In October I was asked to participate with a team of GreenBlue staff in the Charlottesville Area Better Business Challenge, a friendly competition among local businesses to incorporate sustainable practices into their day-to-day operations. This would become one of my first tasks after officially joining GreenBlue as the Office Manager. I did not have a background in sustainable issues and it has been a very educational undertaking.
The Better Business Challenge has all participating businesses start with a scorecard to take stock in six key areas: Energy, Transportation, Waste Reduction, Water, Purchasing, and Leadership. The initial responses serve as the baseline for your business: each improvement gives you 1-2 points, you gain certification with 40 points on the scorecard, and businesses work toward a goal of up to 150 points.
With the initial scorecard completed I found that we are already a pretty sustainable business but we continue to look for areas that we can improve upon. We research and order products that use recycled materials and make efforts to recycle as much of our office materials as possible. We’ve recently installed cans in our kitchen and bathrooms to collect paper towels (non-bleached, recycled materials, of course) and other materials for composting. I was surprised at the amount of stuff that can be composted and I’m sure my garden will appreciate it next summer. Prior to starting with GreenBlue I was unaware that some of the carryout food containers are now made of sugarcane and can be totally composted. We even collect food waste that is fed to a staffer’s chickens.
My learning experience continues daily as I research programmable thermostats, plumbing issues, energy-efficient light bulbs, and compostable materials. I’m sure our efforts will make GreenBlue even more sustainable and in turn we will continue to help others in their efforts. I’ll have more to report on as we complete our goals in June.