Non-profit

GreenBlue

Website:

greenblue.org/

Location:

Charlottesville, VA

Tax ID:

01-0706799

Tax-Exempt Status:

501(c)(3)

Budget (2016):

Revenue: $2,080,390
Expenses: $2,022,863
Assets: $2,715,802

GreenBlue is a Virginia-based environmentalist organization that works on materials management, recycling, and composting.

Much of GreenBlue’s work goes towards trying to influence businesses to align their practices with environmentalist ideology and principles. These efforts are driven by a set of principles derived from a method that emphasizes material sourcing, material health, and material reutilization in the manufacturing process. [1]

Board members of GreenBlue include executives from Amazon, Target, Dow Chemical, and Mars Candy. [2]

Key projects of GreenBlue include the Sustainable Packaging Coalition, How2Recycle, and the Composting Collaborative.

Founding

GreenBlue was founded in 2000 by American architect William McDonough to organize industry groups around the environmentalist “cradle to cradle” product design method. [3] The method emphasizes material sourcing, material health, material reutilization, and left-progressive social justice in the manufacturing process. [4] Originally developed in the 1990s,[5] McDonough and German chemist Michael Braungart later expounded the core tenets of cradle to cradle in 2002 with their book Cradle to Cradle: Remaking the Way We Make Things. [6] Cradle to cradle was later trademarked by McDonough’s materials firm and consulting group, McDonough Braungart Design Chemistry,[7] and a design standard was created to promote McDonough’s preferred practices. [8]

McDonough originally founded GreenBlue to help ensure that the cradle to cradle method would be publicly available and free to companies. However, after failing to secure a stable revenue stream for GreenBlue, McDonough eventually stepped down as chairman and later entered into a lengthy and costly legal dispute with GreenBlue over the group’s ability to use the phrase “cradle to cradle” in its materials. [9]

Sustainable Packaging Coalition

The Sustainable Packaging Coalition is a project of GreenBlue that works to pressure companies to adopt environmentalist supply chain standards. [10]

Members of the Sustainable Packaging Coalition include 3M, Amazon, Chick-fil-A, Intel, McDonald’s, Proctor and Gamble, Sephora, Starbucks, and Target. A number of state and local government agencies are members, as are some federal agencies, including the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, U.S. Department of Agriculture, and the U.S. Postal Service. [11]

The Sustainable Packaging Coalition hosts annual conferences and publishes research on recycling and materials management. It also offers member companies educational resources and industry tools to help them implement and examine the impact of GreenBlue’s environmentalist supply chain standards. [12]

Given the prevalence of comprehensive producer responsibility laws which force businesses to pay for recycling programs, some companies support the Sustainable Packaging Coalition and the industry standards it backs as to avoid or deter these coerced government-mandated recycling initiatives. [13]

In the wake of China’s 2018 decision to restrict what materials it would accept for recycling, the Sustainable Packaging Coalition responded and said the restrictions put “our system out of balance” and that “it will take investment to build better [recycling] infrastructure” in the United States. [14] A representative of GreenBlue also responded and said that it will take “new policies that inspire businesses to invest” to make this possible. [15]

In 2017, the Sustainable Packaging Coalition published a research paper which examined the impact of composting at a number of locations including a quick service restaurant and a national grocery chain. Their research showed that recyclables and food scraps accounted for most of the waste generated by these venues and that only a small portion of waste went to a landfill. [16]

How2Recycle

How2Recycle is a project of GreenBlue that works to standardize recycling labels on products to tell consumers exactly how to recycle each part of the packaging. [17] How2Recycle works with companies to create custom labels for their packaging. [18]

An article published in the left-wing online outlet The Intercept in 2019 titled “Waste Only: How the Plastics Industry Is Fighting to Keep Polluting the World” alleged that How2Recycle “makes some plastic products seem fair easier to recycle than they are,” and claimed that because the How2Recycle symbol is affixed to several commercial products, it is “all but impossible for many consumers to recycle.” [19]

Composting Collaborative

The Composting Collaborative is a composting initiative that seeks to influence businesses and localities to adopt GreenBlue’s preferred industry standards and municipal ordinances. [20] Members of the Composting Collaborative include businesses that handle large amounts of compostable material, nonprofits, and municipalities. [21]

