Thursday, February 19, 2009

When the Economy Forces Us to Care About the Environment.

Last December, we got an email about the financial situation at work.

It was full of grim statistics about our loss in endowment, stocks, and other news not fit for maintaining one's holiday spirit.

Attached to the email was a document outlining a dozen of ways we could immediately reduce costs, in hopes of avoiding layoffs.

Nearly 100% of those suggestions were measures that would benefit the environment. Instead of cutting salaries or employees, we were urged to cut our electricity and paper use. Among the suggestions and changes:

  • Turn off lights when rooms are unoccupied.
  • Shut down computers and monitors overnight and especially over breaks.
  • Travel less.
  • Don't heat buildings that aren't in use.
  • Use the web instead of print publications to share information.
  • Don't change the trash in offices everyday. (Thank goodness! I hated that they would change a whole bag for one little cereal bar wrapper. Annoying.)
  • Email direct deposits - less paper.
  • Reduce printing, reuse scrap paper, and print on two sides.
  • Spend less money on bottled water. Hallelujah!
I've also noticed other small changes happening around here - the heat was lowered over Christmas break. And there is less wastefulness in general. For example, instead of throwing away (perfectly good) envelopes left over from the annual Christmas card - we're using them. How novel! (Although I did see dozen of perfectly good brownies and other goodies tossed in the dining room trash last week. I was half-tempted to pull a George Costanza. I didn't. Or did I? You will never know. Mwahaha.)

(I didn't.)

All of this just proves that reduce, reuse, recycle isn't some hippie thing, it isn't just for a few of us, and it doesn't just "Save our Mother Earth!". It can be simple and save money.

It shouldn't take a huge financial crisis to get an organization to carefully examine their spending and waste - but I am content if it means a little less waste and a little more consciousness.


  1. Our company is really emphasizing reduce, reuse and recycle as well.

    I kinda dig it.

    a lot.

  2. Well done the company! Just think if every company in the world did this .........?

  3. I do all of these things, too - and notice them being done at my school, as well - and it brings a smile to my face.

    Every little bit helps, right?

  4. I think it’s interesting – the economy has really forced people who wouldn’t do the simple things other wise to try them out and see the benefits. It’s been a wake up call on multiple fronts, hasn’t it been?

    I’m still crossing my fingers for more telecommuting jobs, that’s my dream!

  5. Hi--I just got here from Smalls' blog :) I too love Lattes, Target, and the environment.

    I have mixed feelings about all this. I wish that people didn't need a financial incentive to be more earth-friendly. i was doing all these "green" things before the big crisis. Then again, I'm not one to look a gift horse in the mouth, and even if our economy bounces back with gusto, maybe people will retain the lessons they learned. Now if we could just bring back the train as a popular mode of transportation...

  6. That's great! We're doing that at my office as well.
    It's sad that it takes a poor economy to get people to open their eyes about waste and the environment, but at this point - hey, whatever works!

  7. I really wish they wouldn't clean out our trash cans every night. It really is wasteful!

  8. That's awesome. I always hate how businesses don't think about things like that. It's great to hear that some are now.

  9. The place I work at has cut back on the number of times they empty the trashcans as well. We are now down to 3 times a week. They are also hoping to move the people in a way that will let them shut down and close off part of the building.

  10. You work for a pretty amazing company that's willing to go through those kinds of hoops to save employees. Very impressive.

  11. Working for a charity, we already do those things (and more). It's so good to know that other places are doing them, too.

  12. We are also trying to go green, but I unfortunately am still a tree killer with a lot of printing.

    I am better at home with leaving things unplugged if it's unused, etc.

  13. I've gotten a lot better at home with this. I wish my company was supporting it, though. Goodness knows we need to save some money...

    (I say this, but we DID receive an e-mail from the editor saying everyone needed to turn off their computers at night so someone's job could be saved. They cut about 50 jobs anyway.)

  14. It amazing how little things can make a huge difference. I totally agree with you that companies should strive to do more and if they happen to be pushed into it by economic factors then so be it. It's better than us never getting there and its definitely a start.

    working from home is a great option and it definitely makes me think twice about printing something or leaving my monitor on. I have to be smart about because I am more concious about my waste.

  15. I like this post. I was thinking recently how last year at this time, the big trend across the media was "BE GREEN!" and now it's "BE FRUGAL."

    I'm glad that the green message is still out there and that its as relevant and important as ever.

  16. i can't stand it when people don't recycle & reuse.

    also, another way of saving energy is to un plug the items you are not using.

  17. Thanks for the post! I've been good about all of them except turning off my work computer (I leave it on for weeks at a time!). Because of your blog I have remembered to do so. Keep up the reminders.


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