Thursday, May 15, 2008

Green Is A Popular ... Color

So my company is going green. It’s quite proud of the fact that its new building is carbon neutral. In fact, there was an article in the paper about it recently.

Going green is a good thing, and I’m all in favor of it. But some of it seems a bit hypocritical.

For example, apparently our clean desk policy is green. Yep, the fact that we can have no paper on our desk at the end of the day or if we are leaving our workspace for more than 2 hours apparently makes us green.

I finally decided it’s because the paper collects dust if it sits on the desk, which necessitates the use of cleaning products which aren’t green. Forget the people who throw things away only to reprint them the next day.

And I learned tonight when a friend of mine was over that apparently the building gets power from appropriate sources, which means that there is a lack of power. So for the multiple thousand of people who work there, we have six microwaves. They’re all in the cafeteria, and when I was there for the first time today I saw the long long LONG line. But apparently we have enough power to have flat screen tvs throughout the building everywhere brainwashing us about how great the company is.

Surprisingly, the cleaning materials tend to be more harsh chemicals, too. I know this simply from the smell, let alone the containers that I can see them using. The interesting part of this to me is that Illinois recently began requiring that all school use environmentally friendly cleaners, so you know they’re out there.

But there are good things that they’ve done, too. Although the office is further from home for just about everyone I know (meaning more miles driven in traffic), they’re also incorporating working from home for many more people, which somewhat offsets that.

The cleaning staff also cleans during the day vs at night, which is a bit odd to see people polishing and vacuuming (and somewhat distracting when on a call but that’s ok) as you’re working, but no lights are needed for them to see at night to clean.

And in the cafeteria, there are no disposable plates or cutlery. It’s all white china – and sadly, I like it and am tempted to ask where they got it for when my current dish set needs replacing – and regular silverware. Less in the landfill, yay! They actually separate out the china from the paper (napkins, wrappers, etc) from the food waste. The food waste is recycled and utilized for something – sorry, I forget if it’s compost or animal food or what – and the paper products are also recycled.
But I still go back to the clean desk policy being green. It’s an audit requirement, people. There’s spin, and then there’s flat out silly. But hey, if someone can come up with a good way that no paper is green, I want to hear it!


Mabunny May 16, 2008 at 11:39 AM  

It really is amazing when you start to recycle, how much your trash goes down and you realize all you were wasting! We even save dryer lint to hang outside in a mesh bag for the birdies to have house making fodder. Learned about that trick from a mother of one of my daughters friends.
Have a great weekend

Michelle May 16, 2008 at 3:07 PM  

Mabunny -- I LOVE the idea of using the lint for that. I have an old mesh bag that I used to wash lingerie in that I think would work perfectly. And what a great way to not waste something. Any other cool tricks like that?

Mary May 16, 2008 at 3:13 PM  

Happy Earth Day.

Just out of curiosity, how many SUVs in the parking lot at your work?


Karen May 16, 2008 at 6:19 PM  

The paper thing is just weird. You USE paper. Why can't you let it sit out?

Michelle May 16, 2008 at 8:51 PM  

Mary -- You really don't want to know how many there are. We're in Chicago, so... and I'll admit that I have one of the SUVs in the parking lot. At least right now.

Karen -- The paper thing totally isn't green, and I still can't figure out who was the moron errr person who decided that this was a green thing to tout. We are required to remove all confidential material from view (which my company's very conservative legal and compliance departments have interpreted to mean ALL paper)to ensure none of it falls into the wrong hands. I actually don't oppose that, as people's confidential info should be protected. It's. Just. Not. Green.

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