15 Simple Ideas for Any Organization
The biggest roadblock to implementing sustainability programs and “green” initiatives is often the mindset that only large corporations have the money, staff and time to participate. Nothing is further from the truth, and the upcoming Earth Day celebration on April 22 might be just the perfect time to jettison those “it’s too hard” perceptions and kick off some of these endeavors – without regard to the size of your organization.
Here are 15 easy, straightforward things we can do in our places of business to build a sustainable future for generations to come. Many of them also will save money over time:
- Try to use up and wear out supplies and equipment before replacing them.
- Take advantage of Single Stream Recycling in Brevard County, which eliminates the need to sort recyclables.
- Donate all still-useable items to charities and schools instead of throwing them in the trash.
- When renovating, separate recyclables whenever possible and dispose of construction debris properly (not in the landfill).
- Replace items with post-consumer recycled/recyclable products whenever possible.
- Replace appliances with energy efficient models (Energy Star).
- Replace fixtures with water/power saving models and conservation features.
- Combine the use of appliances (e.g. have one efficient, full-size refrigerator in your building instead of several small ones).
- Contact your municipality to investigate irrigating your site with reclaimed water (this option may not be available in all locations). Reclaimed water, sometimes called recycled water, is former wastewater (sewage) that has been treated to remove solids and certain impurities, and then used in sustainable landscaping irrigation or to recharge groundwater aquifers.’
- When not in use, switch off lights and equipment (or at least power down) as much as possible. Install switches that automatically turn off the lights when no one is in the office/room.
- Use posters, newsletters, contests and giveaways to increase employee awareness and get them involved.
- Involve employees in creating small, native plant, xeriscape gardens on your campus grounds.
- Have giveaways of native tree seedlings and cradle-to-cradle (recycled and recyclable) cups during Earth Week.
- Sponsor employee teams to study and propose ideas and plans for sustainability efforts. Some examples may be: an Energy Management and/or Power and Water Conservation team; a Green team, dedicated to recycling; a Reuse/Reduce/Recycle team to spearhead donations for reuse by Brevard County organizations; a Redeployment team, to collect and donate supplies that are no longer in use. If possible, provide the teams with names, logos, and special containers to support their volunteer efforts.
- Here are some websites of local organizations that can help you get started:
- Brevard County – Solid Waste Management/Recycling (www.brevardcounty.us/swr/recycling.cfm)
- Waste Management – recycling, etc. (www.wastemanagement.com)
- Brevard Agricultural Extension Office – native plants and xeriscape (http://brevard.ifas.ufl.edu)
If you’d like to learn more about how to set up and manage a program like the long-running HERO (Harris Employees Reaching Out) initiative at Harris Corporation, contact Gail Sullivan at firstname.lastname@example.org. HERO brings together employees and retirees to distribute gently used supplies, furniture and equipment to local schools, and in some cases, to nonprofit organizations. In addition, the HERO KIDS program enables employees to contribute supplies to more than 100 local area schools. More information about HERO is online at: http://www.harris.com/community/about-us.asp