It’s that time of the year again, holidays. The last of the leaves are falling, the garden needs cleaning up, the neighbors are setting up holiday decorations, and friends and families are sending out holiday invitations. Maybe you’ll be hosting a holiday party or joining one. As many go into this season let’s have a less wasteful holiday.
Recycling Yard Waste and Organics
All of the metropolitan counties offer recycling for yard waste and organics. It’s a way to keep more waste out of the landfill. Recycling yard waste and organics are great compost soil for the coming years. The compost is free and can be used for home gardening. Consider recycling more to reduce the waste in your household by hauling your organics to your local county yard waste and organics site. Here a few things to consider for recycling:
See the table below if your county is listed and see what recycling services they offer. Make sure to visit your local county website to view their services and assistance for residential and commercial.
County Business Assistance
Gifts and Presents:
Here are a few tips you can do this season to reduce, reuse, and save money!
Less Wasteful Meals
Here are a few tips to ensure you have a less wasteful holiday feast:
The Christmas Tree
It’s that time of the year where many start planning Christmas Tree décor. Below are some ideas when you’re planning on setting up your tree! Whatever setup you end up with, there’s room to opt for a less wasteful holiday.
Real Christmas Tree – consider hanging compostable ornaments and don’t forget to dispose of your real tree properly. Click below for your county website yard/organics recycling program.
Artificial Christmas Tree – the great thing about artificial trees is that they last for many years! So that saves you from tossing it out. You can craft your own or buy ornaments that are compostable.
Artificial Wall Christmas Tree – this is a great option if you are conscious of space. You can be creative and make your own wall Christmas tree or buy a half artificial Christmas tree.
Of course there are plenty more ways on how to have a less wasteful holiday season. From recycling yard and organic waste to planning food for gatherings the list goes on. You can make small steps and adjustments this holiday to make an impact on reducing waste. Happy holidays!
Taking green initiatives is not only being environmentally conscious but can also provide cost savings long term. Simple steps can become lifelong practices that help improve your office and environment. Below are some favorite tips and tricks to “green” your office space. Let us know your favorites and if you have more ideas to add.
Making Your Office Supplies Last Longer
Switch your plastic highlighters to pencil highlighters. Yes, they do exist! You no longer have to worry about them drying out. Once you come down to the end of the pencil highlighter you can compost them.
Paper and Filing Folders
No more space for filing folders in your file drawer? Here are a few things you can do to save space and paper:
Invest in a bleeding ink pen. They are way classier than your plastic pens. You can avoid hoarding cup loads of pens now.
Before purchasing a new piece of office furniture, think of ways to reduce the waste and cost of a new one. Is there anything online you can haul for free or at a reduced price? Office furniture is often listed online at sites like Craiglist, OfferUp, and Facebook Marketplace. You’ll be surprised how many things you can get from the community for free if you just search. Reach out to other businesses that are renovating and you might be able to snag a deal. Or, you can reupholster or refinish your old furniture with new paint and hardware.
What to do with all of the business cards? Download an app that will store all of your business cards on your smart phone or tablet. It’s a great way to save everything digitally. If you can’t let them go because of a sentimental attachment you have, get a business card organizer binder or just keep the ones you know you’ll need for later in a box, or display them in a decorative glass vase.
Bring in Green Plants
There are a variety of office and desk plants you can get that are low maintenance. Succulents, cacti, bamboos, and spider plants are good examples. Research has shown that plants stimulate your mind as well as contribute oxygen to your environment.
Green Kitchen Suggestions
Use real mugs, silverware, plates, and bowls. Cleaning up doesn’t take much longer than throwing out paper utensils and you can use the walk to the sink as a break from your desk.
Did you know garbage companies charge business’ trash based on weight? There are many things you can recycle before it goes into the trash. So the less you trash you have, the more money you save on your garbage bill. Imagine at the end of the year how much you can save. That money you budgeted for trash can go towards other projects at your workplace.
Make sure there are labeled and colored recycling bins throughout the office space: each cubicle should have their own bin, 2 bins by the printer, one in the kitchen or lounge, one in each meeting room, and one in the lobby/waiting area. If your workplace needs help purchasing materials and supplies for better recycling, apply for grants like BizRecycling offered in Ramsey and Washington Counties. Connect with your local county to see if they have grants to help with recycling.
Recycling isn’t limited to plastic bottles, glass, and paper. You can apply that to organics as well. Coffee beans, tea bags, leftover food, banana and orange peels can all go into organics recycling where they are either composted or delivered to hog farms.
Check out BizRecycling if your workplace is on route or wants to become a green office!
Post by Yao Yang, SPACC Public Affairs Specialist
Since its introduction in 1907, plastic has enabled great inventions and innovation, but also significant environmental consequences on Earth. On April 22, 1970 Earth Day was founded by Senator Gaylord Nelson of Wisconsin, and is now celebrated globally in over 193 countries. Besides the official date and celebration, there are many things that we all can do to make Every Day Earth Day.
Every little thing you do adds up. The average American in 2014 had a “carbon footprint” (i.e. they produced) 21.5 metric tons of CO2 according to University of Michigan. That’s three times over the global carbon footprint average of 4.9 metric tons CO2 in 2013 according to The World Bank. Find out your estimated carbon footprint here and imagine what you can do every day to reduce your carbon footprint.
Start asking questions about alternatives. What alternative life choices can you make that will help the environment and your bottom line? We could all put more effort to recycle, reduce, and eliminate trash. All of these efforts can help reduce your carbon footprint. What are things you can do every day to reduce your carbon footprint? Here are some suggestions to start:
These are some easy ways you can reduce your carbon footprint. Take the time to do your research and see what you can do. It’s important to remember that you can make an impact with the little things you do every day. The more you do, the more you can fuel change to your culture of sustainability.
If you want to implement these practices in your workplace, you can apply for BizRecycling grant (up to $10,000) that helps businesses in Ramsey and Washington Counties to implement recycling and organics programs. Let us know your feedback, questions, and comments.
Stay tuned for more environmental coverage in the coming weeks. I will be doing a “Zero Waste Week Challenge” and share all about my experience!