Today is Earth Day — an important global holiday celebrating sustainability efforts and drawing awareness to environmentally-friendly practices around the globe. With that in mind, we thought we’d shine a light on some of the simple initiatives we’ve implemented around our offices to show that sustainability practices don’t have to be complicated.
Prior to joining the team here at MentorMate, I spent a decade in the cycling and outdoor industry — a world where words like “sustainability” and “green” are as commonplace as “hello” and “good-bye.” Now, I’ll be honest, having never worked outside of that environment, I didn’t really know what to expect when I decided to switch over to the technology sector. In my first couple of days on the job, however, I was quickly relieved. I saw bikes (aside from my own) on the employee bike rack, organics recycling in the kitchen, reusable plates and utensils in heavy rotation, and a subsidized public transit program. Needless to say, I felt right at home.
A few months went by and I began seeing emails about an upcoming electronics recycling drive. The initiatives that I was seeing and hearing about were all great and I was super happy to see that they were happening in our office.
The MentorMate Go Green Initiative
Our colleagues across the pond in Bulgaria have implemented similar sustainability practices. First launched in the middle of last year, their Go Green initiative began as a six-month awareness campaign of e-mails, posters, and rewards for those who took the pledge to live a greener lifestyle. The mission is simple: foster an eco-friendly attitude amongst all five MentorMate offices in Bulgaria. After identifying a number of key initiatives, the team leading the campaign began rolling them out to the offices.
The first initiative was to reduce plastic cup use around the offices by replacing them with reusable water glasses. This seemingly simple measure resulted in a reduction of seventy plastic cups per person per year. That equates to a 70% annual reduction or just over 11.5k cups company-wide!
Along with reducing plastic vessels, the team also removed paper cups from the coffee machines around the office. This reduced paper cup usage by 77% for the year. The team didn’t just replace drinkware around the offices though. A switch to reusable, metal utensils from throwaway, plastic ones accounted for a massive decrease in plastic waste.
Combined, these three extremely simple measures accounted for a reduction of 273,316 plastic and paper products — and that’s for a company with just shy of 500 employees. If we consider a company that’s 2x, 3x, etc. the size of MentorMate the results grow exponentially.
In addition to these replacement initiatives, the crew in Bulgaria has also actively promoted office paper and electricity saving practices as well as placed recycling bins throughout the offices. These simple steps are all now a part of daily life in all five offices.
Phase two of the Go Green campaign began in January of this year. The focus: take the initiatives from phase one and incorporate them into employee’s daily lives outside of the office. To start with, a three-week long clothing donation drive gathered seventy bags of adult and children’s clothing to donate to local shelters and non-profits. Additionally, discussions around store-bought vs. home-made cosmetics are hoping to combat the throw-away trends in the beauty industry.
You Too Can Go Green!
For those keeping track, this blog mentioned three extremely simple measures that a company can implement to promote a more eco-friendly culture. Coincidentally, they also align quite nicely with the old adage “Reduce, Reuse, Recycle.” How convenient!
- Reduce — Promote alternate methods of transportation. Employee bike parking, subsidized public transit passes, even setting up some sort of reward initiative for employees who carpool all go a long way towards minimizing the amount of single-occupant vehicles are used just to get to work.
- Reuse — As you can see from the above examples, reusable cups, plates, and utensils have the potential to put a substantial dent in the amount waste a company produces. Obviously, there is an upfront investment to purchase the correct amount of reusable items. However, that one-time cost not only increases sustainability, it also eliminates monthly costs of paper and plastic kitchen items.
- Recycle — Equipping your office with recycling bins and organics recycling bins is a huge — yet still simple — step to minimize the amount of trash that makes its way to the landfill from your company.