Archive for July, 2008

It’s not easy being green…

July 3, 2008 1 comment

You have to fight the green monster with your mind, not your fists.  – Matthew Broderick


True Story


We are in a world where companies are trying to save money on one hand or go green on the other hand and sometimes these conflict.  It seems to me that going green also can cause more waste and use more energy than what people were doing before they were green.


A buddy of mine works for a company who recently removed all garbage can’s from their offices.  This was a money saving tactic.  Employees now need to carry trash to a central location to discard it.  I made fun of him because I work for a company where for 15 years I have had a black "garbage" can in my office sitting next to a grey "can" can, and a cardboard box for recycled paper.  These take up a lot of room in each of the 100k offices around the world.


A few days I came into the office to find that "we" made a new smarter move to reconfigure our garbage cans.  Now each employee has the same black garbage can for garbage and the grey can and cardboard box have been replaced with a new blue garbage can for recyclable items.  This includes aluminum cans and paper.  My first instinct was why not email us and say to throw more stuff in the grey can…


But wait it gets better.  At the same time we switched all of our kitchenette products to be "green" and so they are now compostable.  All of these items now must go in the new compost bins and should not go in the black garbage can or the blue garbage can.   Most of what I see in people’s offices are either plates, cups, and silverware, aluminum pop cans or paper.  So now 80% of the waste we create must be taken to the compost bin because it is not eligible for the new office configuration.


Using compostable plates, cups, and silverware may be smart but what happened to the million utensils that were in the kitchens on Friday?  What happened to the 100k grey garbage cans?




On the Monday that the compostable showed up we were also  hit with a barrage of new signs.  These signs were placed in every kitchenette and along some strategic locations in the halls.  The signs taken individually are meant to help people adapt to the new compostable technology.  When looked at as a group they become a SNL skit waiting to happen.


The signs… (my reaction in parenthesis)


Do Your Part – It takes you to be a success! (Thank you.  I needed a sign to tell me it is up to me to reduce the impacts of Al Gore)


Please Remember – Coffee Cup Lids = Trash, Coffee Cups = Compost, Coffee Sleeves = Recycle, Stir sticks = Recycle.  Please separate these before disposing of them as to not contaminate the waste streams.  (What about the impact to my work streams?  and since when do we need stir sticks and sleeves?)


Warning! Spoon may warp if left in hot fluids such as coffee.  Pleas use a stir stick.   (Ah – now I understand the need for stir sticks.  I can’t wait to try my cup of soup today)


Do your part, please take only one plate.  (Before we had compostable plates I would take 7 or 8 just for the fun of it.  Does going green mean I lose my lunchtime joy?)


Warning:  HOT! – New compostable cups conduct heat – please use a sleeve!  (No lie on this one.  Dang they are hot.  I am glad I can now wrap my compostable cup in a recyclable layer and then later separate them and sort trash as part of my day.)


Did you Know?  Your kitchenette has gone green!  (No I did not…)




So now when I walk into the kitchen it is covered in little "green" signs that appear to be made out of some hazardous shiny paper.   I used to use a single polystyrene cup to drink my coffee and now I must use a cup that makes my coffee taste like old potato water and use a cardboard sleeve as to not burn myself.  When I forget about the new wooden stir sticks I end up with a melted spoon that adds to the new found flavor of the cup.


When I am done with the coffee I have a choice to make.   Get up and walk past rows and rows of black and blue garbage can’s to throw it in the new central compost bin or just drop it in the wrong can in my office so I can get some work done.


Did I mention that while the new cups are conducting heat into the palm of my hand my coffee is actually getting cold quicker?  So now I must get up twice as often dumping a third of my coffee down the drain. 


I work in an awesome place and I am very grateful to have a garbage can in my office.   Sometimes however the change that happens around us does not always seem to make sense.  Is it really good for the environment?  Is it good for my EPS? 




Categories: High Speed, Low Drag