Many organizations are investing heavily in efforts to increase efficiency and reduce the environmental impact of their operations, but are they taking the right steps to ensure that these efforts are institutionalized? This question is at the center of efforts by Salt Lake City businesses, non-profits, and governmental agencies, to make changes to systems and processes which will help them improve workplace sustainability.
Over the last few years, Momentum Recycling has helped dozens of Salt Lake City organizations develop waste reduction, recycling and other workplace sustainability goals, as well as tactical plans to meet those goals. Institutionalizing these goals is a major key to success, and our experience has shown that employees must be engaged in every step of the process in order to get buy-in from the workforce. With that in mind, here is Momentum’s list of the top ten things an organization should do in order to improve workplace sustainability:
1. Establish a recycling program for consumable goods.
2. Use environmentally friendly purchasing practices (close the loop, buy goods with post-consumer recycled content).
3. Recycle, donate, or refurbish electronics or other durable goods.
4. Eliminate disposables. Instead, use reusable flatware and dishware, or other durable goods.
5. Recycle or reuse packaging materials.
6. Avoid petroleum based products (plastics).
7. Reduce paper waste (circulate one copy of magazines and newspapers, use double-sided print settings).
8. Buy locally produced goods from local merchants.
9. Reduce energy use (buy Energy Star appliances, create an engine idling policy, carpool, turn off equipment at night).
10. Form a Green Team (set sustainability goals, make sustainability practices part of the employee manual).
For those who are interested in delving deeper into workplace sustainability, you might be interested in attending the Utah Society for Environmental Education’s (USEE) Sustainable Systems at Work discussion series. This five-session discussion guide for the workplace is designed to further organizational sustainability initiatives. This new program inspires innovation and creates alignment between employee actions and organizational objectives. USEE will be hosting a group starting in January, with the initial meeting date still to be determined. If you are interested in attending, please email Andree' Walker Bravo at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 801-328-1549.