In this month's newsletter:
- Save the Dates
- Ward & Meyers: Accounting for Environmental Impact through Actions
- Sustainable Practices: Mariners Hospital Certified in GLEE’s Green Business Program
- Straight Talk on Commercial Recycling
- Spring into Green with Sustainable Practices
- EcoWeek Sponsors Help Recycling Happen in Monroe County Public Places
- Recycling Without Borders
It’s high season in the Florida Keys and there’s no shortage of events to attend and causes to support. This season, GLEE announces Sustainable Solutions, a monthly workshop and speaker series that will offer education on specific green topics at strategic locations throughout the Keys. To make participation easier for all, GLEE will be offering real time online participation for those who want to sign on during the event. Please save time to attend the events GLEE and our partner organizations have planned to increase environmental awareness and sustainable practices to reduce impact on our beautiful and unique ecosystems.
Thursday, March 10, 5:30 to 7:30 PM
Key West Bicycle Association Kick Off - Meet the founding members and hear about the goals of this fast growing group that wants to improve safety for bicyclists. Enjoy complimentary food, happy hour prices, gifts, raffles and door prizes. All bicycle enthusiasts are welcome. At this meeting you can become a member or help support the KWBA through sponsorship. For Further information contact Tom Wheaton, Event Coordinator, 305-766-8330
Tuesday, March 29, Time TBA
Florida Keys Electric Cooperative, Tavernier Facility, MM91.5
Sustainable Solutions: Biodiesel for Greener Fleets - FKEC shares the success of the utility’s biodiesel-fueled fleet and other energy saving measures being practiced at this innovative GLEE Green Certified facility. Attend in person or watch online as part of GLEE’s new Sustainable Solutions education program! If you are interested in being a sponsor of this seminar, contact email@example.com. To participate, just before 6:30 p.m. click here.
Meeting Number: 821 812 048
Meeting Password: GLEEsss1
Saturday, April 2, 9 a.m. - 4 p.m.
Eco Discovery Center in Key West, 33 East Quay Road
Activist Training - Environmental activists from the Florida Keys will come together for an organizer training hosted by Oceana. The training is dedicated to teaching organizing skills needed to make a difference for our environment and oceans. Trainings will include: event planning, issue-briefings of offshore drilling and clean energy, how a grassroots campaign operates and developing an action plan for an event to bring attention to the dangers of offshore drilling on the anniversary of the Deepwater Horizon oil spill on April 20th. Lunch and morning refreshments will be served, attendance is free but space limited. Please e-mail Katie Parrish at firstname.lastname@example.org to RSVP, or call her at (305) 741-9416 with questions.
Tuesday, April 5, Rain Barrel Workshop 7 p.m.
Potluck for Participants at 6 p.m.
Key West Tropical Forest and Botanical Garden
Sustainable Solutions: Water Conservation through Rain Water Harvesting - GLEE & KWBG will host a rain barrel workshop where participants have the choice of watching, learning and taking notes, or actually building a 55-gallon rain barrel to take home and use. There is no fee to attend and learn. To build a rain barrel, the fee is $45. To reserve Rain Barrel supplies as a workshop participant, call Bridget McDonald at 305-923-1994 no later than March 30th. Potluck will take place at 6 p.m. in the KWBG Courtyard; Workshop will be held in the Nature Chapel. To learn more about rain water harvesting
Friday, April 22, 5-8 p.m.
GLEE Night at The Bottle Cap Groove Lounge
1128 Simonton St., Key West
It’s Earth Day and somebody’s birthday! Please join us at the Bottle Cap for our annual Earth Day Celebration. Compete in the Healthy Living Cook-Off, or pay a small fee to be a judge. Prizes, raffle and entertainment too!
It’s a small accounting office with only eight employees, but the opportunities for greening operations continue to be explored at Ward & Meyers, the most recent business to meet the standards of the Green Business Certification Program offered by GLEE.
Located at 3201 Flagler Ave., Suite 506, Ward & Meyers uses only energy-efficient fluorescent lighting throughout the 760-square-foot facility. Staff recycles everything possible, and also use recycled paper supplies and eco-friendly cleaning products. But the biggest impact on the accounting firm’s carbon footprint might be the move to electronic files, eliminating the mass consumption of paper that was once considered necessary in the accounting industry.
