Member News, WMSBF News

Imagine Trash Partner Testimonial: SME USA

West Michigan Sustainable Business Forum is still offering a waived co-pay promotion to members that sign up for the Imagine Trash Partner Program. WMSBF currently has 15 of the 50 promotional waste audit slots remaining, so the sooner you reach out the more likely the offering will still be available. The program includes a package of technical resources for small and medium sized organizations in the West Michigan region to improve their recycling efforts and potentially establish zero waste to landfill goals.  Now scheduling waste audits for January and February.
This week, WMSBF highlights Imagine Trash Partner Program participant SME USA, a leading Midwest consulting engineering firm with a track record of using big-picture approaches to deliver right-sized, sustainable solutions. SME experts help clients solve issues ranging from tough site development and redevelopment, facility rehabilitation and maintenance, and environmental challenges. With specialists in geotechnical engineering, environmental sciences, materials engineering and testing, and more, SME can deliver the innovative thinking and practical solutions businesses need to obtain real, sustainable success.

In response to the Imagine Trash waste audit performed onsite at SME USA, members within the organization had a chance to assess its current waste stream and formulate recycling program to align with recommendations provided in the audit findings. SME plans to take initial actions including the installment of a single-stream recycling dumpster from its current waste hauler, adding recycling containers in break room and lab/workroom areas, and the centralization of waste bins by removing from personal offices and only including in conference room, break room, and lab/workroom areas, with appropriate signage included. SME will also train and engage new employees & janitorial staff on the diversion programs new procedures to reduce waste and segregate recycling.

Learn more about the Imagine Trash initiative or request a waste audit at

Member News, WMSBF News

West Michigan Sustainable Business Forum Merges with Michigan’s Great Southwest Sustainable Business Forum

West Michigan Sustainable Business Forum has completed a merger with Michigan’s Great Southwest Sustainable Business Forum to create the largest regional organization for sustainable business practitioners in the Midwest.

The combined organization, headquartered in Grand Rapids, will serve 220 member organizations and the general community in a 10-county territory that stretches from Muskegon County to the Indiana border with a unified mission of promoting business practices that demonstrate environmental stewardship, economic vitality, and social responsibility.

The merger now allows WMSBF & MGSSBF to share administrative costs and invest more resources to each organizations mission. It is already bringing new programs to the Great Southwest, including a recycling user group based on a successful program in the Grand Rapids area, an initiative to help local events and fairs implement recycling and sustainability programs, and a program to capture unique waste materials for use by artists. Continue reading

Event Review, Member News

Review: Schupan Recycling Tour

Schupan Recycling hosted WMSBF members to a tour of its bottle recycling facility last week.

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Photos from the event can be found at our Facebook page.

The program included a presentation on Schupan’s recycling efforts, a Q&A session, tutorials in their demo area, and a guided walk-through of the indoor & outdoor recycling areas.

The 55,000-square foot facility processes 45,000 tons of material each year, including most Michigan deposit containers collected west of US-27, and miscellaneous other items, such as commodity material collected from events and full-product destruction.

WMSBF is trying to find ways to offer more value to its members through member-only events and mixers such as this.  We hope that members will share these opportunities with their colleagues and network so that they might take advantage of these services as well.

Member News, Norman Christopher

Norman Christopher: Where is Sustainability Headed in the Future?

With all of the recent changes on the national political scene, many business and organization leaders have raised the question of where sustainability is headed in the future. There are expressed concerns about the continuing support for ongoing programs and initiatives, especially those around environmental sustainability. Some of those issue areas include protection of our natural environment and the watersheds here in West Michigan, as well as the ongoing work in climate impact, preparedness, and resiliency. To begin, there are no quick and easy answers! However, I do believe that a positive picture can be painted based on the approaches being taken here in West Michigan.

Continue reading

Member News, WMSBF News

November Member News Round-Up

Haris Alibašić has left his position as director of the office of sustainability and energy at City of Grand Rapids for a professorship at University of Western Florida. At his going-away party this week, WMSBF honored Haris with a plaque thanking him for his work on behalf or the city and the forum.

SpartanNash Corporate Responsibility Report is now available at The report provides a timeline of SpartanNash’s corporate responsibility journey, as well as information on the company’s corporate giving, volunteer program, recycling efforts, improved transportation fleet efficiency and focus on local and organic products.

