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|Steph Oeser

How We Created a More Sustainable Office Environment

Earlier this year, we briefly mentioned our investments in a more sustainable office environment. In this blog post, we’d like to go into more depth about those efforts! We’re hoping that sharing our experiences might inspire you to try some of your own “greener” changes.

LED lighting

RELYCO Uses LED LightsIn early 2020, we replaced our office’s mercury-containing fluorescent tube lighting with LED lights. This required a bit of rewiring, but it was worth the investment to increase our energy efficiency and reduce our environmental impact. Longer-lasting LEDs will reduce our landfill waste while also eliminating the hazards of mercury. We found this was an easy change to implement, and we would definitely recommend it!
 

Eliminating single-use plastic

RELYCO's Compost SetupIn 2018, our company headquarters implemented a composting program in our office kitchen. This helped us to move away from single-use plastics entirely. Now everything in our kitchen - utensils, bowls, plates, coffee pods, tea bags, wooden coffee stirrers and cups - can be composted with food and food scraps!

We contract with Mr. Fox Composting, a local industrial composting company. They provide us with a large bin, which lives in our kitchen, and a Mr. Fox rep comes to empty it once per week.

We have two enthusiastic employees (Steph and Kara) who championed this program from start to finish. They sourced new compostable products, secured the composting contract, facilitated the transition and continue to maintain it with help from other team members, particularly Mary Jo. They are supported by Bruce and RELYCO’s commitment to their vision, and willingness to financially support the effort.

Challenges overcome

As much as this was a positive change, we’re not going to lie, this was a bit of an adjustment for our team! The biggest growing pain was the switch from plastic K-cups. Free coffee is one of the perks of working here, and folks grew accustomed to their favorite flavors. The options were different when we moved to compostable pods, so we invited the entire office to participate in a few taste tests where they voted on their favorites. By soliciting feedback along the way, we increased buy-in and excitement, which worked well.

Recommendations & making it happen

RELYCO is Going GreenIf you’re considering changes like these in your own business, we recommend that you first find your program leaders. By encouraging your employees to share their personal interests / passions, you can learn what excites them. Identify how those interests align with your business’s mission and vision. Motivate your employees to bring their ideas to the table, and empower them to make it happen.

Additional tips for a successful green initiative:

  • Map out all the small details / factors in order to achieve your big picture goal
  • Try to anticipate stumbling blocks or resistance and come up with solutions prior to launch
  • Do your research and determine what works within your budget
  • If initial ideas don’t pan out, don’t give up - find a way to pivot
  • Solicit feedback and invite people to get involved
  • Make it fun! Excitement is contagious

What’s next

In writing out those tips, it’s clear how much those apply to any new initiative, really. Those match our experience with our overall B Corp journey, not just this one aspect.

We’re continuing with our sustainable office efforts, and will share our progress on that front periodically. Outside of that, we’re working on expanding our environmental efforts. As Bruce discussed at the beginning of this year, we are now at the stage where we’re evaluating our vendors, suppliers and partners. We want to know that their practices fit within our goals. We’ve also pledged to add sustainable alternative products to the REVLAR product line by 2030. Stay tuned as we move forward on these larger goals to see where this B Corp journey takes us!

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