The office, serving as IEEE-USA and IEEE Computer Society headquarters, was among 14 in the Washington metropolitan area to receive recognition in The Green Seal Green Office Partnership Program. It was chosen for a workplace sustainability review in September 2014, courtesy of the American Society of Association Executives Foundation, which provided a $500 grant to support the activity.
Green Seal Project Coordinator Ben Walsh toured the national capital workspace with a 45-item checklist, evaluating it against a set of mandatory and optional criteria:
- Waste reduction & recycling
- Office supplies
- IT equipment & management
- Kitchen & pantry supplies
- Operational systems
- Staff training & education
Required by law in Washington, D.C., office recycling goes a long way toward keeping items out of landfills and reusing their component parts. Popular items include cans, paper and plastic.
“The big thing is, you don’t want to have people to go looking for recycle bins, because if most don’t see [one], they’ll just go, ‘Well I don’t see it, so I’ll just throw it in the trash,’” Walsh said. “So you want to make it as easy as possible.”
IEEE Facilities Director John Hunt arranged for IEEE’s participation in the program, and attended the Green Seal certificate presentation in Washington. Marnie James, D.C. office green team coordinator, worked with Green Seal representatives and IEEE facilities staff to implement a variety of changes to help meet the certification criteria.
Among the changes were sourcing 30 percent recycled-content paper and resetting copier defaults to two-sided printing. The office also recently collected electronic waste–e.g., old flash drives, CDs, floppy disks and batteries–for proper disposal.
“That’s fantastic,” Walsh said. “Paper is by far the biggest waste generator that offices have, so even something as simple as moving to 30 percent recycled content makes a big environmental impact.”
Hunt has submitted Green Seal applications for the IEEE Operations Center in Piscataway, N.J., and the IEEE office in New York. When awarded, the partnership is good for two years.
This post originally appeared in IEEE’s Insights publication and is posted here with permission from the author Chris McNanes, IEEE-USA’s public relations manager and member of the IEEE Washington green team.