About PKIDs

PKIDs GOES GREEN

Introduction

What We've Done So Far

Reduce Fuel Consumption
Reduce Paper Consumption
Reduce Landfill Waste

Next Steps

Recycle
Properly Dispose of Hazardous Waste
Reduce Resource Consumption
Reuse
Buy Green
Cut Power Consumption
Rethink the Workday and Work Environment
Success Stories

Resources

Helpful Articles
Advocacy Organizations
Sources
Citations

Introduction

PKIDs is by nature proactive. As a nonprofit, we try to anticipate our families’ needs and meet them before they become obstacles. As members of the world community, we take the same anticipatory view, working to ensure that our environmental impact is responsible, thoughtful and minimal.

We want to share with you some ways we’ve found to be more Earth-friendly and hope you’ll send in your own success stories for inclusion on this page.

Like you, we have a desire to live in a sustainable, renewable environment and want our children’s grandchildren to enjoy a clean and lovely world.

We invite you to join PKIDs in our efforts to “Go Green”. Consider taking some of these measures at your home or business.

WHAT WE’VE DONE SO FAR

Reduce Fuel Consumption

Several years ago, PKIDs moved from an office building to home offices, eliminating the daily drive and shrinking our carbon footprint by reducing oil and gas consumption and CO2 emissions. Using the EPA’s Personal Emissions Calculator, we figured that this change brought about a savings of 23,893 lbs of CO2 emissions and 1,170 gallons of gasoline per year.

This is one of the most significant and positive changes we’ve made.

Reduce Paper Consumption

About that same time, we converted our print publications to digital format and, since 2007, have been making our VHS, CD and DVD materials available as free downloads from our website. Although we provide hard copies of print or video/CD/DVD on request, we strongly encourage our visitors to download these materials from our website.

This conversion saves literally tons of paper, hundreds of work hours, miles of driving and much added expense to PKIDs’ annual budget. Because Internet access is so ubiquitous—found through computers at home or work, in the library or at a friend or relative’s house—access to the materials remains open to everyone.

Reduce Landfill Waste

Switching to home offices left us with a surplus of office furniture and equipment. Instead of sending these items to the landfill, we donated excess materials to local charities or recycled.

NEXT STEPS

Now that the first, big steps have been taken, we’re interested in further reducing our negative impact on the environment. This is what we’ve found:

Recycle

Recycling saves energy, natural resources, and money. Since curbside recycling now serves half of the U.S. population, it’s never been easier to recycle. If curbside recycling is not available to you at your office or home, take your recyclables to a local recycling center. Earth 911 can help you find out more about recycling in your area.

  • Recycled aluminum saves 95 percent energy vs. virgin aluminum; recycling of one aluminum can saves enough energy to run a TV for 3 hours (Reynolds Metal Company)

  • Recycled glass saves 50 percent energy vs. virgin glass (Center for Ecological Technology); recycling of one glass container saves enough energy to light a 100-watt bulb for 4 hours (EPA)

  • If we recycled every plastic bottle we used, we would keep 2 billion tons of plastic out of landfills (Penn State)

  • Recycling of each ton of paper saves 17 trees and 7000 gallons of water (EPA)

  • Production of recycled paper uses 80 percent less water, 65 percent less energy and produces 95 percent less air pollution than virgin paper production.[1]

The following is a list of items commonly accepted for curbside recycling, but check first. Your curbside pickup might accept fewer items, or more items than these:

  • Metal

    • Steel and aluminum cans— beverage cans, food cans, aerosol cans
    • Clean aluminum food packaging— pie plates, dinner trays, foil
  • Paper-- newspaper, magazines, catalogs, phone books, bulk mail, office paper, computer paper, envelopes, gift wrapping paper, cardboard, clean food boxes, shoeboxes, paper towel and toilet paper tubes, paper egg cartons

  • Plastic imprinted with the symbol or

  • Glass bottles and jars

The California Integrated Waste Management Board (CIWMB) has created an outline of information to help your business be more efficient and environmentally conscious. It provides information on how to reduce, reuse, and recycle office waste, as well as how to start a recycling program at your office.