Aquinas College was featured in a GRBJ article recognizing last month’s Triple Bottom Line Bash Sustainable Business of the Year award.  Continue reading

Member News, WMSBF News

Meijer Sustainability Lead to Discuss Company’s Efforts at Next Event

West Michigan Sustainable Business Forum will host a luncheon examining sustainability efforts at one of West Michigan’s leading brands on Monday, December 12 at Kendall College of Art & Design.

Erik Petrovskis, Director of Environmental Compliance and Sustainability, will present Meijer’s approach to environmental management, including its compliance management system, Sustainability Plan, environmental footprint, and progress on sustainability

Petrovskis has 20 years of experience as an environmental consultant, where he also maintained an active applied research program in bioremediation. He is responsible for due diligence, remediation, compliance, and sustainability at Meijer, with particular focus on stormwater management and food

Also on the agenda is Dar Baas, Director of Kent County Department of Public Works, who will discuss the county’s recently finalized Landfill Reduction Plan: Strategy to ReImagine Trash.

The event begins with networking and lunch at 12 pm, with presentations from 12:30 to 2 pm. Learn more and register for the event at at Register by Friday, December 9.

Event Review, Member News, WMSBF News

November Review: Climate Resiliency & Adaptation

The November membership meeting at the Amway Corporate Headquarters featured a presentation on ational and global scale resilience and climate adaptation and other topics.

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See photos from the event on our Facebook page.

Featured speaker Dale Sands, Global Practice Director in the Private Sector Division of CH2M, discussed resilience and climate adaptation, actions the public and private sector are taking to evaluate their vulnerability, and his recent work developing a framework for disaster risk reduction on behalf of the United Nations Office for Disaster Risk Reduction, which was recently used to assess the preparedness of 208 businesses located within New Orleans historic commercial corridors.

Representatives from Amway also discussed Envisioning Ada, a resident-guided community vision for the future of the Ada Village designed to enhance its natural and cultural assets for walkability, livability and sustainability.


This month’s conference presented by Amway.

Member News, WMSBF News

October Member News Round-Up

WMSBF Director Daniel Schoonmaker was honored as one of West Michigan’s 40 under Forty Business Leaders by the Grand Rapids Business Journal this week.  Other member representatives receiving the honor included Elissa Hillary of Local First, John Behrens and Joel Schellhammer of Steelcase, Sara Brooks and Chris Sain of Grand Rapids Community College, Jason Franklin of Grand Valley State University, Rick Jensen and Joshua Meringa of Spectrum Health, Mike Mraz of Rockford Construction, and Stacy Stout of City of Grand Rapids.

Corp Magazine will host Michigan’s Best and Brightest Sustainable Companies at Grand Rapid Brewing Company on November 2.  The competition is a statewide celebration of organizations that inspire and produce green technology to impact the industry and environment. The symposium celebrates those companies that are making their businesses more sustainable, the lives of their employees better and the community more responsible as a whole. Several WMSBF members are expected to be recognized, as in past years. Continue reading

Member News, WMSBF News

Aquinas College Named West Michigan Sustainable Business of the Year

GRAND RAPIDS, MICH. – October 13, 2016 – West Michigan Sustainable Business Forum named Aquinas College its 2016 West Michigan Sustainable Business at its Third Annual Triple Bottom Line Bash.

The Sustainable Business of the Year Award is selected annually by a vote of the WMSBF membership, honoring the local company that best represents the values of the triple-bottom line. Continue reading

Member News

Advanced Technology Recycling: Michigan 1 Million Pound CRT Challenge for 2016

Advanced Technology Recycling (ATR) in Grand Rapids announced they have secured a major OEM contract that provides up to 1 Million pounds of free CRT (Cathode Ray Tube) recycling and 500,000 pounds of other CED’s to Michigan Residents until 10/1/2016.  The agreement is part of an ongoing effort by ATR to provide certified and secure end of life recycling solutions within their ever expanding coverage areas.   Michigan OEM Take back program participation has been sluggish in recent years due to increased CRT processing fees which often get passed onto consumers.   The agreement comes midterm in the 2016 program year and poses a unique challenge for collection partners that have been forced to charge a fee in the wake of record low commodity prices.   In 2015 ATR used the One Million Pound Challenge (OMPC) initiative to successfully motivate consumers on Earth day and successfully set a new Guinness World Record for “Most Consumer Electronics Recycled in 1 week across multiple locations”  and collected 1,180,442 Pounds of e-Waste.  “We’re rebooting the OMPC for 2016 and focusing our attention on Michigan” said Brodie Ehresman ATR’s National Business Development Manager based out of their Grand Rapids location. Continue reading