Pollution control can be very profitable
"Together at Last: Cutting Pollution and Making Money," New York Times, September 9, 2001
Controlling pollution need not be just an extra cost which lowers the profits of a company. In fact, if properly run and with some luck, it can result in a large profit. The following are some of successful pollution control measures which have generated substantial profits.
To grow coffee beans in the rain forest, Mexican farmers had to cut a large number of trees in order to provide sufficient sunlight for their growing beans. The Starbucks corporation, the largest purchaser of Mexican coffee beans, was seriously concerned with the large-scale destruction of the rain forest and provided a $200,000 fund to Mexican farmers to experiment with growing coffee beans in the shade under a forest canopy, thus avoiding cutting trees. The shade-grown beans turned out to be so tasty and popular in the United States that the company is starting shade-coffee farms in four other countries and exporting the beans overseas. Thus, the shade-grown coffee is not only environmentally friendly but highly profitable, as well.
The Los Angeles airport throws away 19,000 tons of food waste each year at a cost of $12 per ton. This is not only a significant waste of useful materials but also causes a serious problem of clogging and polluting the existing sewage system. To solve the problem, the airport ground the food waste and extracted methane gas from it. Finely ground waste can now be disposed through the existing sewer system, which saves the airline the $12 per ton special disposal fee, and the airport sells the resulting methane gas to a power company at $18 per ton. The prospects for the future are even better, as the finely ground waste produces reusable water for farming, and the remaining waste can be used as a fertilizer.
If properly managed with imagination and research, pollution control can benefit the environment and generate a significant profit. This is definitely a win-win proposition.