It also includes methods to reduce packaging, practical tips for businesses wishing to reduce the amount of junk mail they receive, a directory for purchasing recycled content products and it even shows the benefits of keeping worms in your office!

If you’re ready to start a recycling program at your office, but aren’t sure what to do with the recyclables once they’re collected, Earth 911 can help you locate a business recycling company near you.

Properly Dispose of or Recycle Hazardous Waste

Hazardous waste is harmful to our environment if disposed of improperly. For a more complete list of hazardous waste items and information about local disposal sites or hazardous waste recycling programs, visit Earth 911.

  • CFLs and incandescent bulbs

  • Fertilizers

  • Pesticides

  • Automotive parts and fluids

  • Paint

  • Batteries

  • Insecticides

  • Smoke detectors

  • Tires

  • Old medications

  • Household cleaners

  • Cell phones

  • Computers

  • Office machines

  • Ink and toner cartridges

  • Game consoles

  • Video tapes

  • Older thermometers containing mercury

Cell phones, electronics and batteries contain many toxic materials such as arsenic, mercury, lead, cadmium, nickel, copper, zinc and brominated flame retardants which would be released into the air and groundwater supply if disposed of improperly, creating threats to human and animal health as well as the environment. Contact your cell phone company to find out where to recycle your old phone.

Many public schools cooperate with recycling businesses that pay cash for used printer cartridges, cell phones, PDAs, and other small electronics, helping our schools and our environment. Check to see if any of your local schools participate in a program like this. If you have children in a school that doesn’t have such a program, consider contacting your PTA/PTO to see if they would be interested starting one. For one program option check out: www.cartridgesforkids.com

Over 86 percent of all inkjet cartridges sold in this country are thrown away.  This translates into 350 million cartridges that end up in landfills or approximately 875 million pounds of environmental waste.  Stacked end to end, these discarded printer cartridges would cover a distance of over 24,000 miles—enough to circle the earth!

Half a gallon of oil is conserved for every laser cartridge returned.[2]

Reduce Resource Consumption

Reducing consumption not only eases the strain on natural resources, it decreases the production of solid waste. Solid waste reduction is critical. Most of America’s solid waste winds up in a landfill or dump. Today’s landfills are designed to be air- and watertight to protect the groundwater from being contaminated.  Because almost no air or water reaches the garbage, almost nothing, be it paper, synthetic, or organic, decomposes.  According to the majority of experts, the only items which are decomposing are some food and yard wastes.  The rest of the waste retains its original weight, volume and form. 

Help shrink the stream of solid waste by following these tips to reduce your resource consumption:

Print on both sides of paper by setting your printer to do this by default, or keep a box beside your printer for pages that can be run through the printer a second time. You can cut your paper consumption up to 50 percent!

Save documents on your computer or on a disk instead of a hard copy in your filing cabinet. You’ll save on paper and free up some space.

Pay your bills online. It saves paper, time, and postage.

Email documents and information instead of printing and mailing them.

Stop junkmail for so many reasons! There are several businesses and organizations that can help you reduce the amount of junkmail you receive by up to 98 percent. Two organizations that can help you get started are New American Dream and Green Dimes.

More than 100 million trees’ worth of bulk mail arrives in American mailboxes each year. That’s the equivalent of deforesting the entire Rocky Mountain National Park every four months. (New American Dream calculation from Conservatree and U.S. Forest Service statistics)

In 2005, 5.8 million tons of catalogs and other direct mailings ended up in the U.S. municipal solid waste stream—enough to fill over 450,000 garbage trucks. Parked bumper to bumper, these garbage trucks would extend from Atlanta to Albuquerque. Less than 36 percent of this ad mail was recycled. (U.S. Environmental Protection Agency)[3]

Reduce the amount of packaging you buy:

  • Look for products without packaging

  • Buy in bulk. Sometimes you can take your own glass or other containers to the store to be filled directly with bulk goods.

  • Buy frozen foods in plastic bags rather than boxes. A 28-oz. bag of frozen corn is 59 percent less expensive and results in 98 percent less waste than buying the equivalent weight in single-serving 4.5 oz. boxes.

  • When purchasing just one or two items, tell the clerk you don’t need a bag.

  • Take your own mug or thermos to the coffee shop. Some shops will offer a discounted price when you provide your own container.

