What We're Doing
Walking the Green Walk
We’re blogging about becoming carbon free, we’re talking to our printers about FSC certifications, but we’re also trying to walk the walk as we green our corporate environment. We’re only an 11-person firm, but we can make a difference.
Here are a few of the small steps we’ve taken, actions any business could easily adopt, to lessen our impact on the environment.
Falls Church, our home, has a robust residential recycling program and dedicated staff to further a host of green programs. One service the city does not offer is to-the-door recycling for businesses. So, we’ve attacked recycling by various ad hoc routes:
• Our waste paper is collected and driven on a weekly basis to the city’s recycling center.
• Plastic, glass, and aluminum containers are collected and brought home by several employees to be deposited in their own residential recycling bins.
• Food waste (banana peels, coffee grounds, and the like) are collected, temporarily stored under refrigeration, and then contributed to one of our staff’s home compost piles.
Reducing Paper Use
Sometimes very small changes end up having a very large impact. To reduce our use of paper, we’ve:
• Switched from daily, paper timesheets to all electronic ones, saving about 7 long-reams of paper a year.
• As jobs progress through the firm, they used to accumulate paper documentation in ever-thickening folders. Today we rely more on electronic records, saving roughly another 5 reams a year.
• Combined, those simple changes will eliminate the need for more than a full box of 20 lb. copier/printer paper.
There’s a small counter in our kitchen area that’s become something of a miniature swap mart. Anyone can bring in and leave for others items they no longer need and that would otherwise end up in the trash. As the saying goes, “One man’s garbage…” It’s surprising how quickly these go and it’s gratifying that they end up having a second life.
Carpooling’s advantages have been touted for years and an increased environmental awareness and rising gas prices have now brought it more in fashion than ever before. Two of our employees carpool, avoiding, literally, the emission of tons of carbon dioxide every year and making for some interesting commuting conversations. In addition, two of our employees drive hybrids.
The best drive to work is none at all and two of our employees are lucky enough to enjoy such short commutes. One works at home 21 miles away several days a week, while the other works full-time in Vermont, 576 miles from our office in Falls Church, Virginia.
Most of the overhead lighting fixtures in our offices are 4-bulb fluorescents, designed years ago when more light was always better. But thanks to more modern reticulated lens covers, acting like thousands of little prisms, we get more than sufficient light using only two bulbs per unit.