One of the great things about working at DMC is the company’s support of internal initiatives. From the creation of our Diversity and Inclusion Taskforce to creating a beautiful LED sign for our Denver office, DMC really lives by one of our core values, "Make Things Happen." At a previous weekly status meeting, we held a brainstorming session to think of ways to make DMC more sustainable. To celebrate Earth Day, we want to highlight some of the initiatives that came out of that meeting and the different ways DMCers are making our company more eco-friendly.
1. Reduction of Single-Use Plastics
Prior to these initiatives, DMC stocked individual plastic water bottles, orange juices, and creamer cups in the kitchen. Now, we've stopped stocking single-use items and instead purchase gallon orange juice jugs and quarts of half-and-half, which come in recyclable containers. Employees also now use glassware in the kitchen for all of their beverage needs and for water, the DMC staff can fill up at one of the kitchen’s water coolers. Additionally, we're also transitioning from using single-use cleaning wipes to using a cleaning spray and cloths.
2. Spreading Knowledge About Recycling
There’s a lot to know about recycling—far more than most people realize! During our brainstorm session about possible eco-friendly initiatives, we covered some things about recycling that you may not be aware of. For example, even though all plastic items have a number printed on them to indicate what kind of recyclable they are, not every city will recycle every item.
The City of Chicago does not recycle #6 plastics, aka. styrofoam. Also, recyclable items that haven’t been rinsed out are also not always recyclable. It's best practice to always rinse things like yogurt cups, peanut butter containers, and jam jars (or even better, run through the dishwasher) before they're recycled.
At our Boston office, they found that their building didn't have a recycling service. Therefore, the Boston team did some research and now work with Earthworm Recycling to have monthly pickups.
To spread knowledge about what can and cannot be recycled, DMC printed the EPA’s “Top 10 in the Bin” poster and hung copies above all the receptacles in our kitchens.
3. Plastic Bag Recycling
Plastic bags can even be recycled! Rather than add to the immense mass of plastic bags in the Pacific Ocean, consider saving your clean, dry plastic bags and recycle them at a local store. To aid in this effort, we added a plastic bag recycling station to our upstairs kitchen where employees can deposit things like bubble mailers, Ziploc bags, and shopping bags.
Every few weeks, the bags are taken to be recycled. Our Chicago office is within a mile of a Best Buy, Mariano’s, and Target—all of which will take plastic bags (for free!) to be recycled. You can find out which stores closest to you accept plastic bags by entering your zip code here. This is an easy way to make a big impact on the health of our oceans and ecosystems.
One of the best initiatives to come out of the brainstorming session has been composting. To support company-wide composting efforts, DMC Chicago put a compost tumbler on the roof deck to complement our roof garden. There's a large bucket in our kitchen with a list of what can and cannot be composted hanging above it, so employees can easily and quickly be sure they're composting the right things. We even formed a compost team!
With the help of a compost team, the bucket is emptied into the composter tumbler every week. When everything has properly decomposed and is ready to go back into the earth, we like to contribute it to our rooftop garden in the summer!
If you take anything away from this blog, we hope it’s this: everything mentioned above doesn't require too much effort. In the case of reducing single-use plastics, that's created even less work around the office because we already had glassware and we no longer need to stock as many items in the refrigerator.
If you’re considering making eco-friendly changes in your workplace or home, don’t feel daunted! The payoff always far outweighs the cost.
Wish you were working at DMC and recycling stuff too? Check out our careers page!