On Your Mark, Get Set, Go

Sometimes the hardest thing to do is just start.

Begin with Small Steps. Sometimes the hardest thing to do is just start.

I’m sure you’ve felt like this from time to time. The problem seems too big. The distance, too far. The mess, too daunting. The goal, too difficult. You feel overwhelmed. 

How on earth do you even begin?

I often listen to a podcaster who encourages listeners to start small with whatever they’re facing. The minute I hear that advice, my shoulders relax. I take a deep breath. I can do that. I can start small.

Sustainability is one of those topics that can seem so enormous it’s hard to get your arms around it. From facilities to products, sustainability touches the entire production process. If you’re trying to create a sustainable business, you could use solar panels, reduce carbon emissions, go landfill-free or create mattresses that can be easily disassembled for recycling. Really, that’s just scratching the surface of what the bedding industry has the ability to do. But, first, companies have to decide that it’s important and begin.

The International Sleep Products Association held its second ISPA Sustainability Conference in September, and there was so much good information and conversation around these issues and more. Take a look at our coverage.

The number of manufacturers, suppliers and retailers present was encouraging. Some are far along on their journeys and others are at the beginning. The preconference workshop with Peter Cooke, Ratio Institute co-founder, gave attendees the tools to break sustainability into manageable parts and the reassurance that it’s OK to pick the priorities that fit their businesses. “Start where you are,” he said.

At the conference, Josh Riggs, senior sustainability manager at Milliken & Co., encouraged everyone to start by setting baselines and targets. And the targets don’t have to be enormous. You can start small. Switching to LEDs is a step in the right direction. Then keep going.

As the inimitable Dolly Parton says: “If you don’t like the road you’re walking, start paving another one.”

But I think I like this quote from Darren Marcangelo, managing director for Spinks, a little more. “None of us have all the answers, but between us, we can make the bedding industry a better place for the planet.”

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