Kermit the Frog always complained that it’s not easy being green. Well, we have found that it’s incredibly easy to be green – environmentally, at least! In order to reduce costs and be environmentally conscious, ACET implemented many green initiatives last year. What are some ways that you and your company can initiate green practices?
- Reduce printing. ACET adopted printing reduction guidelines from the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency through REDUCE.org in order to reduce waste. We save and view files on our computers whenever possible to reduce the amount of printing. When we do print, we take note of factors such as margin spacing and duplex options to reduce paper and ink usage.
- Use real dishes and silverware. In other places where I’ve worked, companies provide Styrofoam or plastic cups and dishes. At ACET, staff members brought in extra dishes and real silverware for the team to use instead of throwing away harmful products. This immensely cuts down on waste and cost!
- Recycle. Our building doesn’t provide a recycling service, but we still make sure to set up recycling bags in our break room. When the bags are full, ACET staff take turns bringing the bags to their home and recycling them. It’s an easy way to keep wasteful products out of the landfills.
- Compost. Along with recycling, we have a bucket set up in our break room for compost. When the bucket is full, Kirsten or Heather, who both have compost bins, take the bucket home and adds the contents to their bin. By composting appropriate food items, we provide more nutrition to our plants and gardens. Last summer, Heather accidentally grew a cantaloupe in the flowers she potted on her deck. It came from un-decomposed seeds in her compost bin.
- Walk to work. Not all of us live close enough to work to walk, but Joseph does! He rarely takes his car to work, unless it’s below zero or he has a meeting. Using public transit or carpooling also drastically reduce car emission rates, so keep that in mind if you don’t live close to work.
- Green up your space. Our office is decorated with plants. Having plants in office spaces has been shown to decrease stress, increase productivity, and filter and clean the air.
- Learn from one another. At ACET we have lots of conversation about the environment, recycling, and being good to the earth in general. We are always sharing what we learned from what we read, what we see on TV, or what we practice in our daily lives. For example, Kirsten took a straw bale gardening class last spring and shared what she learned with the rest of the staff. Heather participated in a Community Supported Agriculture (CSA or bought a share of a local farm) last summer and shared produce with the rest of the team. Joseph became a vegetarian. All of these examples have inspired numerous conversations and reflections about sustainability and environmental impact.
In what ways does your company stay green? We’d love to hear more ideas!