Haste Makes Waste:

How often have you just thrown something in the trash mindlessly because it was ‘too much effort’ to walk to the recycling bin at the other end of the office? Or used one corner of an A4 piece of paper and then just thrown it away? We at Actsafe can proudly say that we have absolutely no idea what you are talking about!!

As part of our green initiative, we have installed a ‘Zero Waste Station’ at the front of the office, and removed individual bins from offices and classrooms. The aim was to increase conscious waste disposal, and if we lost a few pounds walking to the front of the office all the better!

Single use plastics bottles are a no-no here at Actsafe. We always have the kitchen cabinet full to the brim with glasses and cups, and Carolyn always has a pot of fair-trade coffee ready in the morning so we don’t need to stop to get a to-go coffee on our way to work.  

We always choose fair-trade where possible, and we expect the vendors we choose to also do the same. We take our time sourcing vendors and always choose sustainable ones, who are like-minded with similar sustainability goals to us. The same goes for when we have catering for events. We always request that the caterer doesn’t use single-use plastic to deliver ingredients e.g. cellophane, plastic cutlery, single-use trays etc.

Someday My Prints Will Come

We need to print A LOT – come on, have you seen the number of bulletins, fact sheets, and posters we’ve got? We have made the decision to reduce the amount of unnecessary pages printed, by asking ourselves – ‘do I really need to print this?’ ’Can I print this double sided?’and so on. And just in case some of us forget to ask ourselves this question, we have Mo tracking the number of prints per month.

If that wasn’t enough, we have switched to Sugar Sheet for in-house printing. This stuff is awesome! You would never realise it wasn’t ‘normal’ paper and it makes us feel all warm and fuzzy inside knowing that by choosing Sugar Sheet we have helped to reduce deforestation, CO2 emissions, and the amount of water used in the production of paper. In 2018, we saved 6.05 trees, and 381.39kg CO2!

Every. Last. Bite.

We are always looking at ways to reduce the amount of food we waste. Last year, we noted that a lot of the food that was being delivered to us had a short shelf life which didn’t suit our busy and ever-changing schedules, and that our avocados would not be ripe until Friday which wasn’t much use to us. Jen decided to shop around and found another grocery supplier that could guarantee that our food delivery met both our sustainability goals and our ‘it’s 3 o’clock and I need a snack’ goals.

We also have this nifty system where we put stickers on our food that indicates whether it is for the team or for personal use. That way we know what we can eat and what we can’t eat, and helps us reduce waste. We are always letting each other know though if we have brought in food that we can’t finish ourselves and then it’s anyone’s. One food that never goes to waste here is pastries; just ask Anand!

Out Like a Light

If you have ever been to one of Actsafe’s courses, (and if not, what are you waiting for? See our courses here), then you know that we have motion-sensor bulbs installed in the classrooms. Sometimes this means that the classroom will go dark for a second, but we love that because that means we’ve saved one second of energy. Yay!

Life Lesson

Actsafe has partnered up with Reel Green and have introduced the Carbon Literacy course to inspire others on how to live and work in a more sustainable way. As part of the Actsafe team you must also take this course to make sure that every member has a clear understanding of how sustainability fits in with our day-to-day operations.  

2019 GOALS:

Rainforest Rescue

Remember earlier we mentioned that warm and fuzzy feeling we get from using Sugar Sheet? Well we are very greedy, and needed even more of this feeling, so that’s when Ella told us about the negative effects of palm oil: displacement of indigenous peoples, deforestation and loss of biodiversity, and how we can help. This year we are looking at sourcing products that don’t contain palm oil. We are speaking with our food delivery service and asking them to check the ingredients on our ordered products and substituting out the offenders for palm oil free alternatives.

Ditching the Single Life

Internally, we have already stopped using single-use plastics but we are also encouraging anyone who enters the Actsafe workplace to do the same. On all of our pre-course emails we let attendees know that they are to bring their own drinking vessels, as we won’t be providing any non-compostable options.

Another switch that will be made is from single-use wooden coffee stirrers to metal spoons. Although these stirrers are compostable, there are still an unnecessary number of trees being chopped down for this purpose and we don’t want to add to this.

Support Network

In 2019 we want to give more back to our community. We already have a giving program where annually we give a percentage of our revenue to a charity of our choice. We want to give more of our time to volunteering so starting 2019 we are devoting one day a year to volunteer as a team, and encouraging each team member to volunteer at least one other day themselves. Lisa is always adding new charities to our list so we have plenty to choose from. Feel free to contact us if you would like to be added to the list: info@actsafe.ca.

Blind Spot:

During the warm summer months the sun is going to be beaming through the windows in the office. To counteract this, the amount of air conditioning being used must be increased. This is not cost or energy effective. Research has found that by closing the blinds in the office it lowers the amount of air conditioning needed which is a plus for the environment. Hopefully we can encourage all the other offices in our building, and yours too, to do the same.

Pick of the Litter

We are always taking notes at Actsafe and Harnak told us that we were blowing the stationary budget by throwing out half-used pieces of paper. In came Don with the genius idea of installing a scrap paper station in our office so that each piece of paper is used to its full potential. If we haven’t used every part of the piece of paper we will put it in the basket for someone else to use. We are also looking at cutting each of the pieces of paper down to a smaller size, stapling them together and using them as notepads by our desk.  

Lights Out

LED bulbs have been found to be more environmentally friendly than traditional light bulbs and therefore we are installing LED bulbs in all our office lamps. We are also endeavouring to turn off all the lights in our office when they aren’t being used and make sure that they are all switched off at the end of the day. We’ll put Manu is charge of this as he’s the last in the office and the electricity bill!

A Load of Rubbish

Even though we have signage above our Zero Waste Station, people still put the wrong items in the wrong compartment. I guess it’s true what they say: ‘people never look up’! Lisa has already put some stickers on the bins telling people to look up if they aren’t sure which compartment it goes in. Mo has been donning her rubber gloves and digging deep into each compartment daily to find out what the main offenders are/what confuses people the most. We will then update the signage above the station with the most common errors to reduce contamination.

How to Save a Life

The opioid crisis has become an epidemic in British Columbia. In order to be ready to help others, the Actsafe team have all been trained on how to administer Naloxone to someone suffering an overdose. We have partnered with the Construction Industry Rehabilitation Plan to deliver Naloxone courses to Actsafe’s members so that more people will know how to help someone in need.

To be continued…

Stay tuned! We always have more plans to save the world and you’ll be the first to know them!