References

  1. “Sustainable Materials Management.” GreenBlue. Accessed March 15, 2020. https://greenblue.org/about/smm/ ^
  2. “About.” GreenBlue. Accessed March 15, 2020. https://greenblue.org/about/ ^
  3. McDonough, William. “Page Post.” LinkedIn. Accessed March 15, 2020. https://www.linkedin.com/in/william-mcdonough-72a00215 ^
  4. “Product Certification.” Cradle to Cradle. Accessed March 15, 2020. https://www.c2ccertified.org/get-certified/product-certification ^
  5. “Cradle to Cradle.” EPEA. Accessed March 15, 2020. https://epea.com/en/about-us/cradle-to-cradle ^
  6. McDonough, William. “Page Post.” LinkedIn. Accessed March 15, 2020. https://www.linkedin.com/in/william-mcdonough-72a00215 ^
  7. “About MCDC.” MCDC. Accessed March 15, 2020. https://mbdc.com/about-mbdc/ ^
  8. “About the Institute.” Cradle to Cradle. Accessed March 15, 2020. https://www.c2ccertified.org/about/about ^
  9. Sacks, Danielle. “Green Guru Gone Wrong: William McDonough.” Fast Company. Accessed March 15, 2020. https://www.fastcompany.com/1042475/green-guru-gone-wrong-william-mcdonough ^
  10. “How the Sustainable Packaging Coalition Makes the New Plastics Economy Real.” GreenBlue. Accessed March 15, 2020. https://greenblue.org/how-sustainable-packaging-coalition-makes-the-new-plastics-economy-real/ ^
  11. “Members.” Sustainable Packaging Coalition. Accessed March 15, 2020. https://sustainablepackaging.org/members/ ^
  12. “Sustainable Packaging Coalition.” GreenBlue. Accessed October 13, 2020. https://greenblue.org/work/sustainable-packaging-coalition/ ^
  13. Plastics, ENSO. “In Response to the SPC Position Against Biodegradability Additives for Petroleum Based Plastics.” ENSO. Accessed March 15, 2020. https://ensoplastics.com/download/ENSO_PlasticsOfficialResponsetoSPCPositionPaperonBiodegradableAdditives_20121202.pdf ^
  14. Goodrich, Nina. “Packaging Recycling: is this the sipping point?.” Packaging Digest. Accessed March 15, 2020. https://www.packagingdigest.com/sustainable-packaging/packaging-recycling-is-this-the-sipping-point-2018-07-19 ^
  15. Martin, Lisa. “Laid to Waste: Recycling Kicked to the Curb by van der Linde.” Crozet Gazette. Accessed March 15, 2020 https://www.crozetgazette.com/2018/04/06/laid-to-waste-recycling-kicked-to-the-curb-by-van-der-linde-closure/ ^
  16. “The Value of Compostable Packaging.” Sustainable Packaging Coalition. Accessed March 15, 2020. http://greenblueorg.s3.amazonaws.com/smm/wp-content/uploads/2018/05/Value-of-Compostable-Packaging.pdf ^
  17. “How2Recycle.” GreenBlue. Accessed March 15, 2020. https://greenblue.org/work/how2recycle/ ^
  18. Bellows, Sierra. “Tools for sustainability: GreenBlue programs make businesses more environmentally friendly.” C-Ville. Accessed March 15, 2020. https://www.c-ville.com/tools-sustainability-greenblue-programs-make-businesses-environmentally-friendly/ ^
  19. Lerner, Sharon. “Waste Only: How the Plastics Industry Is Fighting to Keep Polluting the World.” The Intercept. Accessed March 15, 2020. https://theintercept.com/2019/07/20/plastics-industry-plastic-recycling/ ^
  20. “The Composting Collaborative.” GreenBlue. Accessed October 13, 2020. https://greenblue.org/work/the-composting-collaborative/ ^
  21. Bellows, Sierra. “Tools for sustainability: GreenBlue programs make businesses more environmentally friendly.” C-Ville. Accessed March 15, 2020. https://www.c-ville.com/tools-sustainability-greenblue-programs-make-businesses-environmentally-friendly/ ^

Directors, Employees & Supporters

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Nonprofit Information

  • Accounting Period: December - November
  • Tax Exemption Received: November 1, 2002

  • Available Filings

    Period Form Type Total revenue Total functional expenses Total assets (EOY) Total liabilities (EOY) Unrelated business income? Total contributions Program service revenue Investment income Comp. of current officers, directors, etc. Form 990
    2016 Dec Form 990 $2,080,390 $2,022,863 $2,715,802 $1,005,937 N $678,628 $1,397,563 $4,199 $252,332 PDF
    2015 Dec Form 990 $1,885,944 $1,752,342 $2,486,233 $833,895 N $579,086 $1,302,260 $4,488 $136,220 PDF
    2014 Dec Form 990 $1,961,258 $1,919,094 $2,231,147 $712,411 N $606,894 $1,350,576 $2,913 $131,280 PDF
    2013 Dec Form 990 $2,013,505 $1,899,521 $2,077,034 $600,462 N $487,792 $1,523,199 $2,514 $132,975 PDF
    2012 Dec Form 990 $2,260,881 $2,499,964 $2,213,829 $1,268,984 N $722,317 $1,535,883 $2,662 $31,910 PDF
    2011 Dec Form 990 $2,729,118 $2,669,888 $2,345,938 $1,162,010 N $1,040,925 $1,685,975 $3,249 $211,680 PDF

    Additional Filings (PDFs)

    GreenBlue


    Charlottesville, VA