Saturday, February 7, 2009

Greening our business

Came across an article last week (from Living Green Magazine) about making your office environment more "green"... read it through and was really delighted to see all the things that we are already doing at Nature's Gift.

Some of them are fairly major, and some are probably fairly minor, but they all add up. Maybe some of the ideas will jog you into action.

1. Recycling. We have had big "recycling" barrels for years. All plastics, all aluminum, and most paper get recycled. Especially broken down cardboard cartons, and it's amazing how many of those come in in a week.

2. Additional recycling: Christi is a bird owner - she takes used printouts home to line her bird cages. (has been doing that as long as she's been with us. Said she saw special paper for that in a shop recently...$9.00 a small package!)

3. Temperature control. We keep our workroom and office past cool - it'd downright cold there this winter. And on Friday afternoon we turn all thermostats down lower, to conserve electricity.

4. Lighting. The workroom is kept fairly dim. Rather than brightly lighting the whole area, every work station has a small "task light"...only in use when someone is working there. In the office we never use the overhead lights. A lot of light comes in through the picture window and windowed doors; on dark, gloomy days I'll turn on a spotlight lamp on my desk. Oh, and both at the office and at home we use the compact fluorescent lightbulbs.

5. Packing materials - the packing peanuts we use are cellulose based, totally biodegradable. Whenever possible we reuse packing materials. (Which is why your order may have plastic peanuts. Someone shipped them to us, and we'd rather recycle them than have them go in a land fill!)

The colored tissue with which we "top off" your order is made from recycled materials. In fact, whenever the option is available (printer paper, for example) we purchase "stuff" made from recycled material.

6. We include a reminder to please recycle our packaging with every order.

7. We post suggestions for recycling our packaging, etc. either on the blog or in our newsletter.

8. We do NOT mail out paper catalogues or other promotional materials. No trees die to produce our newsletter.

9. When we remodeled and moved into our new building a year and a half ago we put in new breakroom and work kitchens. All sinks have aerators, as suggested, and we have a "low flush" toilet. (We do draw the line at "flushing whenever necessary." After every use IS necessary!)

We shut all the computers off when we leave for the day; in total honesty I hadn't thought about shutting off all of their surge protectors. That's one we will start doing this coming week.

On the whole, I am proud of us. The only thing we don't do is carpool, but everyone lives in different directions and works different hours, so that is not practicable. (I love to telecommute, would work from home almost all the time, but I'm told my physical presence in necessary. so much for that!)


David said...

If people want to get serious (and cleaner) about the environment then they should get a Bathroom Bidet Sprayer from and you won't even need toilet paper anymore, just a towel to dry off! It's cheap and can be installed without a plumber; and runs off the same water line to your toilet. . You'll probably pay for it in a few months of toilet paper savings. And after using one of these you won't know how you lasted all those years with wadded up handfuls of toilet paper, nasty. Now we're talking green and helping the environment without any pain.

Marge said...

David, remember I said how COLD we keep this building? I think cold water would be less than appealing.

wendolen said...

I just wanted to comment and let you know -- every time I receive an order, I give thanks again for those cellulose packing peanuts! We get yard waste/food waste pickup here in Seattle, and those just go straight in. (Our trash container is very small, so we're still rationing out styrofoam peanuts that came with Christmas packages into whatever space is left after the weekly garbage.)

I wish everybody would use the cellulose peanuts!