...Save Money, Keep Stuff Out Of The Landfill, and Have Fun Doing ItMy friends are always asking me for tips on how to green up their workplaces - but they need stuff that won't freak out their coworkers (I guess I shouldn't tell them to get rid of all the trash cans just yet). I thought I'd share some ideas that are really simple and have worked for us here in our Austin office. And, conveniently enough, some of these will even save your company some money.
Last year we realized how much waste we were producing by stocking all the meeting rooms with bottled water, so we invested in a water service instead. We now have large five-gallon water dispensers available. We saved a lot of plastic, and money! It was also a good way to get our team members used to bringing their own glasses or reusable water bottles to work. Of course, we offer compostable waxed paper cups if they forget...along with a convenient green compost bin in each conference room.The copy machine room can be a scary place with lots of wasted paper....we encourage folks to reuse paper (print on both sides) instead of just recycling it after one use. We also make scrap paper books out of the wasted paper as much as we can. We have a tray/drawer in some of the copiers that is dedicated to paper that is already printed on one side. I actually can't remember the last time I was in that room, I just bring my laptop everywhere so paper consumption is pretty much a thing of the past for me. Of course this is not the case for a lot of you who have to print reports...try the two-sided setting for any future print jobs. Pretty soon you will be gasping at those who print on only one side of the paper AND bring copies for everyone at the meeting (plus two extra just in case!).My two favorite projects right now are the newest ones. My friend Christine discovered that Aveda is accepting plastic bottle caps at some of their locations — they are starting to use them to make new caps and containers for their products. We put buckets in each break room, where team members are recycling their plastic bottles, to collect these caps. Aveda will release products using this environmentally-friendly new material later this year. Find out more; it's really cool.Another green team friend, Caroline, did some research to see what she could do with wine corks besides collect them or throw them away. She found out that we could send corks to a company in Missouri who makes them into floors. What a great alternative to letting them end up in a landfill, no? So we put another set of buckets out for corks, and to give folks an incentive to bring them in we had a contest over the holidays. They wrote their names on the corks and we had a raffle of some fabulous green prizes! (Warning: If you do this, you will be surprised at how many people collect corks.)Any other good ideas out there? Just between you and me, my plan is to get everyone having so much fun that they won't notice that their trash cans will soon be missing. Bring on the comments!