Thursday, March 27, 2008

Walking the walk: APHA’s Green Team

As part of our efforts to lead by example, APHA is on a quest to move toward greener ways of doing things.

As a first step, a "green team" was established last year that meets monthly to talk about environmental concerns and action items that APHA can work toward. A brown bag lunch screening of “An Inconvenient Truth” kicked off the green team efforts. Since then, a green team logo has been designed, and green tips and reminders have been posted throughout the building regarding water usage, recycling, avoiding bottled water and other ways to green our workspace. All recycling containers have been relabeled for clarity and now include paper, plastic and glass bottles, as well as newspaper and cardboard recycling. The green team also arranged a visit to a nearby green roof to learn about the costs and benefits and to see if that technology might benefit APHA.

Monthly “green facts” are e-mailed to staff to get them thinking about small changes they can make in their lives that can make a big difference. A “take the stairs” program was started to promote exercise and reduce use of the elevators — another great example of how doing what’s good for your health and doing what’s good for the environment are often the same thing!

Other environmental efforts at APHA supported by the green team include a switch to 100 percent post-consumer content copier paper, elimination of styrofoam cups throughout the building, use of environmentally friendly cleaning supplies and recycled-content paper towels, and an energy audit to help identify and correct temperature extremes in the building.

Future items on the green team’s agenda include volunteering for a local stream clean-up effort, renewing our push to encourage staff to use the stairs and establishing a battery recycling program. Of course, there is always more to be done and more that we can do collectively. The green team looks forward to learning from the great ideas that are shared throughout this year’s National Public Health Week.

Is your organization working to green your workspace? Share your strategies with others by leaving a comment!

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