Meredith Bearden, LEED® AP
The Green Movement continues to grow every day with our world’s efforts to address environmental issues and engage in more sustainable practices and design responses. “Going Green” specifically involves the initiatives taken to reduce, reuse, recycle, and be a better steward of the world’s materials and resources. With our own sustainable approach, SW+A is going green!
There is a long list of sustainable efforts that SW+A is putting into action in the near future, and it should be pointed out that SW+A has already implemented green practices within both the Mt. Pleasant and Greenville offices. Currently, SW+A recycles ink cartridges and batteries, turns off lights when unused, shares community trashcans, and recycles all office paper products. Specifically considering recycled office paper, both SW+A offices combined recycle 310 pounds of office paper every two weeks, which is equal to 1.24 tons of paper recycled every 4 months. SW+A could save more than 16 trees every quarter, which is a total of saving more than 64 trees each year!
As SW+A takes action on new plans to green the office, it begins to go beyond just recycling paper. In celebration of Earth Day on April 22nd, SW+A Mt. Pleasant takes the next step. The Mt. Pleasant office will implement new reusable kitchen utensils and products to replace the paper cups, plates and plastic silverware. They have introduced new items such as dishwasher-safe reusable plates made in the USA; dishwasher-safe, microwaveable-safe dishware and coffee mugs made in the USA; dishwasher-safe, reusable tumblers; and Spudware, an 80% potato starch, 20% soy oil flatware innovation that is reusable and dishwasher-safe! As disposable products are needed for specific uses, they will be 100% recyclable, biodegradable and compostable materials. In a cost comparison that included the cost of materials and cost of electricity and water, we calculated that the implementation of reusable kitchen products will save SW+A over $400 per year!
SW+A will continue to create a sustainable office culture so look out for our new green practices… and make sure to practice in your own home! A few green hints in the home: USE REUSABLE BAGS because more energy is wasted from the production of plastic AND paper bags, even if they are recycled; RINSE OUT RECYCLABLES but don’t waste water trying to get every smudge of food (Beer bottles – you can leave fruit slices in the bottles; Peanut butter jars – small smears of PB can remain when recycling; Soap remnants can remain in soap/detergent bottles; Staples and tape on paper do not require removal before recycling); DISHWASHING with a fully loaded dishwasher takes less energy than the water wasted when hand washing, and don’t use the heat-dry option with dishwasher, use the air-dry option to save energy; and also USE COLD WATER for washing laundry because your clothes get just as clean and it saves energy. The opportunities are endless…GO GREEN and SUSTAIN YOURSELF! SW+A did!