  • Avoid pump toothpaste—it is over-packaged and includes excess plastic.

  • Use your own reusable canvas or string bags when shopping.

  • If you do opt for paper or plastic grocery bags, take them back to the store to be recycled. (packaging reductions tips from MyClearwater.com )[4]

Reuse

Donate clothing and reusable office and household items. Thousands of organizations worldwide accept donations of used clothing and office or household items. Donate them instead of sending them to the landfill. One person’s trash is another’s treasure

Use Rechargeable BatteriesOver its useful life, each rechargeable battery may substitute for hundreds of single-use batteries.

Buy Green

Purchasing recycled content products helps ensure a continuing demand for raw recycled materials. Most office supply stores offer a selection of environmentally friendly papers, but paper is just the tip of the iceberg. You can find recycled content products in everything from toner cartridges and binders to office furniture and construction materials. Both the EPA and the (CIWMB) have created comprehensive directories which include information on wholesale and retail suppliers.

Use rechargeable batteries to reduce the number of batteries wasted. Over its useful life, each rechargeable battery may substitute for hundreds of single-use batteries. All batteries contain heavy metals such as mercury, lead, cadmium, and nickel, which can contaminate the environment when they are disposed of improperly.[5] Be sure to keep batteries, single use and rechargeable, out of the garbage can. Visit Earth 911 for information on the proper disposal of batteries and to find a recycling collection site near you.

When replacing electronics such as desktop computers, notebooks, and monitors, think of going green. The EPEAT (Electronic Product Environmental Assessment Tool) www.epeat.net , evaluates computer desktops, laptops, and monitors based on 51 environmental criteria.

All EPEAT registered products must meet 23 mandatory environmental criteria. An additional 28 optional criteria are used to determine whether products earn EPEAT Bronze, Silver, or Gold recognition. EPEAT registered products are high-performance business class computers that cost no more than conventional products. Compared to traditional computer equipment, however, all EPEAT-registered computers have reduced levels of cadmium, lead, and mercury to better protect human health and the environment. They are more energy efficient, which reduces emissions of global warming greenhouse gases, and they are also easier to upgrade and recycle.[6]

When purchasing appliances, look for the ENERGY STAR symbol. Compare water and energy usage to ensure you get the best product and environmental savings to suit your needs.

Cut Power Consumption

Energy conservation is everyone’s opportunity to participate in the greening of America. Phantom power can be a frighteningly high portion of your office power bill. All those electronic devices, like computers, monitors, printers, phone chargers, coffee makers, and televisions, continue to burn energy, even when they’re turned off. That’s phantom power and it’s responsible for 15 percent of your power bill.[7]

Scary eh, but what’s the solution? Simple: power strips. Just plug all your electronic devices into power strips instead of an outlet. At the end of the day, flip the power strip’s switch off. It’s as easy as that.

Temperature control and lighting are two areas that make up a big portion of every business’s power bill.

Lighting typically amounts to 30 percent of energy costs[8], so replacing old bulbs with compact fluorescent bulbs ( CFLs ) would produce significant energy and cost savings. According to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, CFLs use 2/3 less energy as traditional incandescent light bulbs and last 10 times as long! Replacing 3 frequently used light bulbs with compact fluorescent bulbs saves 300 lbs. of carbon dioxide from being released into the atmosphere and $60 per year.[9]

Some incandescent light bulbs may contain lead solder and CFLs contain mercury, so remember to dispose of both properly at your local hazardous waste facility. To find out where, visit Earth911 .

Open the blinds and let the sunshine in when possible, and always remember to turn off the lights when you leave a room.

Heating and cooling systems that run 24/7 are another source of wasted energy. Save money and resources by programming thermostats to trigger warming and cooling as needed during the workday and hibernate at night.

