Wednesday, January 18, 2012

SUCCESS!!!!! Hopefully first of many!

Yesterday, I presented to the Athletic Club's Assistant G.M. my proposal for a waste reduction program that focused on implementing proper use and disposal of recycling bins.  It has been approved!!!  (Well, a lot of it at least.)

We are going to start using blue recycling bins in all of the office spaces and I will be changing the default print settings on all computers so that everything will print double sided!  More suggestions were received very well and are in the works, they just take more time to implement!

I am so excited to be doing what I am here!  I know I can bring green and environmental conscientiousness anywhere, whether they know they want it or not! :)


If you're interested, here is a copy of my proposal:



Proposed Waste Reduction Program for the
Colorado Athletic Club, ** **
January 17, 2012

Since 1960, the amount of municipal solid waste (MSW) created in the US has increased by 284 percent.  MSW includes paper products, food, yard trimmings, plastics, metals, and other materials.  Any waste thrown directly into the garbage is taken to a landfill, where it will stay.  Currently, Denver is working on its second land fill.  The first, Lowry Landfill, became full after just 26 years of operation.  The second, the Denver Arapahoe Disposal Site (DADS), began operation in 1990 and is about three times the size of the original Lowry Landfill.  DADS is one of the country’s largest landfills and takes in 12,000 tons of waste per day and around 3.7 million tons per year. Space isn’t the only issue surrounding landfills.  One must also worry about contaminants that leach into the ground and up into the air.  The amount of energy that goes into the production of items that are filling the landfills is also something that could be reduced by the implementation of waste reduction protocols.  A decrease in waste could lead to a decrease in energy exertion, another positive for the environment.  
There are three well known tactics for minimizing waste and the negative impacts that result from garbage and landfills: reduce, reuse, and recycle. Increase in waste production eventually led to an increase in overall recycling, going from 5% of total waste recycled in 1960 to 34% of total MSW recycled today, but this change is not nearly enough.  I propose that the Colorado Athletic Club- ** ** help to increase the percentage of MSW that is saved from landfill by taking part in waste reduction practices that have become second nature to many places and people.  

Why take part?  It has, or is on its way to becoming, the inherent responsibility of the everyday person to be conscientious about their actions and do their part to ensure the stability of the environment.  Because of this, companies as prominent as Wellbridge and Colorado Athletic Club need to adopt a position that will allow them to be role models for the clientele that utilize their services.  The CAC already goes above and beyond in other aspects of its operations, and it should take the same stance when it comes to corporate social responsibility, in this case, environmental responsibility.  
Adopting green practices to reduce waste will help both the environment and the company behind the initiatives.  Sustainable actions create an added connection with consumers served by the company.  Those that follow similar ways in their day to day lives will appreciate the steps CAC takes towards protecting the environment; it is believed that implementing effective green strategy will increase brand loyalty.  According to the Coalition for Environmentally Responsible Economies (CERES) Report, sustainable green initiatives have vast consumer appeal.  Making green changes to CAC operations would not only benefit the environment, but would also provide marketing benefits to the company and educational benefits to those exposed to the concepts.

What can the Colorado Athletic Club, ** ** do?

REDUCE
  • Set default print settings to print double sided.
  • Use digital procedures like e-mail, Google docs, Microsoft Office, etc. whenever possible
  • Sell CAC reusable water bottles to be used versus plastic cups for water.
  • Offer a small discount (Starbucks gives a ten cent discount) for the use of a reusable mug or container when getting beverages from the cafĂ©

REUSE
  • Reuse scratch paper whenever possible.
  • Purchase recycled and environmentally friendly materials and supplies.  * See the Green Purchasing Guide digitally attached.

RECYCLE
  • RECYCLE!  Blue bins should be used for recyclable materials only and emptied into the appropriate place so that their contents can be properly recycled.  The ** ** already offers single stream recycling through Alpine Waste (www.alpinewaste.com).  All materials; paper, plastic, metals, etc.; can be recycled in one bin!


    The best part about making a commitment to be environmentally friendly is that any and all actions help, no matter the size.  There are many techniques that when combined can make a noticeable impact on the state of the environment, but not all have to be implemented.  Sustainability and environmental consciousness is by no means an “all or nothing” activity.  Changes can be made in steps and end with a goal of any size; even the smallest environmentally conscious habits make a difference.  
    The first step made by the CAC, should be the implementation of recycling.  We already have a few of the necessary bins, but are using them as regular trash bins.  The addition of more designated recycling bins and education about what can be recycled will have a significant impact on the amount of MSW produced at CAC. I will provide the necessary information to all employees so that they will have the proper knowledge if asked what can be recycled.  I have print materials that can be adapted to CAC standards to be posted above bins in office and cafe areas.  I also will make it my responsibility to empty the recycling bins into the designated compactor located in the garage.  This way housekeeping, nor any other employees, will gain additional duties.
What do we need?
  • A total of 12 small recycling bins designated for recycling only.  One to be placed at each of the office desk areas.
  • Two larger bins meant to accommodate larger items like bottles and cups, which will be placed in the cafe and the functional floor.
  • Education for employees on what can be placed into the bins.  
  • Signage for the higher traffic areas that will promote an increased amount of bin usage, such as cafe.


Costs
Recycling bins can be purchased from various retailers.  I propose a mixture of seven and ten gallon bins for the office areas (allocated based on generation of recyclables) and two larger bins for areas with a high volume of bottles.
  • Seven gallon bins are sold at Staples for $6.99 each ($5.20 at recycleaway.com)
  • Ten gallon bins are $9.99 each at Staples.  
  • Larger, covered bins that should be used in/near the cafe and functional floor vary in price and are more expensive, starting around $40 per bin and going upwards from there.