayser. United Housing and partners’ solar powered homes also utilize MLGW’s EcoBUILD standards. www.uhinc.org
Green Machine Mobile Food Market is a converted MATA bus that takes fresh produce to neighborhoods with limited access, those in food deserts. www.facebook.com/TheGreenMachineMobileFoodMarket
Memphis Goodwill recycled 4.5+ million pounds of electronics and other household goods in 2012. Tons of computer waste is kept out of landfill through their Dell Reconnect program. Read their annual report here.
Boys & Girls Club of Greater Memphis Technical Training Center, the first of its kind in the US, offers a culinary arts program called Gardens to Groceries. Students learn how to grow their own produce using the innovative Tower Garden system and create original recipes that are marketed at local Farmers’ Markets. www.bgcm.org/technicaltrainingcenter
Government and related agencies
The University of Memphis supports several sustainability-minded initiatives, collecting ideas from students, faculty, and staff each spring. Read more about their projects for the 2012-2013 academic year: http://www.memphis.edu/bluegoesgreen/
The Memphis Zoo is committed to greening their operations as energy efficient appliances are replacing old ones, incandescent lights are being replaced with CFLs, solar panels are being installed on golf carts, and soon trams will be running on biodiesel. The public can recycle their cell phones at the zoo with proceeds going toward the gorilla and bonobo habitat. http://www.memphiszoo.org/greeninitiative
Memphis City Beautiful Commission loans tools to groups holding neighborhood cleanups around the city and loans litter boxes to organizations holding special events. They also work closely with schools to teach recycling and liter prevention. http://www.memphiscitybeautiful.org
Shelby County Sheriff’s Station (11670 Memphis-Arlington Rd) takes Unwanted prescriptions. Take your prescriptions there; flushing medication is not advised since it could contaminate the water table. In its first month of operation, 100 pounds of medication were collected. For questions call 901-222-5400.
Bobby Lanier Farm Park a City of Germantown Park is an education and demonstration site for sustainability. The 10-acre working farm offers hands on learning through a member based community garden, chickens, children’s young farmers programming, garden lectures, partnerships with educational programs, field trips and sustainability expositions. The Farm Park is also home to the Farm Park Farmers' Market featuring local producers and artisans. www.thefarmpark.org
International Paper, a global company headquartered in Memphis, has significantly decreased energy consumption at their Memphis data center. For this specific local project, they replaced traditional servers with virtual ones and saw energy savings even while storage capacity increased. Read more on page 21 of their Sustainability Report. International Paper received the prestigious Climate Leadership Award in 2012 for reducing greenhouse gas emissions.
FedEx Corporation, a global company headquartered in Memphis, has implemented green building innovation at their FedEx Express World Headquarters in Memphis. This building has recently received Gold-level LEED certification, read more about it on page 32 of their Global Citizenship Update and in this article. In 2012, FedEx received the Eco-Airline of the Year Award-Silver from Air Transport World.
ServiceMaster has begun the certification process for LEED-EB (Existing Building) for one of its buildings in Memphis and is working to reduce its footprint. Read more on page 11 of their Corporate Social Responsibility Report.
Smith & Nephew replaced water-cooled compressors at one facility in Memphis with high efficiency radiators. They reduced water usage by 60%. Read more on page 15 of their Sustainability Report.
Evergreen Packaging, headquartered in Memphis, launched a nation-wide campaign to draw attention to the environmental benefits of choosing cartons made from renewable materials. In addition to the website campaign choosecartons.com, Evergreen is also donating a monetary sum to Habitat for Humanity each time the website is tweeted or posted.
Brother International Corporation, a distribution center in Bartlett, received the Energy Star 2012 certification with a remarkably high rating of 94. They have taken significant steps in saving energy at their 1.6 million square foot facility and now Shelby County leads the state in energy efficiency with the highest percentage of Energy Star square footage. Read about their award here.
Buckman Laboratories, a global specialty chemical company headquartered in Memphis, won the prestigious EPA's Presidential Green Chemistry Challenge Award in 2012 for developing an biodegradable and non-toxic enzyme that replaces caustic-based chemicals in the paper-making process. Read more about Buckman in their Sustainability Report.
Natural Awakenings, a local magazine on healthy living, prints their publication locally using paper that was either recycled, biodegradable, or derived from sustainably harvested forests. Extra copies of the magazine are shared at expos or used to make compost and raised garden beds throughout Memphis. http://www.namemphis.com/
Jabberblabber Earth Friendly Family Magazine is a free, monthly publication providing fun, green education to children and families in the Mid-South. The Memphis-based magazine, produced with the help of sponsors interested in becoming partners in green education, is printed on recycled paper using natural inks and is also available online. www.jabberblabber.com
Edible Memphis Magazine promotes and celebrates local, seasonal food. Each quarterly issue, printed on 30% post-consumer recycled paper using environmentally-friendly soy inks, tells the stories of the farmers, gardeners, cooks, and chefs who drive our foodsystem. www.ediblememphis.com
Over the Moon Diapers, a Memphis-based company, is committed to educating families about the ease and affordability of using modern cloth diapers. Switching just one baby from disposable diapers to cloth will prevent approximately 1 ton of disposables from entering the landfill. Learn more about the company here: http://www.overthemoondiapers.com/
Evergreen Family Dentistry in East Memphis is the first certified green dental practice in the region. They use cloth or recycled products where practical, digital radiography, biocompatible materials in dental treatment, energy star appliances, and their office has been remodeled to be energy efficient. http://evergreenfamilydentistry.com/eco-friendly_practice
Mirimichi, Justin Timberlake's world-class golf course in Millington, is an Audubon International Class Sanctuary and has a Golf Environmental Organization Certification. They use recycled rainwater for irrigation, native grasses that reduce maintenance footprint, recirculating creek system, and a natural resource management center. These systems capture 2/3 of the water used on the course and filter it so it is cleaner than when it entered. www.mirimichi.com/environmental.html
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