This past summer the super cool company Burt’s Bees announced it was going zero waste. They were always a company who cared about the planet (as evidenced by their commitment to natural based products) and recycled the basics -- paper, plastic, metal, glass -- but within just three short years their special task force of ECOBEES rendered their dumpsters useless.
So how on Earth did they do it?
Well it started out with six-bin waste-sorting stations being sprinkled all over their offices. Employees were encouraged to sort it out and harness the responsibility of, well, being responsible! In particular the company is most proud of the compost station as it has managed to keep 300 tons of material out of landfills over the past 31 months, since March 2008.
Not only have they managed to recycle or reuse the top four ‘basics’ items above, but they went that step further and now recycle every bit of their corrugated cardboard, chipboard, wood, shrink wrap and fiberboard too.
They created a way to give back to the Earth with the compost station. In the break room employees are encouraged to grab a one time type use utensil -- they are 100% compostable and made from potatos (reusable too)! They also found a way to extend the lifecycle of recycled waste other than as fertilizer or simply being melted down to create more of the same.
At special waste-to-energy facilities, the items that can’t be utilized for other sources (ie. compost into soil) are used as fuel to power cement kilns. Even after the items in question have been burned, the leftover ash is mixed in to make cinder blocks.
And oh yeah, they are also composting the waste residue left over at their water treatment facility.
The ECOBEES staged all manner of dumpster diving and bee-cycle swaps (Get it? Bee-cycle instead of Freecycle? Those Bees sure are a clever bunch!), and with their continued efforts who knows how far Burt’s Bees will be able to take their environmental awareness.
Thanks Burt’s Bees, it’s companies like yours that teach the rest of us that eco-responsibility can happen at work no matter how big or how small the staff or organization! ♥love♥
Thanks to GLR friend Julie for sending over this story idea!