Jan 24, 2007

Compacting your Job!

I have a fabulous job as a professional dog handler. Over the past few years, my employers at Pooches' Playtime have made a lot of efforts to green our small business (including letting me play recycling tyrant). I know that I'm lucky because I have kick ass employers, who also have their own dedication toward environmental stewardship. And you definitely have more influence in a small business than in a large one.
But by emphasizing savings and efficiency, many of us can mitigate the impact of our jobs. Maybe some of the changes we've made will give you some ideas for your job.

Water / Energy Use:
- We do a lot of laundry, but since the California energy crisis, we only wash full loads in off peak hours. We dry it outside on the chain link fence whenever possible.
- We've also learned that by using quick drying fabrics for dog beds, we save on the dryer time if we have to use it.
- Whenever possible, we make use of our grey water. Often for things like plants, or first scrub on the floors.

We converted to biodegradeable cleaners 3 years ago. Baking soda and vinegar are the most
commonly used in our facility. Borax and castille soap are also helpful. Safer for dogs, too!

- My bosses both drive hybrids for picking the dogs up at their homes for park outings.

Post It's be gone! We've found enough scrap paper to last a life time for notes and messages.
- We encourage our clients not to individually package their dogs' lunch/ boarding meals in plastic bags, but rather to bring one bag from which we'll scoop the portions.
- For poop, we only use bags that have been used before. We pick them up at Safeway from the recycling collection or take overflow from our clients.

Most Compact friendly of all, we encourage people to adopt dogs, rather than buy them from a breeder. We have a very successful foster care program through which we've placed over 75 dogs in the past 6 years. Right now we have 3 pugs, one pug mix, a chihuahua, and a yellow lab who all think compacting is cool. Beds are best when they've been worn in a bit!


Anonymous said...

Quick-drying natural fiber fabrics, Rachel?

rachel said...

the quickest drying fabrics are definitely not natural, except the fleece (which is gross for its own reasons).
but all of our bedding is donated, used. we just prioritize it all based on weight.

Theo said...

Greetings from Germany. Fab idea. I will spread the word over here!

Supriyo said...

Thanks for some practical tips.

Melly said...

My law firm is also getting more enviornmentally conscious, which is great. Some steps my firm has taken:
1) "Corporate Vehicles" are Honda Civic Hybrids.
2) Efforts to make sure that we reduce our power use by turning off every light/ computer when not in use.
3) A copy of "An Inconvient Truth" to every office for the employees to watch if they desire.
4) (And this one is just personal): I use all my paper on both sides. I need to see my work on paper to edit it, so I reuse paper on both sides before putting it in the shredding bin (attorney- client privlidge issues) and then its recycled after shredding.
5) Employee incentives to stop smoking (a discount on health insurance), and buy hybrid cars.

rachel said...

That's great! I wonder if there are ways to let clients know about business changes so that they can choose to use environmentally friendly business.
The paper waste at many offices must be insane. I was walking down 18th st not too long ago and found a huge stack of paper that had only been printed on one side. It was a transcript of a trial. My roommate and I now use it for our printing, which means I don't have to go through the recycle bins at the SFSU computer labs for several months.

noneil27 said...

Thanks for illustrating a work model that actually works. I work in a smaller office of people who think conservation is somehow unpatriotic and it's refreshing to see a management team being supportive. I'm relatively new in my position and uncomfortable being a "tyrant" right now but plan to start being more aggressive in the future.
As always, thanks for the post.

Mark and Janet said...

Greetings from Sydney, Australia! I just read about this compact thing for the first time this weekend. My wife and I have been trying to practice the same kind of thing for some time now, we are so fed up with the whole "buy it and feel good [for a little while] " mentality, so its great to realise there are so many others out there who feel the same.

rachel said...

mark and janet,
check out the new australian shopping sabbatical blog. the main yahoo group has some regular input from australians, but be forewarned, the list brings a lot of email.