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Peace, Love and Plastic

Living in Oregon, especially Portland, I’ve learned that being environmentally conscious is a big deal. Like, a really, big deal.

Here are a few recent examples that come to mind:

  • I was giving out free beach balls at a community event, and while they were very popular, I had one couple turn it down because they don’t allow plastic in the house.
  • At the same community event, I was giving out BBB-branded reusable aluminum water bottles. They were gone within the first 15 minutes of my arrival.
  • At my apartment complex, we have one, giant compost for garbage and distinctly separated areas for different types of recyclables This was very confusing to me when I first moved here from Queens, NY, where garbage bins overflow on every corner. 

My point is, being “green” here is important. You can see it everywhere, like at the grocery store where nearly everyone has reusable bags. Or simply look at the population of vegetarians and vegans in this city; they care so deeply about the environment, they have changed their entire diet and lifestyle.

I can’t argue with that – sustainable living is not only becoming more popular, but more important in the political and economic arenas. In New York, plastic bags at grocery stores are completely outlawed. Many individuals across the country take steps to reduce their carbon footprint and, I’m happy to say, many employers are as well.

One of those employers is Portland-based American College of Health Care Sciences (ACHS). ACHS is accredited with Better Business Bureau Northwest + Pacific and, recently, was awarded the number three spot within the 2019 100 Best Green Workplaces in Oregon. Number three! Out of 100! That’s huge. They also made the list in 2018.

Tracey Abell, chief operating officer at ACHS, is part of an engaged BBB-business and I was excited to shine this spotlight on the organization when she told me.

But let’s take it one step further. How can your business also reduce its carbon footprint? Hopefully you’ve already ditched plastic water bottles at home (don’t bring them to Portland, you might get yelled at). But what about at work? Here are some tips from BBB NW+P to go green:

  • Switch as much as you can from paper to digital. This includes billing statements, vendor contracts, human resources materials – the list goes on.
  • Supply the office with reusable coffee mugs. This helps cut down on the number of plastic or paper cups brought in from local cafes.
  • Spruce things up in the office with indoor plants to help absorb indoor pollution.
  • Be sure to have separate bins for recycling – one for paper, one for plastic.
  • If possible, consider allowing your employees to try a flexible work schedule. This makes room for them to work from home, change their commute and possibly bike or take public transit and/or carpool. All of which reduces carbon emissions from driving.
Display Of Spices In Sustainable Plastic Packaging Free Grocery Store
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Written by Danielle Kane

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