Green is so much more than a color these days.
Going green, living green, saving green: it’s a way of life, a product line focus, a political party, a building certification – the list goes on.
Believe what you want – there are certainly skeptics out there – but I think the “green movement” of recent years is a laudable trend. Yes, a lot of the marketing is skewed, making people feel guilty if they’re not driving a Prius or eating all organics. (Alex Williams confronts this issue, warning consumers that going green shouldn’t be all about spending MORE green, in this NYT piece).
Even if recycling all the bottles and bags in the world doesn’t stop global warming, there is nothing wrong with being a better steward of one’s resources. Recycle, reduce, reuse. Waste not, want not. In a country of excess, I say “green means go” for living responsibly and simply.
Many of us know someone who lived through the Great Depression, and boy, did those people know how to live frugally. Really, they had no other choice, but certainly these folks could be considered the earliest pioneers of the green movement. And although today’s eco-conscious groundswell might be just as trendy as indie movies, social media and skinny jeans, the younger generations aren’t the only ones getting involved.
North Hill, a CCRC (continuing care retirement community) in the Boston area, is doing their part, supporting “an ongoing initiative to promote sustainability,” according to Erin Read Ruddick of Creating Results, a marketing/PR firm focused on mature consumers.
There are a number of ways the community is accomplishing this goal:
- Green tips are shared by a resident group on a monthly basis via newsletters, emails, and in meetings.
- Employees are involved too: on Earth Day in April, a team of 10 “Green Ambassadors” resolved not to use plastic ware or Styrofoam (plates, cups, trays, etc.) in the community’s dining area, and instead packed lunch in a reusable box/bag. The results? In a few month’s time, the community’s daily lunch waste has been reduced by approximately 750 bottles/cans; 2,250 plastic utensils, and 750 Styrofoam containers. Now, North Hill is offering a free water bottle and lunch container to any other employees who pledge to cut back on waste by packing a more earth-friendly lunch.
- Everyone – staff, residents and management alike – is staying on their toes, monitoring their cumulative recycling efforts and communicating progress.
Check out these impressive recycling stats (from the month of January only):
- 1700 pounds of cardboard = .9375 tons
- 5200 pounds of newspaper = 2.988 tons
And here’s the equally impressive translation of those stats, illustrating what North Hill’s recycling program saved in just one month:
- 67 adult trees
- 24 cubic yards of landfill space
- 16,827 kilowatts of electricity (= 10 barrels of oil)
They also reduced their carbon footprint by 4 metric tons of carbon, equivalent to removing 3 cars from the roadway on an annual basis.
North Hill’s going green. How about you?
Talkback: What is your family, senior living community, or workplace doing to live more responsibly?