As City employees, we have an obligation to lead by example. This includes reducing, reusing, and recycling the wastes that we produce. It also includes supporting sustainable businesses, such as those that sell recycled-content products. In this manner, we cultivate our local community environmentally, by helping to keep our air, soil, and water clean. We also promote our City economically (e.g., business and economic development, job creation) when we patronize businesses that provide reduce, reuse, or recycle services, or sell recycled products. As you move through your workday, serving our citizens and other City employees, below are some ways for you to easily incorporate these things into your everyday activities.
Reducing the amount of waste we generate is our highest priority, because then we avoid consuming resources or producing pollution.
- Purchase or use only what amount you need.
- Purchase only when you need it.
- Think before you print! Do you really need to print that document, e-mail, or webpage? You may be able to read it just as well while it's on your computer screen. And, it can just as easily be saved to your electronic files.
- To distribute information, e-mail it instead of printing, photocopying, or faxing.
- Offer citizens the alternative of receiving their bills, statements, letters, reports, newsletters, etc. electronically instead of by hard copy.
- Use central bulletin boards to post flyers.
- Create electronic versions of documents and publications by scanning them.
- Store documents electronically on the computer server or hard drive.
- If you absolutely must print or photocopy, choose just a selection of information to print or photocopy, or be sure to make it double-sided.
- Update outgoing and incoming mailing lists, to reduce undeliverable or duplicate mailings.
- Make your document (e.g., memos, reports, brochures) margins smaller and you'll consume less paper.
- To reduce food waste, pay attention to expiration dates (e.g., place food with upcoming expiration dates towards the front of the shelf or storage area), store it at the appropriate temperature and moisture level (e.g., dry place, refrigerator, freezer), and prepare it properly (e.g., heating, cooling).
- Excess food (e.g., bread, pasta, cookies) can be donated to local shelters or food pantries.
- Leftover food can be incorporated into new dishes (e.g., bread into croutons, rice into fried rice).
Reusing materials is our second highest priority; reuse involves the consumption of some resources and generation of some pollution, but less than if we recycle. Before recycling or trashing materials, consider reuse options.
- Check throughout your work area, Section, Office, Division, Department, or Agency; other employees may be able to use or may be getting ready to purchase what you already have.
- Broadcast an e-mail to all employees; another Section, Office, Division, Department, or Agency may need what you have available.
- Surplus out your materials through the Supply Division or your Supply Officer; this could help the City earn money on those items, or at least avoid disposal costs.
- Provide details (and photographs) to the Refuse Division to be listed on a materials exchange.
- Storing documents and projects electronically on reusable and portable flash drives, CDs, DVD's, diskettes, etc. can reduce paper consumption and conserve storage space.
- Water, coffee, juice, and other beverages may taste better from reusable mugs, particularly ceramic (rather than disposable plastic or paper cups).
- Meals and snacks can feel and taste better from reusable plates, bowls, and utensils, particularly ceramic or metal (compared with disposable plastic or paper products).
- Print or photocopy on any unused sides of paper.
- Urge your suppliers to reuse totes and pallets when delivering products to you. It could save you and them money (e.g., reduced supply costs by not repeatedly purchasing totes or pallets, avoided disposal costs because they're reused).
- Use rechargeable batteries on all battery-operated devices.
If all offices in the United States increased the amount of two-sided copying to 60 percent, we would save over 15 million trees, or 890,000 tons of paper a year! (USEPA)
Recycling resources is our third highest priority; recycling consumes more resources and results in more pollution than reusing, but less than landfilling.