Pest Management Includes Environmental Management

By David Mueller, BCE

Pest management is a combination of methods that alters the environment to offer the effective control of pests. Environmental management is understanding risks and reducing their impact on the place we live and work.

Today more companies are asking for less customer complaints, fewer call backs, and more guarantees that their pest problems will go away…but…they don’t want the risk or the perceived risk of unsafe chemical exposure.

The main driver for the food industry is Wal-Mart. Imagine the largest corporation in America and the largest retailer in the world openly worried about protecting the environment. But going green means more than protecting the environment. It also means being more efficient in managing costs and risks. That adds up to more profits.

If you are a company that provides products to Wal-Mart, you will be expected to provide this product at the lowest cost but also show that you are pest free and with low or
no amounts of pesticides on the product. Your future as a preferred customer will depend more and more on helping Wal-Mart become environmentally responsible. This is a huge incentive for anyone trying to move products or services through the Wal-Mart system.

Subaru is an automobile manufacturer and a division of Fuji Heavy Industries of Japan. Subaru has embraced their environmental activities to be part of their culture in their product and the 3300 associates that work at the Lafayette, Indiana plant that produces about 200,000 cars per year. Since 2004 Subaru has achieved a zero landfill status. That means that one household produces more landfill waste than this large automotive manufacturing facility. How did they do it? They changed the attitude of the worker by conserving resources, by reducing waste, by reusing where possible, and fi nally by recycling materials. All materials. This includes recycling fluorescent light bulbs into the various components (metal, glass, chemicals) and sorting them to be recycled. The management knows that recycling is one of the most expensive ways to manage waste and that not creating waste is the best way to reduce costs and trips to the landfill. The cost of waste was reduced from about $350 per car to under $250 per car just by becoming more efficient.

Environmental management takes a conscious effort in everything we do to protect the
limited resources found on this planet. Europeans and Canadians have been practicing recycling regularly for many years. Many Americans have a long way to learn to reduce, reuse, and recycle.

I was at a Purdue Football game with Henrik Lange from Tanaco in Denmark last year when upon leaving the game he looked down the aisles at the thousands of empty beverage bottles and stated: “You Americans are pigs.”

Learning to respect the environment in our daily life doesn’t happen over night. We should learn it at an early age. Many of our schools don’t recycle beverage containers, metal, or paper so why should the student be expected to do so? The simple job of taking an empty plastic or glass container to a designated receptacle to be stored until it can be moved to a recycling business doesn’t seem like a hard thing to do. Beverage companies and many schools sign six figure exclusive contracts to influence students to buy their particular brand. They create full blown marketing programs to capture life long markets much like the tobacco industry did to our WWII soldiers. The motivation for the student or faculty to discard their recyclable products in a responsible way is lacking.

The simple task of placing a recyclable product in these receptacles is a conscious vote by the person that they are openly doing their part to help our planet to get better and not worse. It is simply being an environmental leader.

Now this same student can take this message home to teach his/her parent ideas on being environmentally responsible by saying: “Dad, why are we not recycling?” This leads to more recycling bins being filled instead of more landfills being filled. This leads to more companies offering recycling and teaching their employees about this message, which leads to companies like Wal-Mart and Subaru being golden examples for all of us to follow. In the end it can help your company become more profitable.

What this also leads to is not only improving our precious environment but to providing better services and pest management to our customers. Since we use products that can alter or harm the environment, environmental management and pest management
should go hand in hand.

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