Greening the workplace, Pt. 1

A few months ago someone at work approached me about recycling. I would love to recycle here. I get so many junk catalogs and mail that could be recycled, not to mention all the cans and bottles from our vending machines. Unfortunately, recycling is not my decision to make. I've gone to our Purchasing Manager about contacting our waste disposal company. I know they have single-stream recycling so we wouldn't even have to rely on people to seperate their items. I think I need to write up a plan and actually go to him with it, along with the others who support recycling.

At least we recycle our e-waste. My boss wanted to just throw it away, but we have a standing PO with a company to take our old computers and such for recycling.

So far, the only "greening" I've been able to do is replace our plastic cutlery with compostable ones and try out a compostable coffee cup to try to replace the styrofoam ones. I found the coffee cups and cutlery from Baumgarten's in the Conserve line. I was having a hard time finding a greener option for disposable coffee cups that wouldn't burn people's hands. These work really well! Having everyone bring their own, washable dishes would be best but most of our employees work in the plant and there isn't space to store and wash all those dishes.

Plants for sale

Opportunity Enterprises is having a plant sale every weekend in the month of May. Opportunity Enterprises is a non-profit organization that helps people who have physical, mental, and/or emotional disabilities gain self-suffiency. The plant sale will benefit the vacation fund for their clients.

The plants will be on sale Fridays from noon to 6 p.m. and on Saturdays from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. through May 30. The sale is being held at Yeager's Greenhouses in Valparaiso, IN at 348 N. 450 E.

CFL, is it worth it?

I've heard much about how much energy compact flourescent light bulbs (CFL) can save you but I've also been concerned about the mercury content of them. I live near Lake Michigan. The lake and other waterways are already polluted with mercury from powerplant emissions. My concern with CFL bulbs is that so many people will just throw them away instead of recycling them, causing the mercury to enter the environment through landfills.

The fact that many household items are toxic and need to be recycled isn't widely communicated. There are communities where curbside recycling isn't offered, forcing the consumer to find a place to recycle these items and take them there or wait for a community recycle day, storing these items until then.

Today I got a tweet about an article on a blog called titled "So Called Green Lightbulbs Poision Many Workers" that addressed one of the concerns I have about CFL bulbs. Their article also links to previous articles they have done on this subject. For me, I am still unsure of whether the energy savings these provide is worth the mercury in them. Am I just replacing mercury with mercury? Something to think about and research.


Welcome to my new blog about being green and about environmental issues. I picked the title "Green Isn't Easy" because it isn't. It's easier to throw things away rather than recycle them; it's easier to use disposable dishes than to wash dishes; it's cheaper to buy conventionally farmed foods than it is to buy organic foods or those that are less intensively farmed. I find that I am continually learning and adjusting my habits to be friendlier to the earth. As I do this, I am going to post about what I wonder about and what I learn.