CHaRM – The Center for Hard to Recycle Materials: Hazardous materials in landfills – Pretty much anything you wouldn’t want a child to put in their mouth is hazardous. Tests have consistently shown that ground water is being polluted at an alarming rate due to toxins leaking into the water supply. Until recently most people and cities have just buried their hazardous materials. Find Out More >
Methane gas gets generated from organic materials in landfills. It isn’t that common to see composting in a work environment but the number of people in a single location make commercial grade composting ideal. Food scrap can be composted as well as many other items including coffee grounds, coffee filters, shredded paper, paper towels, biodegradable dishware, and waxed cardboard. Find Out More >
Homes, shopping malls, warehouses and offices account for 38 percent of the energy use in the United States making buildings the largest producer of CO2 (National Geographic – March 2009). The amount of energy is so large it is hard to wrap your head around it. In 2003 (the last survey completed), the US Energy Information Administration reported 6,523 trillion BTUs of energy consumption. The survey included 71,000,000,000 square feet of space. Our office is only 10,000 square feet and given what we pay for electricity and gas the total paid over one year for all of the commercial space would be in the range of tens of billions of dollars. Find Out More >
EcoPass – Discounted Public Transportation: Pollution, congestion and road repair costs from driving cars (just to name a few) are some of the major issues. Find Out More >
Reducing Energy Consumption: More and more public attention is now being focused on renewable energy. This focus is one of the most important, yet difficult steps in the sustainable equation. However, with technology upgrades, building efficiencies and other energy conservation tactics save in massive amounts of greenhouse gases can be prevented right now.
Giving Away Office Furniture
Office furniture has a short life and the manufacturing requires shipping (often overseas), vast amounts of virgin materials and the use of hazardous chemicals. There is a high level of Volatile Organic Compounds (VOC) and formaldehyde used to create office furniture which has been shown to be toxic to humans. Find Out More >
Lighting accounts for roughly 20 percent of all electricity used in the United States and accounts for up to 40 percent of electricity used in commercial real estate. Instead of conference rooms being located on exterior walls they can be located near the interior giving the most number of people the most amount of natural light. Interior offices can be fitted with large pieces of glass that don’t cost much to let light shine from the outside windows deep into interior spaces. Find Out More >
Offsite Events: Minimize the waste generated during an offsite company event. The easiest way to reduce your impact is to reduce what you consume. Next time you have a company party count the amount of trash bags you have generated in just a couple of hours. If that same party is run in a sustainable fashion you won’t even have to take out the trash when it’s over. Find Out More >
Plastic Bag Recycling
Plastic bags can’t be recycled with other single stream recyclable materials. When it comes to plastic bags even world-class recycling facilities such as the Center for Hard to Recycle Materials (CHaRM) located in Boulder, Colorado is forced to throw away plastic bags that are co-mingled in with other recyclable materials.
Regular businesses are filled with chemicals, heavy metals, solvents, hazardous materials and other pollutants. Your favorite dentist, auto repair shop, restaurants and retail stores have their own unique set of issues concerning a variety of pollutants. Even if a local business wants to engage in sustainable practices they have to first determine which practices are damaging to the environment and then what changes are required.
Remote controls, toys, flashlights, smoke detectors-these are just some of the products that require batteries in our daily lives. Over three billion dry cell batteries are sold each year in the United States. Batteries disposed in municipal landfills and trash incinerators can disperse significant amounts of heavy metals and other toxic substances into the air and water so battery waste prevention and recycling strategies are essential. Find Out More >
Reduce Consumption: Though reducing consumption is one the most important ways of positively impacting the environment, it tends to be the least popular of the three “R’s” (Reduce, Reuse, Recycle).
Styrofoam is problematic for two reasons: it can’t be recycled along with other materials such as paper and plastic and even if you don’t buy any Styrofoam, it is likely it will end up in your possession because most electronics and other expensive goods are shipped using Styrofoam packaging.
Trash Diversion: Americans generate approximately 251.3 million tons of garbage per year. A company can easily divert a majority of its office trash via recycling and composting for a significant positive effect on the environment. The amount of energy and pollution required to extract virgin raw materials is far greater than the energy required to recycle. Additionally, composting prevents methane gas from forming which is at least 70 times more harmful than carbon dioxide.