Greening your spaces
Today we have a guest post from our Environmental Queen at Brown Paper Tickets, Erika Harder. She has been working hard to find all of the ways our company can be more environmentally friendly. Here she shares some more ideas on how to reduce, reuse and recycle, at Brown Paper Tickets, that will hopefully give you some new ideas on how to green your own spaces. Here are her tips:
- Just like greening your home, the first thing to do is identify the waste in your space. Paper is a big thing. Every week, the checks we cut for our producers generate a lot of “stub” paper that we keep in the office. We try to use it as scrap paper for jotting down call notes, but we don’t keep up with the supply. Currently, we have been thinking about donating our excess to a school as to not waste it.
- Our ticket stock, check envelopes, and checks all come in boxes that would be great for home organization.
- Lights are another thing – we had the fluorescent ceiling lights in one of our buildings upgraded a few months ago from the “old, bulky, inefficient” tubes to the newer, more compact and efficient tubes. The City of Seattle offers some sort of rebate for upgrades like that right now, and I expect (or I hope to see!) more incentive programs run by municipal agencies to promote energy efficiency in the future – I know there are currently several across the country.
- Another thing to look at is water usage. Think about replacing faucets and toilets with low-flow options. There are some really groovy water pump systems that will divert your barely-used sink water into the toilet tank instead of refilling the toilet with potable water each time. Other uses include watering the flowerbeds and such.
- I wish we could replace paper towels with real towels, but that may be too much of a stretch/health hazard unless someone really commits to doing the laundry. Some of the decisions that we make on an “institutional” level do have to take public health into consideration.
- Pens and post-it notes are another peeve of mine, but I haven’t figured out a reasonable alternative just yet. Any ideas? I’d love to hear them!
- Currently, I am taking “donations” of used athletic shoes and blue jeans for Nike Re-use-A-Shoe and www.cottonfrombluetogreen.org and I’m working on setting–up a battery and light bulb return station.
- We’re in Seattle, so much of our electricity comes from renewable sources. It would still be fun to have solar or wind power generators on the roof and see if we get any additional savings from harnessing our own renewable energy.
- Another tricky area is controlling building temperature. Make sure the office thermostats are set to reasonable levels, so the AC isn’t running in winter or the heat isn’t stifling everyone. This can be difficult because everyone has a different preferred temperature and not everyone is willing to bring a sweater if it’s going to be a little colder than they like.
- The biggest challenge for some of these improvements is persuading rather than forcing co-workers to embrace a different way of doing things. I like Colin Beavin’s “no impact guide” – it nicely lays out some reasonable “phases” for waste reduction and gives you the opportunity to amp up if you want to go nuts in your home. His website is http://noimpactman.typepad.com/. I really like his point about becoming aware of what items you are throwing away and then thinking about whether they were even necessary in the first place. There is so much disposable stuff in our lives that isn’t really making our lives better in any way, rather just filling up landfills. Crazy idea.
Thank you, Erika, for all of your great ideas and tips!
What are you doing to green your space? Leave a comment, I’d love to hear!