Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Making envrionmental choices at work

Have you ever noticed that you never see something until you have it yourself? For example, I never noticed how many blue Honda Civics were on the road until we bought ours.  Or how many women are pregnant at the same time until I was pregnant myself?

Lately, I've been noticing this phenomenon at work.  I hadn't realized the environmental impacts of my work place, really.  I mean, I noticed, but I didn't give it much thought.  Until recently. 

I've become the office supplies orderer for one of my library branches.  All of a sudden, I can make a choice about what type of paper, pens, and tape we buy.  I can decide how many transit slips we need, how much toner, how many envelopes.   It's been a real eye-opener.

I must state right away, that the library does environmental pretty well.  As a part of the larger City, we must comply with the city's take on environmental stewardship.  Here are some examples of how this happens:

1) printers are set to print double-sided AUTOMATICALLY.  You actually have to change the settings if you want to print single side
2) all internal communications are sent through re-usable envelopes.  You can get a lot of use out of these until they a) wear out or b) run out of room
3) all toner is taken back by our supplier for recycling and refurbishing/refilling
4) in the larger branches, green bins are kept in the staff room for compostables
5) our newest building was constructed according to LEED standards

It's the smaller stuff that I can affect.  I've purchased recycled printer paper.  I've made sure that our transit slips (which send items between branches) are reused at least 3-4 times.  I've tried to make sure that our used book sale racks are kept full with donations, instead of being sent to the recycle bin.

It's been great to be able to be green at work.  I'm looking forward to trying to further improve our processes/procedures.