Sharing eco ideas is a great way to inspire others so we want to tell you a bit about a project we did this past year that is continuing to help us make earth-friendly changes in our offices today.
At the beginning of 2018, we decided to make our yearly theme, “Leave the Earth a Better Place”, based on a quote by Sidney Sheldon. The inspiration for which came from the UN’s Sustainable Development position paper called “17 Goals To Transform Our World” which included some amazing goals like:
Goal 12: Ensure sustainable consumption and production patterns
Goal 13: Take urgent action to combat climate change and its impacts.
We thought, what actions could our team take to have the most impact on the world around us?
To get the ideas flowing, we challenged our team to come up with 100 ideas for us to review so that we could implement as many as we could. It was a big undertaking, but the team rose to the challenge and the results were amazing. Almost every team member contributed ideas and the list continued to grow even passed 100 ideas and into 2019!
The list was posted in Basecamp and our COO, Bryce Saunder sent out occasional reminders as well as progress updates to keep everyone motivated and inspired.
Here are a few highlights from the changes we made based on the list of 100 ideas from our team:
1) We installed a reflective film on the front office windows to reduce our cooling load by about 30%.
2) We reduced paper towel usage by 50% by posting a special technique to dry your hands using only one paper towel in the washrooms.
Here’s how it works:
Step 1: Wash your hands.
Step 2: Shake your hands 12 times.
Step 3: Pull one towel from the dispenser.
Step 4: Fold the towel in half.
Step 5: Dry your hands.
3) We made changes to email and file storage practices that would reduce email sizes to use less energy.
4) We installed a new faucet in our kitchen that would use much less water and not leak.
5) We reduced water consumption by 50% by finding ways to reuse water and by making some changes to equipment.
6) We started collecting white off-cuts from die-cutting and guillotines to be repulped and turned into new seed paper.
7) We added blue bins to the bathrooms so we could recycle toilet paper roles and wrappers.
8) We found a use for old cotton interfacings that we used to throw away. Now they'll be used to line kennels at the Humane Society!
9) We printed out rules for what can and can't be recycled and posted them next to our main bins to reduce recycling contamination.
NOTE: Since recycling rules can be different based on your location, it’s important to get this information from local resources. For example, we were shocked to find out the black take-out containers that are typically recyclable in other areas, are not allowed in blue bins in Winnipeg yet.
10) We became the first company in Manitoba to become Climate Smart certified! This means we have the tools to be able to measure, track, and reduce our greenhouse gas emissions.
These are just a few of the changes we’ve implemented but there are even more in progress. The list of 100, not only generated actionable ideas, but it also made everyone in the company more aware of all the smaller changes you can make to have a big impact. In the words of Vincent Van Gogh, "Great things are not done by impulse but by a series of small things brought together.”