Moving your thermostat down two degrees in winter and up two degrees in the summer will save 2000 lbs of carbon dioxide from being released into the atmosphere and $98 per year.[10]

Green power is here. According to the U.S. Dept. of Energy (DOE), at least 50 percent of customers have the option to purchase renewable electricity directly from their power supplier, and all customers have the option of purchasing renewable energy credits (RECs) . Such power is sometimes referred to as "green power" or "clean power."[11]

Reducing household energy waste is an area that can’t be overlooked. A U.S.DOE report estimates that a whopping 75 percent of the energy used for typical home electronics devices is wasted.[12] Many appliances can be used more efficiently as well. The U.S.DOE website outlines some easy ways to reduce this wastage, including:

  • Air dry dishes instead of using your dishwasher's drying cycle

  • Wash your clothes in cold water using cold water detergents whenever possible

  • Turn off your personal computer when you're away from your PC for 20 minutes or more, and both the CPU and the monitor if you will be away for two hours or more.[13]

Check out the U.S. DOE website for more information on how to use energy in your workplace more efficiently , how to buy “clean electricity,” and how to incorporate the use of renewable energy at work for cost savings.

Rethink the Workday and Work Environment

Flexibility goes a long way toward productivity. Consider new options for employees including telecommuting, compressed work weeks, public transportation discounts, organized carpools, and benefit programs for biking or walking to work.

Corporate Voices for Working Families examined data from 29 large American businesses in their report, “Business Impacts of Flexibility: An Imperative for Expansion”. The data indicates that flexible workplaces have a positive impact on financial performance, human capital management and talent management.[14] This report also illustrates the significant potential present for workplace flexibility to reduce a business’s negative impact on the environment.

Telecommuting saves money, time and the environment. In the U.S., the average commuter spends more time commuting each year than on vacation. Using an average commuting distance of 18 miles each way and an average highway mileage of 23.4 mpg, the daily fuel consumption due to commuting is at least 1.5 gallons for a round trip. A five-day commuting workweek releases at minimum 5,154 lbs of CO2 into the atmosphere each year, per employee.[15]

Having one employee telecommute for only one day per week would save an average of 78 gallons of gas and 1,030lbs of carbon dioxide from being released into the atmosphere each year.

According to the International Telework Association, the number of employed Americans who worked from home at least one day each week grew from 41.3 million in 2003 to 44.4 million in 2004, a 7.5 percent growth rate. Technology advances such as high-speed internet, VoIP, and collaboration tools such as e-mail, Instant messenger, and Web and video conferencing make it possible for an employee to stay connected without physically being in an office. [16]

In addition to the environmental benefits, telecommuting increases employee productivity and quality of work. "Productivity increases reported from various studies average around 10 percent to 20 percent, although some reports are as high as 40 percent. The literature reports productivity gains ranging from 15-25 percent found in a wide variety of telecommuting situations, even where researchers (or workers or managers) had not expected them, and higher quality work was also reported throughout.”[17]

A compressed work schedule, such as working four ten-hour days per week, also reduces gas consumption and CO2 emissions. A compressed work week has also been shown to boost employee morale.

During a six-month pilot program in Thurston County Washington, 205 employees worked a compressed workweek schedule, which eliminated 238 commute roundtrips each two-week period. Eighty-three percent of the participants reported an increase in morale, and 94 percent of their supervisors said they would like to continue the programs after the pilot."[18]

Support public transit and try implementing a commuter benefits program. The IRS allows employers to subsidize employees' cost of commuting to work by public transit, and employees can use pre-tax dollars to pay for any kind of publicly or privately owned transit services, including bus, trains, subways, ferries, etc.

To measure your carbon footprint, defined as a “ measure of the impact human activities have on the environment in terms of the amount of green house gases produced, measured in units of carbon dioxide,” go to EPA .

Success Stories

National Meningitis Association (NMA)

RESOURCES

Helpful Articles

Going Green in Your Business examines the simple ways in which small businesses can go green.

Climate Management for Small Businesses answers the question: "Given that our company contributes to climate change, how can we minimize its climate impact in a way that positively impacts our bottom line?"

Going Green Can Improve Bottom Line includes practical tips for businesses to improve their bottom line by being more eco friendly.

The Clean Tech Revolution: The Next Big Investment Opportunity reveals how businesses can follow the lead of companies such as Toyota to go green—and make green dollars—by designing, selling, or funding inventive eco-friendly products and services.

Green Computers Measure Up provides an explanation of the environmental benefits of EPEAT registered “Green Computers”.

