The Challenges of Going Green, From an Insurance Perspective

In the past several years, there has been a big push for our society to be more environmentally conscious and businesses to operate in a more sustainable manner. At Beacon Hill, we are pleased to see that people are becoming more aware of the planet and of the consequences of not taking care of the environment. That being said, we understand that there are some obstacles to overcome when making the shift to a more “green” lifestyle, as this change can actually increase environmental/pollution exposures.

All you have to do is walk through the light bulb aisle at Lowe’s to see an example of some of the new products that are designed with the reduction of waste in mind. Is it possible that one halogen light bulb could last over five years? As these new long-lasting bulbs become part of the sustainable movement in many businesses, it’s important to know that they actually contain mercury and need to be disposed of correctly once they burn out. Mercury is extremely toxic if it is ingested or comes into contact with skin; the dangers of this element can have devastating effects to people who are exposed to it. This exposure could also be present as old thermostats are replaced with newer, more energy efficient models, which may also contain mercury.

After these, and other similar products, have been used and disposed of, the way they are handled in recycling centers or trash facilities/landfills also needs close examination, as the demand for these services continues to increase. The recycling industry has recently seen tremendous growth due to the green initiative, as well as the current high market value of precious metals. As more materials are shipped to local recycling centers, these facilities are increasing their environmental exposure, sometimes without knowing it. Materials may arrive that cannot be recycled, thus proper disposal is required. The influx of goods means longer periods of storage. The recycling machines are running for longer periods of time, consuming more fuel. Owners of these facilities, as well as waste water treatment plants and landfills, should make sure they are adequately protected by considering an environmental insurance policy.

Beacon Hill applauds those companies that are making the effort to be environmentally conscious and “reduce, reuse, and recycle.” Let’s work together to make sure your clients who are going in this direction are protected from potential exposures. For more information, contact Beacon Hill Associates today at 1-800-596-2156.