MAY – WASTE
Wasting time and money has always had a negative connotation, but Americans have a different relationship with materials. We have a largely disposable society, and a mindset to go with it. We are getting better: we now recycle about 30 percent of the waste that we create (approximately 250 million tons per year, or 4.6 pounds per person per day, EPA), however it is estimated that 75 percent of waste should and can be recycled.
During May we looked more closely at our office operations. The following efforts are now underway:
• Verify – waste, recycling and composting are separate (what offices are doing what?). Can we do more composting?
• Weight/volume of waste taken to dumpster
• Weight/volume of recycled waste taken to recycle
• Photos to prove we have clear/enough labels for trash & recycle
• Spot check recycling vs trash (make sure it’s in the correct bin)
As we study and develop our standards for office operations, we are seeking input on other ways to conserve our resources. This increased awareness should lead to thinking of innovative ways to conserve materials on projects.
• Annual trash generated by CGA is about 18.5 tons and recyclable waste is about 15.85 tons.
• CGA generates approximately 0.47 pound of trash and 0.40 pound of recyclable content per square foot per year.
• CGA generates approximately 109 pound of trash and 93 pound of recyclable content per employee per year.
• The three CGA offices that generates the most trash and recyclable content per employee are San Diego, Phoenix, and Las Vegas.
• The three CGA offices that generate the most trash and recyclable content per square foot are Minneapolis, San Diego, and Denver.
• Post specific and graphic recycling instructions at all central waste collection spots in every office.
• Contract with waste management companies that accommodate high levels of recycling.
• Consider composting where available and for special events.
• Continue aggressive monitoring and coaching for vendors who bring food into the office (for example, lunch and learn events).
• Purchase products with maximum recycled content practicable.