As a consultancy that specializes in sustainable waste management, it has been an important tradition for Great Forest to follow the principles of zero waste. Since its inception in 1989, Great Forest has put into practice the best waste diversion systems available not only for our clients but for our own business operations, housed in a 5-story brownstone in Manhattan.
The TRUE process of reviewing points of generation prompted us to take existing reuse and recycling programs and formalize them by establishing policies and procedures dedicated to these programs: cardboard and packaging reuse, plastic film recycling and food waste sent to local composting sites. We were able to utilize Great Forest’s vast training and educational resources that we use for our clients in our own office headquarters. Creating a regular schedule of zero waste activities has proved to be a great opportunity to not only discuss the office waste diversion programs, but also introduce and discuss zero waste as a concept for all staff to adopt and incorporate into their own day to day work regardless of their position in the company.
The project achieved a 91.26% diversion rate via the recycling and composting programs as well as waste reduction programs. The team incorporated waste avoided into the diversion rate by identifying the total weight of paper products no longer purchased, over 150 lbs worth.
To engage the public in zero waste activities, the Great Forest Zero Waste Team held a Zero Waste Photo Contest challenging staff to show off their best zero waste strategies via social media. The initiative got a lot of participation, thanks in part to the competition aspect with a prize for the photo with the most engagement. Photos showing zero waste efforts, both at home and at the office, were posted to the Great Forest Facebook page to share the actions we are taking to go zero waste here at 2014 Fifth and as part of our daily lifestyles, while encouraging friends, family and the community to do the same!
“As a consultancy focusing on getting our clients to improve their waste programs, we pursued TRUE certification to walk the walk and show how an office can achieve zero waste.” - Anna Dengler, Senior Sustainability Advisor