Green Team at Fair Trade USA

The Green Team had been without leadership for some time, but I made it a priority to restart the office initiative with the Front Office Coordinator and Resource Development Assistant at Fair Trade USA.

In partnership with the Office Manager, I laid out a plan to switch away from purchasing healthier, non-individually packaged snacks for the staff. The program was piloted with jars that the organization already owned with the vendor that they already used. During the pilot, feedback was collected. Overwhelmingly the staff was in support of the new healthier snack choices (e.g. dried mango, trail mix, and organic, Fair Trade Certified gummies) and less packaging waste. Almost a year later the system is still in place–although exceptions on packaging are made for Fair Trade Certified lollipops.

exceptions on packaging are made for Fair Trade Certified lollipops
Packaging for snacks is allowed if they are Fair Trade Certified lollipops!

But the snack waste was not the only issue. It was clear that the staff did not always know how to properly sort waste, and the bins in the office were scattered and inconsistent (with how many bins were offered and what signage was available). Additionally, the office was growing, and it was becoming expensive to have landfill bins at each desk, let alone recycling and compost bins at each desk.

The new Green Team’s first initiative became a project of centralizing the bin systems. Following the advice of a local waste management company: Recology and the example of Pinterest’s® headquarters, a system was designed to remove all the personal bins, and only have convenient 3-bin stations throughout the office. Again, working closely with the Office Manager and the staff in the transition, the Green Team presented at the All-Staff Meeting and answered everyone’s questions about waste sorting.

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