“Using electronic files saves us time and money in printing, ink and paper,” said Maria Diaz, Ward & Meyers Green Team Leader. “Fewer file cabinets also means more office space,” she adds, something that is valued in this cozy work environment.
Currently, printed documents, most of which are confidential in nature, are shredded for recycling immediately, while electronic versions are stored online. The process of scanning nearly 570 client files for electronic storage took almost one year, but was well worth it, says Diaz.
Ward & Meyers are members of U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's (EPA) Waste Wise Program. The company has also adopted a “Go Green” policy to instill the importance of energy conservation and waste reduction. According to the policy, the thermostat is kept at 78 degrees during the day, and turned down to 80 at night. All computers, copiers and fax machines are turned off at night, and when not in use during regular hours, offices are dark. In the kitchenette, staff has access to reusable cups, and paper cups – not Styrofoam – are provided for visitors.
As an added conservation measure, Ward & Meyers plan to experiment this summer with less overhead lighting in an effort to reduce heat and overall energy consumption.
For more information on how to become a Green Certified Business, contact Bridget McDonald at email@example.com or call 305-923-1994.
Certified GLEE Green Business Partners Ward & Myers, LLC, CPA, Green Team (from left): Office Mascot ZIP, Laurie Hensley, Larry Ward, Mary Beth Meyers, Danielle Occhiuto, Renee Tompkins, Maria Diaz, and Jessica Popovice.
Mariners Hospital in Tavernier has become the first medical facility in the Florida Keys to become certified in GLEE’s Green Business Certification Program. Mariners Hospital is a community hospital serving the Upper Keys and is a part of Baptist Health South Florida, a recognized leader in eco-friendly, energy-efficient practices, and the largest not-for-profit healthcare organization in South Florida.
“We are greening our facility step-by-step, by implementing sustainability practices and making plans for further improvements,” said Jill Miranda Baker, manager of Medical Staff Services and Mariners’ Green Team leader.
Eco-friendly practices include a move toward greater energy efficiency. For example, Mariners recently began replacing fluorescent light bulbs with LED lighting, an investment expected to pay for itself with energy-savings during a two-year timeframe.
“Finding new ways to conserve energy is the right thing to do,” said Carlos Hernandez, Baptist Health’s director of Corporate Development. “LED lights are not as hot, and they contain no mercury.” The flicker and buzzing associated with old fluorescent bulbs will not be missed either, he said. The longer-lasting LEDs also will reduce maintenance costs. In addition, GLEE assessors visited areas of the hospital that use a timed-lighting system, in which lights and equipment are on only when targeted areas are in use.
Mariners Hospital’s Facilities Supervisor Randy Crenshaw described another major savings of resources and cost – a closed-loop air conditioning system, which does not waste water and provides superior efficiency over traditional central A/C systems.
Paper usage has decreased not only at Mariners Hospital, but also throughout Baptist Health. Large documents, such as the Baptist Health annual employee benefits manual, are available electronically to the organization’s 14,000 employees, eliminating the need to print and distribute multiple copies of the over 40-page document. A majority of Baptist Health employees use direct deposit and access their payroll information through a secure online system. Employment applications also are provided online. Letterhead, business cards and printed communications are produced on recycled and mixed-source paper with vegetable-based inks.
By conducting a thorough waste audit, Mariners Hospital has reduced solid waste and increased recycling. Confidential papers are shredded and then collected for recycling. Bins located throughout the campus make recycling of cardboard, newspapers, plastics and aluminum easier for staff and visitors. In addition, printer cartridges are recycled, and old furniture is donated locally for reuse.
Landscaping practices at Mariners include native and drought-resistant plants and trees with a closely monitored irrigation system. Measures to allow rainwater collection for use on landscaping is on the horizon, according to Green Team members.
For more information about GLEE’s Green Business Certification Program, please contact Bridget McDonald at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 305-923-1994.
From left: GLEE board members Karen Beal and Sara Hamilton present GLEE’s Green Business Certification to Mariners Hospital green team members Jill Miranda Baker, Randy Crenshaw and Carlos Hernandez.
Greg Sullivan of Waste Management (WM), recently answered questions about the ins and outs of commercial recycling on KONK Radio’s EcoCentric View.
