This week I participated in a conference call (the green way to have a meeting!) about sustainable development at work. This is something the government has committed to with its workplaces, and as part of this initiative, at work we have a volunteer committee. I, of course, had to join!
One of the things we discussed was paper recycling. Yes, you heard that right. It doesn’t happen everywhere as many locations are leased from other companies and so we are not a part of the recycling that happens. We are looking at how to make that happen in those locations.
The conversation moved on to lots of other ideas – one of which was how to encourage employees to use less disposable stuff – and if they use it, how to encourage them to take it home to recycle, rather than throw away at work. Plastic recycling doesn’t happen everywhere for us, either. For example, in the building I work in, the owner company doesn’t want it as they think the containers will attract rats and pests since not everyone cleans things properly.
We decided that we’d look into how to encourage people to bring reusable stuff to work. That maybe for next year’s Earth Day we could find a way to get reusable lunch bags for everyone. We also talked about one location that has a fully stocked kitchen – they have plates, glasses, mugs, cutlery etc. for everyone to use. In some places there are water jugs – and while many now use the kind that are wired into the water supply with changeable filters rather than the big jugs, people use paper cups – a huge waste maker. Maybe we can find a way to encourage people to have their own glasses/mugs for this – even with their name or something on them so they don’t misplace them when it’s busy.
I bring home my recyclables, and I have my tiffen and hot pot and cutlery – but there is so much more we can encourage each other to do. Bringing a litterless lunch is a great intiative in my opinion. And for those that use the cafeteria where there is one – bringing your own takeout containers & cutlery should be encouraged. I see a lot of coffee mugs, but there are still paper and Styrofoam cups in the office in the mornings. The question will be how to encourage people to make the change. Less resources used, less garbage created – so much better for all of us.
I think it will be my own personal initiative to encourage my coworkers to bring a takeout container to work, and to encourage those without them, to get a reusable mug. With just those two things, we could make such a difference in the garbage we generate and the resources we waste.
If you do anything at work to be green - please share. This is one place many of us have trouble with and we can all use all the help we can get!