Karen Coley’s Woman-led SBC Waste Solutions: Pioneering Sustainability in Waste and Recycling
In the world of waste collection services in Chicago, one company stands out as a champion of sustainability in the so-called “dirty” business. Led by Karen Coley, SBC Waste Solutions is forging a path toward eco-friendly waste management practices.
As a woman-owned and family-run residential waste collection company, SBC Waste Solutions may be a David among Goliaths, but it is making significant strides in promoting sustainability. One of its notable initiatives is the solar project in an industrial corridor located in a Chicago suburb. This visionary idea, conceived by Karen Coley herself, aims to encourage all 20 businesses in the area to switch to solar power. In order to turn this vision into reality, Coley engaged with the local community and discussed the idea with the mayor.
The collaborative efforts between the 20 businesses and the community serve as a powerful example of how companies can come together to promote sustainability. According to Shawn Flood, a partner at SBC Waste Solutions, the solar initiative gained rapid momentum. “Once we started going, all the involved businesses wrote letters to elected officials about all of them becoming solar together. They’re working to make it the first solar corridor in Illinois anywhere.”
With a steadfast commitment to sustainable and eco-friendly practices, SBC Waste Solutions seeks to revolutionize waste management while ensuring minimal environmental impact. Chicago, known for its progressive stance on sustainability, recycling initiatives, and renewable energy, warmly welcomed SBC Waste Solutions into the community three years ago.
Karen Coley, as the majority owner, places a strong emphasis on environmentally conscious operations. The company continually explores new ways to reuse recyclables and streamline the recycling process for customers. Notably, half of their truck fleet is dedicated solely to collecting recyclable materials.
Exciting plans lie ahead for SBC Waste Solutions. Flood shares, “We’re at a point now financially where we’re actually looking to start developing our own automated recycling facility, which will be equipped with cutting-edge technology such as robots. This will allow us to process all our waste and recycle ourselves, instead of relying on external service providers.”
While serving the suburbs around Chicago, SBC Waste Solutions remains rooted in the local community while actively pursuing innovative waste management solutions.
It is worth highlighting that SBC Waste Solutions proudly holds the distinction of being a woman-owned business (WBE), with Karen Coley maintaining at least 51 percent ownership. This significant achievement has led to the company earning the WBENC certification, which involves a rigorous vetting process.
In terms of workplace diversity, SBC Waste Solutions strives to maintain a diverse workforce. However, the residential waste collection industry faces a unique challenge: a lack of female applicants for traditionally male-dominated roles such as garbage truck drivers. Nonetheless, the company’s office boasts a strong representation of women, showcasing gender balance in various other roles.
As a family-run business, SBC Waste Solutions places great importance on providing exceptional customer service while ensuring continuous growth to offer the best waste management solutions for its customers.
Under the leadership of Karen Coley, SBC Waste Solutions is leading the charge in sustainability within waste and recycling. Their unwavering commitment to environmental responsibility, coupled with their dedication to community engagement, positions them as trailblazers in the industry. As they continue to grow and innovate, their impact on waste management in Chicago and beyond will only become more substantial.