“Working with businesses to become green certified, many are setting up commercial recycling accounts for the first time. There seems to be a lot of fear and confusion about the cost of recycling,” said Bridget McDonald, coordinator of GLEE’s Green Business Program. Sullivan said the fee depends on the size and number of the recycling containers as well as the number of pick ups, so is it a different fee for every business depending on needs.
Sullivan said businesses can recycle with WM for as little as $3 a month, which covers the cost of an 18-gallon recycling bin picked up weekly. That’s great news for some businesses, but most have more recyclable waste than a typical household bin can accommodate. Sullivan said rates for a larger 32-gallon plastic totter start at $39 a month, while a 95-gallon recycling tote on wheels starts at $78 a month, with a once a week pick up.
Sullivan said recycling might cost a bit more to set up, but for many businesses, recycling is either saving them money or their waste hauling expenses remain the same once recycling is implemented. Here’s why -- what had been going into the solid waste bin, is now being recycled, reducing solid waste volume, and in some cases, reducing overall fees.
Sullivan also answered some of the frequently asked questions GLEE gets about commercial recycling with Waste Management.
GLEE: I rent a commercial space and the trash fee is included in the rent. It does not cover recycling. Can I recycle if I pay for it myself?
WM: Yes. Call Margaret Lara at 797-3312. (Margaret is the local WM Commercial Account person.)
GLEE: I want to recycle in my business and have my own recycling containers throughout the property. If I label them with the Recycling sticker, will WM empty these containers, or do I have to empty them into a WM receptacle?
WM: If they are 32-gallon and less than 50 lbs., we can dump them. We would like them to be in a central location. Service would need to be set up for proper billing.
GLEE: I hear from many people that it’s no use to recycle, because it all goes to the WM Waste to Energy plant where it’s burned. What percentage of our recyclable waste is actually recycled?
WM: We ship all recyclables to our plant in Broward. Of the 1,000 tons sorted per day, we do have 10% rejected as waste.
GLEE: I have an old refrigerator that needs to be hauled away. How do I arrange this?
WM: Remove the doors for safety and call 296-8297. For residential, there is no charge.
GLEE: My business has a large amount of cardboard to be recycled, but no space for the large dumpster WM provides for cardboard. Can I still recycle cardboard?
WM: Yes we can visit the site and look for options like a baler, shared location close by or we can arrange a hand pickup.
GLEE: We can’t afford a commercial recycling account. Can we share one with the neighboring business?
WM: Yes, but they must be adjacent as per city code. We don’t want material moved all around.
GLEE: What incentives does WM offer businesses to recycle?
WM: All our rates are contractual and set by county or city contracts. Recycling is cheaper than trash service and most important, the right thing to do.
GLEE: Some of the new plant-based products that are biodegradable and compostable have a recycling symbol, but are labeled “Can not be recycled with other clear plastics.” Why do they have a recycling symbol? How can consumers know the difference between plastic and the new bio-plastic?
WM: Look at the packaging labels. It can be very misleading. They are all trying to get your business. The internet is very helpful.
Everyone knows the bulk of the solid waste generated in the Florida Keys comes from businesses. Yet commercial recycling in the Keys is one of the lowest in the state. Any business that wants to establish a recycling account should know that by recycling more material and diverting a higher percentage of waste, you can reduce your environmental footprint and potentially lower your overall disposal costs. Click here to request a commercial recycling quote from WM, or call your local waste hauler to find out what they charge.
GLEE Volunteers Bonnie Greenburg and Trisha Quigley Regan attended the GLEE on-site assessment at Mariners Hospital that resulted in Green Business Certification. Bonnie has been writing grants and serving as a fundraising consultant to GLEE. Trisha, who is new to the Keys, is helping to promote and implement GLEE’s Green Business Program.
Have you ever compared the price of a large container of something with a smaller one? If so, then you know that buying the larger size is almost always cheaper on a per ounce basis.
Purchasing in bulk is just part of a strategy that anyone can take to money. Some might call it “green,” others would say that it’s just a smarter way to live. Here are some additional tips that you can use right now that will help you through tough times.
1. Buy durables, not disposables.
We live in a disposable society, tossing out everything from razors to paper napkins to computers. However, it’s easy to see it quickly becomes very expensive. Using tap water instead of bottled, cloth napkins instead of paper or old t-shirts instead of paper towels always costs less. Bottled water costs five times (or more) more than gasoline, even at today’s prices. The same amount of tap water costs less than pennies. If you’re on the move, take a reusable bottle with you.
