I am from the generation that introduced the world to hippies and Greenpeace. I’m not sure we invented crunchy granola, but we certainly took it to new levels. Over the years, I have witnessed a lot of change in the way government and business treat the environment. While being generally pro-business in my thinking, I feel that driving toward more sensible use of the planet’s resources is a good thing.

Business interests have often pushed back against regulations requiring expensive pollution-control equipment or methods. I can certainly feel their pain, but we must all acknowledge the need to push technology forward to deliver our products without undue abuse of Mother Earth.

That brings me to the topic of trash.

When it comes to disposing of trash, you can work out a plan that will save you money and do a good turn for the environment. Roofing Contractor has reported on all types of recycling in roofing. In some places you can recycle asphalt shingles, roof insulation products and single-ply membranes. Recycling metal has been around forever, and many roofing contractors have been active recyclers about that long.

You can do your business a good turn by recycling the old roofing you remove, but what about the rest of the trash that goes into the dumpster around your business? I am convinced that there is money in how you handle trash, and you may want to check it out.

I have been going through an exercise around my shop recently trying to determine what recycling services are being offered. To my delight, I found that the trash industry is moving forward and is offering the kind of recycling that we can adopt to save some cash.

Look around. There is trash everywhere, and a lot of it is recyclable. Cardboard, paper, wood, metals (all kinds), plastic and rubber are all recyclable, but the materials handling piece is the stopper in most cases. For many shops you simply lease a trash container that is picked up periodically. Everything that is considered trash goes into it — no muss, no fuss. In other words, it is easy not to recycle. It is also expensive.

These days some waste handlers are offering businesses “single-stream” recycling containers into which you can toss cardboard, paper, metals and plastic. Wood is a popular commodity, but typically it must be handled separately. If these types of items sound like about 90 percent of your trash, you should look into recycling. It’s not big money — maybe a few hundred to a few thousand bucks a year — but there are other benefits.

Many roofing and other service companies advertise being “green.” They claim to offer environmentally friendly products and services, but do they operate green? A green roofing contractor will not win every job just because he has a great story, but it can be a great differentiator.

So don’t just recycle your old shingles; find a way to recycle the pallets and packaging that come with the new shingles. After all, you are not just in business to make money this year, you are in business to make a life — not only for yourself, but for generations to come.

 Oh, my … maybe I am a tree hugger?