By Sarah Bourassa, JVA Intern
We’ve all heard about it: global warming, high food and gas prices, limited resources. But have we all really done our part to help the environment? This summer, JVA is taking its own steps to go green.
We’ve heard stories about going green gone wrong. Flimsy recycled paper being ripped to shreds by the printer, leading to screaming staff members, and empty ink cartridges after printing so many times. Cloth towels replacing paper towels in bathrooms, leading to more loads of laundry and germs spreading from one staff member to another.
But as our earth continues to be polluted and precious resources continue to be wasted, we want to do our part for the environment. After much brainstorming and discussion, JVA came up with plausible and effective ways to go green, which we have already started implementing.
JVA started off in the going green spirit when it bought and recycled an old building last fall for its new office. We spent about three months fixing up the building and making it a workable office space.
“The first time we came into this building, we got lost. It was like a maze,” said Marshall Vanderburg, who co-owns the building and works at JVA.
Walls were knocked down to open the space, the lighting was improved, the walls were spiffed up with fresh paint and the old roof was saved by adding a high-tech roof cover. We brought in our own furniture instead of discarding and buying new, and we brought in a supply of dishes for our office kitchen to discourage the use of plastic and paper dishes.
This summer, we’ve adopted more going green habits. Here are some of the measures we use and plan to use in the future:
- Direct people to our Web site instead of using brochures
- Post information for our staff and clients online in our “Collaboration Room” instead of using handouts
- Use recycled paper (the kind that doesn’t jam the printer) and print and copy double-sided
- Make our own notepads using recycled paper
- Use more wipe boards instead of flip charts
- Recycle all paper with Bayaud Industries, a nonprofit organization that recycles documents in a confidential way while providing jobs for people with disabilities
- Replace paper towels in the bathrooms with hand dryers
- Recycle everything possible: paper, boxes, aluminum cans, glass bottles, jars, aerosol cans, plastic bottles, cardboard, brown paper bags, paperboard, newspapers, junk mail, magazines, phone books, etc.
- Only use products that are compostable, recyclable and recycled
- Avoid using Styrofoam
- Buy in bulk to reduce the amount of overpackaged materials
- Use cleaning supplies without harsh chemicals
- Reuse nametags
- Place recycling bins throughout the office to remind people to recycle
- Use compact fluorescent light bulbs
- Turn off lights when not in use
- Turn off and unplug computers when leaving for the day
- Buy and serve food in bulk
- Donate any leftover perishable food to homeless shelters
- Put leftover food from meetings in JVA’s kitchen for staff and visitors
- Carpool to facilitations and meetings
- Consider riding bikes, walking or taking public transportation whenever possible
What is your best idea for going green? For more information on going green and recycling, visit Denver Recycles online.