Less is more for green business

January 21, 2011 (CHICAGO)

Recycling is always thought to be the best alternative to throwing out used glass and plastic bottles. But if you use fewer to begin with, you'll have fewer of which to dispose. It seems like a simple concept. And, it's how one local manufacturer lives green.

A little bit goes a long way at PortionPac, portionpac.com. The company makes concentrated cleaning products that are shipped in pre-measured packets. Less is definitely more.

"We teach our customers to use less product to achieve greater sanitation and greater labor efficiency," said Burt Klein, president, PortionPac Chemical Corporation.

In a typical 32-ounce bottle of cleaner, about one ounce would be chemicals and the 31 other ounces would be water. Instead of shipping products pre-mixed, PortionPac sends its clients the small amount of cleaning product and instructs them to add water and re-use their bottles. The company has recently won several awards for its practices as a green business. The founders say they've been doing the same thing for nearly fifty years. For them, it just makes sense.

"We're talking about saving the corporations money. We're talking about making their workers more productive. We're talking about standardizing production. All of these things made money for our customers, but also directly impacted the health of the environment," said Marvin Klein, chairman of the board, PortionPac. He also said the company is also concerned about worker health. "Why would we want to have a janitor exposed to harsh cleaning products?"

"The janitors who are given keys to a building should be treated with respect and should be shown to be very important," said Warren Weisberg, co-owner, Portion Pac.

The company's president says thirteen of Portion Pac's 22 cleaners have earned a green certification from the non-profit group, "Green Seal," which evaluates products for their eco-friendliness. He believes everybody benefits from safer products -- not only the cleaning staff.

"Whether you're a kid in a school or a person in an office building or a hospital, those are the people that are the greatest beneficiaries, the people that work and are in those buildings because it becomes a safer, healthier environment for them also," said Burt Klein.

Portion Pac sells exclusively to commercial customers, but they hope to expand someday to include retail sales.

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