Earth Day, celebrated on April 22, always provides a good opportunity to look back and think deeper about how our work is impacting the environment. On Earth Day 2015, we launched Sustainable Studio, an internal effort to make our daily office operations more sustainable. The studio’s first goal was to minimize the amount of waste that we sent to the landfill, and hopefully inspire colleagues to think about how to do the same at home.
We began by providing a reusable mug to all staff, to reduce our use of disposable cups. As a consequence, our consumption of paper cups has dropped by 95% in the past six months, and the reusable mugs will have paid themselves in a year and a half. We were invigorated by seeing many of our regular consultants support the effort by bringing their own mugs, and participate in friendly in-house “sustainable consultant” competition.
Our next step was to implement composting campaign. In fact, we became the first non-restaurant tenant in our building to offer composting as an option for waste disposal. Additionally, as of last week our office uses plates made out of sugar cane fiber (a by-product of cane sugar extraction), as well as compostable flatware. With these changes, we expect that most of our waste from now on will be either recyclable or compostable, with very few items being sent to the landfill.
We know that as a result of this effort, many colleagues have begun their own composting campaigns at home, with one of them in particular using our office’s coffee grounds to sustain populations of meal worms, composting worms and black soldier flies to decompose her home waste, nurture a vegetable garden and feed her chicken coop.
What are our Sustainable Studio’s plans for next year? We will work to minimize our waste overall, by improving our printing practice, as well as reducing the number of unwanted free print publications received in the office.