Beyond the Build


It’s the little things that add up

I read recently that nearly 1,200 pounds of trash is produced by the average person per year. We ignore that scrap of paper or old cardboard box but it all adds up.  The drip-drip-drip process eventually turns into a river of trash.

When we moved into our offices, one of my main objectives was to reduce our waste that was taken off site. Our ultimate goal is to have no rubbish coming from of our campus and this might be a bit unrealistic.

Here are some simple steps we have taken:

  • We have two receptacles at each desk; one for trash, the other for recycling. This has allowed us to get a fresh perspective on what we throw away each day and for our folks to get the message that reducing waste is important.
  • Since starting this policy, we have greatly reduced the amount of waste, that in turn, reduces what is taken to the landfill and in addition reduce our carbon footprint. When we practice what we preach at the office, I believe this message gets taken home as well.
  • We have banned the use of bottled water. This is one of the leading causes of trash. A great example is shown here with this infographic about bottled water.
  • We also have banned Styrofoam cups, paper plates and plastic utensils and now use dishes and silverware. A dishwasher is a very efficient appliance.

What steps might you take to reduce your trash and increase your recycling?

Merrill Stewart Jr.

Merrill Stewart is Founder and CEO of The Stewart/Perry Company, a commercial building contractor based in Birmingham.