By Jana J. Madsen
Get ready. Go green.
More than just a savvy marketing campaign, greening your facilities can have recognizable benefits – to employees, the bottom line, and mostly, the environment. It’s not just the right thing to do; it’s the responsible thing to do. A word of warning first: You’ll have to take your actions a step beyond office paper recycling to earn any earth-friendly facility awards. If your knees are shaking, your hand is scratching your head, or you’re nodding, the following five-part checklist just became your 2002 “to do” list.
1. Reduce. Reuse. Recycle.
You know the saying “one man’s trash is another man’s treasure?” It’s true. An effective waste management plan can reduce the amount of waste disposed of in landfills, while proving to be a useful ingredient in post-consumer products. At your favorite lunch-hour eatery, the office, or even the theatre, recycling opportunities are here, there, and everywhere. Following are a few steps included in the U.S. Green Building Council’s LEED™ Rating System 2.0 to get you started:
• Identify the types of waste generated at/by your facility and find local buyers, recycling services, and/or waste handlers.
• Locate drop bins throughout a facility. The easier it is for tenants, the more likely they are to recycle (i.e. office paper recycling bins near concentrations of workstations and copier/fax rooms; glass bottle and aluminum can recycling bins in cafeteria areas).
• Inform building occupants about recycling procedures, what is and isn’t recyclable, where the bins are located, and why the company is participating in environmental initiatives.
• Provide a central location where recycled materials can be stored and sorted prior to collection.
• Cardboard balers, aluminum can crushers, recycling chutes, and other recycling and waste management technologies can simplify and reduce storage of recycled goods. Investigate whether these are cost-effective options at your facility.
• During demolition and modernization projects, divert construction and debris (C&D) waste from landfills by recycling materials like concrete, asphalt, gypsum, and wood. According to the Construction Materials Recycling Association (www.cdrecycling.org), construction and demolition debris make up approximately 25 to 45 percent of the waste stream in North America.
• When possible, use salvage or refurbished materials, such as flooring, brick, and furniture.
Does going green have you seeing green? Simple waste reduction and recycling initiatives don’t have to cost big bucks. In fact, in many instances they can often lead to undiscovered savings. With tipping fees increasing at local landfills nationwide, increasing C&D recycling can save otherwise “wasted” dollars.
Continue Article >> Step 2) Implement a Green Procurement Policy