What is Sustainability?
Green is a general concept that encompasses the entire movement to become environmentally conscious. Sustainable is buying (or not buying) and/or using products of companies that lessen their total impact on the earth. Lessening impact is providing, using or supporting products that can be recycled, reused, re purposed and last for years to come. Utilizing and supporting companies that embrace sustainability will continue to lessen the impact on the environment.
What you can do as an optical office is continue to employ ‘Green Practices’ and support your vendors and any other vendor in their Green or Sustainable Initiatives. Who would be a Green Vendor? At this time, Nouveau Eyewear has a ReLeaf program in which they will plant trees with a purchase, Vision West Inc (VWI) has started an Eye-Eco Challenge, with rewards, plus they are giving away Grocery Bags. Visionease has started a sustainability program. Essilor the company in general has embraced sustainable practices with building ‘green’ programs, reducing water consumption. Even Essilor Airwear Lenses are recyclable. Clearvision has embarked on a company recycling program as well.
We will be discussing Green vendors more in the near future. But as they say, you should get your own house in order first.
‘Going Green’ can be very easy, the question is why is it so easy to do it at home but not at the office? Why is it that at home you print on the back of paper? You turn off lights? You recycle? The minute you come into work, all thoughts of conserving just fly out the door!
Why Should You Change?
- One office working can use a quarter ton of material in a year.
- 10,000 pieces of copier paper are used per year.
- Each American produces about 4 pounds of garbage a day.
- Office Spaces are responsible for 40% of carbon dioxide emissions in the US and 70% of total electricity usage.
- It will save you money. You will see immediately savings by just turning off the lights! You will see long term savings, in your taxes because quite frankly who do you think really pays for litter cleanup? Landfills? Toxic waste cleanup? City, State and National Water?
- Toxins from plastic and waste seep into ground water and oceans, thus is in the food you eat.
How to Start ?
It is important that your whole office culture embraces a Green and Sustainable Environment. A suggestion is to put one person in charge or form a committee to oversee green initiatives. Set some goals and track your results. Many companies are rewarding those who are getting on the bandwagon, so use them to get yourself going! For instance Readymade Magazine offers free music downloads when you subscribe, (www.readymademag.com) Keen (www.keenfootwear.com) is offering $25,000 for thinking green.
The best part is your customers will appreciate your efforts and they will send you new referral business. The latest studies have shown that 79% of consumers will shop at an environmentally conscious company! If a huge company like Wal-Mart can recycle plastic bags why can’t you?