Advocacy Organizations

Children's Health Environmental Coalition
Earthshare
Environmental Defense Fund
Natural Resources Defense Council
Redefining Progress
World Resources Institute

Sources

Best Workplaces for Commuters
California Integrated Waste Management Board (CIWMB)
Corporate Voices for Working Families
Stop Global Warming
EPEAT
Earth 911
Energy Star
Environmental Protection Agency
Evo
Green Dimes
New American Dream
Onibay
United States Dept of Energy
Tandberg
Telecommuting Safety and Health Benefits Institute

Citations

[1] Energy Costs and Conservtion Facts. Earth 911, 2007 (accessed September 10, 2007). http://earth911.org/energy/energy-costs-and-conservation-facts/

[2] Why Recycle?. Onibay, 2007 (accessed September 10 , 2007). http://www.onibay.com/recycling.htm

[3] Just the Facts: Junk Mail Facts and Figures. New American Dream, (accesed September 10, 2007). http://www.newdream.org/Junkmail/facts.php

[4] Household Waste Reduction Tips. My Clearwater.com: The Official Web Site of the City of Clearwater Fl, May 16, 2006 (accessed September 10, 2007). http://www.clearwater-fl.com/gov/depts/solid_waste/docs_pub/wrtips.asp#shop

[5] Municipal and Solid Waste: Batteries. U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, May 9, 2006 (accessed September 10, 2007). http://www.epa.gov/msw/battery.htm

[6] Case, Scot. Green Computers Measure Up. EPEAT, July 17, 2007 (accessed September 10, 2007). http://www.epeat.net/Docs/EPEAT%20Benefits%20Report%20Press%20Release%20_7-17-07_.pdf

[7] Phantom Power is Creeping Into Your Energy Bill. Evo, July 11, 2007 (accessed September 10, 2007). http://www.evo.com/content/2316

[8] Silverber, David. Going Green Can Improve Bottom Line. Business Edge, Vol. 2, No. 14, July 7, 2007 (accessed September 10, 2007). http://www.businessedge.ca/article.cfm/newsID/10022.cfm

[9] Take Action!. Stop Global Warming, 2007 (accessed September 10, 2007). http://www.stopglobalwarming.org/sgw_actionitems.asp

[10] Take Action!. Stop Global Warming, 2007 (accessed September 10, 2007). http://www.stopglobalwarming.org/sgw_actionitems.asp

[11] Buying Clean Electricity. U.S. Department of Energy, September 12, 2005 (accessed on September 12, 2007). http://www.eere.energy.gov/consumer/your_home/electricity/index.cfm/mytopic=10400

[12] Phantom Power is Creeping Into Your Energy Bill. Evo, July 11, 2007 (accessed September 10, 2007). http://www.evo.com/content/2316

[13] Appliances & Electronics. U.S. Department of Energy, (accessed September 12, 2007). http://www.energy.gov/applianceselectronics.htm

[14] Business Impacts of Flexibility: An Imperative for Expansion, Corporate Voices for Working Families, November, 2005 (accessed September 12 , 2007). http://www.cvworkingfamilies.org/Download
Request.cfm? DocumentLoc=downloads/Business%2http://www.cvworkingfamilies.org/
DownloadRequest.cfm? DocumentLoc=downloads/Business%20Impacts%20of%20Flexibility.pdf
&DocumentName=Business%20Impacts%20of%20Flexibility.pdf

[15] Environmental Benefits of Video Telework for Individuals, companies, and communities. Tandberg, May 2007, p. 3, (accessed September 12, 2007). http://www.tandberg.com/collateral/white_papers/TAN_WhtPpr_Green_r1.pdf

[16] Environmental Benefits of Video Telework for Individuals, companies, and communities. Tandberg, May 2007, p. 4, (accessed September 12, 2007). http://www.tandberg.com/collateral/white_papers/TAN_WhtPpr_Green_r1.pdf

[17] United States Department of Transportation. Transportation Implications of Telecommunting. National Transportation Library, December 6, 2004 (accessed September 12, 2007). http://ntl.bts.gov/DOCS/telecommute.html

[18] What is CTR?. Thurston Regional Planning Council, 2002 (accessed September 12, 2007). http://www.trpc.org/programs/transportation/commutes/


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