Help Make Lima Even GreenerPosted by Kevin on September 03 at 08:13 pm
Ali & I have always tried to make environmentally friendly decisions at home and at work. I asked our landlord if he’d consider installing solar panels on the roof of our building and he just laughed at me. Oh well – there’s plenty we can do on our own.
A few years ago, we replaced all the light bulbs in our office with new energy efficient compact fluorescent (CFL) bulbs. We went from 27 regular bulbs at 75 watts to 27 energy efficient bulbs at 9 watts. That’s asavings of 1782 watts! To put that in perspective, most toaster ovens draw about 900 watts, so the energy we’re saving could power 2 toaster ovens all day long – that’s a lot of toast. One note, be sure to recycle these bulbs properly, they contain mercury! Some stores, like Ikea, now offer drop-off stations.
We recycle everything. Boxes, paper, containers, plastics, everything! Recycling is a big deal in our city. “Recycle Ann Arbor,” started in 1978 as Michigan’s first curbside recycling service. We’re a really small business, but the amount of waste we generate is amazing. If we didn’t recycle, I can’t believe how much we’d be contributing to landfills. Because of all the recycling, we’re usually able to limit our trash to one (very full) bag per week.
More than half of our team either walks, bikes, or rides the bus to work. We encourage this by providing a bus pass for anyone that wants it and we’ve got bike racks right outside the front door. We have programmable thermostats to make sure that the heat and A/C don’t run when we’re not here. We shut down our computers every night. We use environmentally safe cleaning products.
Update: Steve’s bike was stolen from in front of his apartment! He is driving for now, until he can buy a new one
Even after all of this – I still feel like there is more we can do. I want to tell you about a couple of ideas we’ve had recently. Please add comments if you have any input!
We’ve recently switched to a more flexible Styrofoam peanut because they’re more durable. Our thinking was that since most of our customers ship things, they could reuse these peanuts. The old, cheap white ones crumbled after their first use, making them more likely to be discarded. Do you know of any packing peanut substitutes that are more environmentally friendly? It’s a tough issue because the beads we ship are fragile and we want to make sure they get to you in 1 piece. However, even though these new peanuts can be reused, we know they eventually end up in a landfill and that’s not ideal.
For every order we ship, there’s an average of 3 sheets of paper inside the box. This is not only a waste of paper, but also the energy required to print the sheets (laser printers are very power hungry). We’ve been considering not sending these sheets with the orders. The packing slips for each order are available under the “My Account” section of our web site. Ideally, they would never get printed because they can be viewed on the screen, but if you wanted to, you could of course print them on your printer. Not printing them would save a lot of paper, a lot of energy, and a lot of waste. What’s your opinion? Would you miss the printed sheets?
Thanks for reading! Together, I hope we can make beading the most environmentally friendly hobby. We should get a little competition going with the knitters and scrapbookers. We shouldn’t have a problem with the scrapbookers – they use a ton of paper!