2. Rent or borrow instead of buying
How often do you use a pressure washer? Or a chain saw? It’s much cheaper in the long run to rent these when you need them. You can even rent power tools or garden equipment.
3. Use rechargeable batteries
You can get dozens of uses from one set of rechargeable batteries. They are now available everywhere and the chargers are inexpensive. The amount of power you’ll use to recharge a battery is minimal and you won’t have to keep throwing batteries away.
4. Use those leftovers
A great site on the internet -- http://www.lovefoodhatewaste.com -- lists recipes by food type that enables you to use up leftovers instead of tossing it. And when you do have food waste, consider putting a compost bin in your yard. There are attractive-looking, self-contained composters that don’t smell and don’t attract rodents. Compost makes great natural – and free – fertilizing soil amendment for your plants.
5. Pack your lunch (or your kid’s lunch)
Restaurant food is always way more expensive than what you can make at home. Packing your lunch in a reusable container is a great way to use those leftovers too. You can make sure your child doesn’t eat a lot of junk food by sending them to school with a good lunch. And don’t forget to pack cloth napkins, thereby avoiding buying paper ones.
6. Get rid of clutter
Have stuff piling up in your closets? Sell it through a classified ad or through a yard sale. If you don’t want to sell stuff, donate it to www.keysreuse.com, a Keys non-profit. There are two-dozen groups from throughout the Keys listed on the site. They’d love to have your used, working items. Clothing, electronics, home furnishings and building materials are just some of the things that you can donate and ensure their reuse.
7. Buy used, surplus, refurbished or remanufactured goods
Whether you need a new kitchen cabinet, dress, or toner cartridge; you can save green with your purchases by visiting your local thrift store, consignment shop, building materials reuse center, or online reseller first. Plus you can save 75% off retail.
Start saving money by getting your 4Rs right. Refuse-Reduce-Reuse and then Recycle only as a last resort.
Michael Welber, a local writer and former editor of Keys Sunday, recently launched KeysReuse.com to help local non-profits survive during difficult financial times.
Ecoweek, a non-profit organization that promotes environmental education, preservation and eco-tourism in the Florida Keys, has successfully enlisted the support of 6 local businesses to get 18 recycling receptacles placed in county public places, specifically beaches and parks. For $250, sponsors get their company name and logo screened onto a recycling receptacle that is then placed in a public area. The containers are also labeled with current recycling information for locals and visitors alike (or remove that part as everyone needs the education). So far, sponsorships have come from Florida Keys Electric Coop, TIB Bank, Action Marine & Dive, Inc., Theater of the Sea, Coral Reef Title, and the Rotary Club of Key Largo.
EcoWeek organizers partnered with Monroe County Solid Waste and Recycling Department to attract sponsors to support the purchase and placement of approximately 250 recycle bins. The county kicked-off the effort by purchasing twelve bins last December. Park goers can find recycling bins at Harry Harris Park, Key Largo Park as well as Higgs Beach. Sponsors are sought for additional recycling bins at Key Largo Park and Harry Harris Park, as well as Bernstein Park and Big Pine Park.
For information about EcoWeek visit EcoWeek Florida Keys. http://ecoweekfloridakeys.com To sponsor a recycling receptacle with your family or business name, contact Christi Allen at 305.942.0808.
GLEE and the Upper Keys Mac User Group (UKMUG) are joining forces with Mike Mongo of Key West to send computers (Apple and PC) to schools and children in Jamaica. This is a great project that finds new uses for phased-out equipment and makes a big difference in the education and motivation of children. Mike personally goes over to help set up the systems and interact with the students and school. During the month of March, UKMUG will collect equipment in the Key Largo, Tavernier and Islamorada areas; the next container shipment and trip to Jamaica for Mike is in early April. You can call to make donations before Thursday, March 31.
What can be used:
- Laptops and computers, both Macintosh (with OS9 or better) and Windows (must be able to run XP, Vista or 7)
- Flatscreen monitors
- Hard drives
- RAM - memory
- Mice, keyboards, cords, USB routers
Note: Printers and the older, huge monitors cannot be used.
If you love the project, but don’t have a computer to donate, a few dollars towards the shipping would be most appreciated.
If you have questions or to coordinate collection, call 305-394-1841 or email email@example.com