It’s been said for a long time, “One man’s trash is another man’s treasure.” While there’s a lot of truth in that statement, it’s hard to find a better example than John Arwood and the way he operates his business. If you stop to think about it, every day we come across junk and waste in our lives. Maybe it’s household clutter or a garage that we’ve been meaning to clean out. Maybe it’s old business equipment that we think is outdated so we discard it for the newest, shiniest version. Whatever it is, it usually ends up taking space in a landfill. As the person in charge of hauling tons of this junk away, John Arwood and his company have always sought a better way.
Started At An Early Age
Getting his start at a young age collecting, reusing, and recycling glass bottles, scrap metals and wood while working alongside his father, John Arwood learned the foundations that have led to over 30 years of success in the waste disposal and sanitation industry. In 1978, Arwood was at work with his father, John C. Arwood, at a steel tank manufacturing factory when he realized that much of the scrap metal laying around as trash could be cleaned up and reused. With permission, he started collecting the small pieces in five gallon buckets to take home, clean, and sell back to be used again. Experiencing success through hard work to accomplish a unique vision sparked something in John Arwood that would drive him from that point forward. Since then, he has had over 30 years of success in the waste management and recycling industry–still, he’s never lost sight of the basics.
It’s How They Run Their Business
Businesses often make the same mistakes as individuals when it comes to trashing things too soon. At Arwood Waste, they believe in getting every ounce of life from what they use. “I regularly purchase my competitors equipment (garbage trucks, dumpsters, etc.) and then refurbish them to compete right back in the same markets they were retired from,” says Arwood. They’ve learned that with a little clean up work and repairs, they can apply the principle of “Re-Using” to reduce their costs and increase their profits.
A couple of other ways Arwood Waste works as a company to reduce their waste footprint is by utilizing electronic communications with their customers as much as possible and only printing with black ink. They email order confirmations, receipts and have an online form for just about everything related to the external and internal operations of their business. By contrast, most of their nationwide and local competitors send invoices with 3 to 4 sheets of paper, carbon copies and have multiple colors printed on them. When they do have to mail invoices, Arwood works to re-use the return envelopes they’ve received from others. These efforts keep them from generating unnecessary paper waste both inside and outside the company. From recycling “waste” fluids in their vehicles to re-using lunch table scraps for composting, almost nothing goes to waste at Arwood Waste.
Take The Reduce, Re-Use, Recycle Challenge Yourself
With every junk removal project, demolition job or roll off dumpster load John Arwood and his employees are keeping their eyes open for those hidden treasures. From toys that can be easily cleaned up and donated, to exercise and recreational equipment like bicycles with broken chains or just a busted tire. With just a little love (and if you know what to look for) so many of the items we throw away can live new lives.
Now it’s your turn. Before you throw away that next piece of “junk”, stop and think of how you might be able to repurpose it, donate it or re-use it. It’s good for the environment and might just save you some money!
Image: Alan Levine via Flickr