Saturday, November 3, 2007

Pre-Cycling

Reduce, Reuse, Recyle. It's being taught in elementary schools across the country. But what does that mean for real estate organizations? Basically, it's all about thinking upstream in the procurement process. Do we really need that new building? Do we really need everything we buy? Can we precycle instead?

Here's a small example from a Fortune 500 company in Cleveland. The company's facilities group wanted to remove all polystyrene cups from their campus. Their real estate portfolio included hundreds of break areas and two full service cafeterias, all supplied with non-recyclable cups. Facilities went through all of their procurement contracts and wrote in language that required vendors to provide only ceramic or glass.

To raise awareness of the change, the company created coffee mugs with green logos for all employees. They also found a company that recycled polystyrene in massive hay bails. They took all of their existing cups and gave the hay bails a formal "farewell" party.

What's great about this example is that not only did this company remove disposable cups from their campus permanently, but they used it as a chance to showcase green behavior.

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