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Sustainability at Work

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Phone: 503-823-7037

Email: sustainabilityatwork@portlandoregon.gov

Sustainability takes flight with passport program at Capital Pacific Bank

We sat down with Kristen Connor, Senior Vice President & Client Service Officer at Capital Pacific Bank, to hear first-hand about the program.

Kristen Connor speaking at podiumCapital Pacific Bank created a cultural passport to engage employees in workplace sustainability and wellness.

We sat down with Kristen Connor, Senior Vice President & Client Service Officer at Capital Pacific Bank, to hear first-hand about the program. 

Goal: Increase staff participation in planning, executing and attending committee activities.

Capital Pacific Bank Official Cultural Passport coverThe big idea: Office-wide cultural passports

Six months ago, a few employees at Capital Pacific Bank started thinking of ideas to get their coworkers to participate more on the Green Team and other internal committees.

From the start, the passports have been successful in getting new people into leadership positions and helping people find a place where they can contribute.

Soon after the program started, people started saying, “that was kind of fun, I should do more.” Six months later, they are.

How it works:

  • Staff get a stamp in their passport for approved activities
  • 10 stamps = 1 paid vacation day (per year)

Details:

  • Activities are across all committees – Green Team, Employee Engagement, Volunteering, Getting it Fun, Wellness.
  • Staff must participate in a variety of ways (they can’t do the same thing 10 times).
  • Staff are given a physical “passport” with a photo of a Hollywood star that resembles them.
  • Committee chairs stamp passports and write a description of the action that earned the stamp.

Sample passport with stampsWhat staff have to say:

“When you do one thing, it starts to be infectious. It makes you want to do more.”

“When we started to broaden the lens of sustainability, engagement skyrocketed. People found their passion.”

“It’s fun, people get competitive.”


Sample passport with stamps.

Actions earn stamps:

Capital Pacific Bank gives stamps for a variety of activities and roles to include as many people as possible. Their qualifying actions include:

  • Participate in a Capital Pacific Bank group volunteer activity
  • Help plan and execute a Getting it Fun event
  • Take on an assignment for the Green Team to promote sustainability
  • Participate in a professional development activity
  • Attend a brown bag lunch or other educational event hosted by the bank
  • Represent the bank at a client event
  • Participate in and/or plan and execute an event on behalf of the Wellness Committee
  • Present an agenda item at a staff meeting
  • Participate in the new employee orientation committee
  • Pass the sustainability overview quiz
  • Coordinate employee birthdays for a month
  • Nominate someone for the Sustaining Excellence award
  • Serve on a nonprofit board or committee
  • Use your employee matching gift
  • Serve on the Jeans Day Committee (Jeans Day is when staff contributes money to an employee nominated nonprofit, to be matched by the bank, in order to wear jeans on Fridays)

Close up sample passport photoMaking the passports:

Kathy Swift, a creative bank employee, made each staff member a passport featuring a celebrity look-a-like – or as one staff member described it, “a wannabe doppelganger.”

The celebrity photos engaged a lot of people and got the whole office talking about their passports.

Rolling it out:

The cultural passports were presented at a staff meeting the day before they were put on everyone’s desk. At the staff meeting, the guidelines for earning a paid day off were outlined. The Green Team explained that they wanted to engage people on things they cared about, and reward staff for making time to do these things, even while they were busy with their day-to-day priorities.  They also announced a brown bag lunch planned for the following week so people could get an easy first stamp (which worked; they had a higher attendance than ever before!).

Where they are now:

It’s six months in and engagement is high.  A few staff members have already filled their passports and others are busy planning events and other activities.  Capital Pacific Bank is looking to give more prizes for people who fill up the entire passport and for people who get more than ten stamps each quarter.

Try this at your workplace!

A passport program is a great way to engage coworkers, empower others to take on leadership roles and build a workplace community.

Staff holding their passports

How to recycle old computers, phones, and other gadgets

How, where, and why to recycle electronics.

electronics in recycling bin graphicThere’s gold in those laptops!

Q) Which has more gold and copper?
        a. circuit boards 
        b. raw ore mined for these metals
A) Circuit boards!

Circuit boards can contain 40 to 800 times the amount of gold and 30 to 40 times the amount of copper as the equivalent weight of ore mined in the US.

In addition, recycling one million laptops saves enough energy to power 3,657 US homes for a year [1].

Want to learn more? Check out the short video, The Story of Electronics.

How to start recycling electronics at your workplace:small electronics recycling poster thumbnail

  1. Set up collection area.
    • Find an empty box.
    • Place box in easy to access area.
    • Label the box with a poster about microelectronics recycling.
  2. Decide where your business will take microelectronics.
  3. Create a plan for who will take the microelectronics when the collection box fills.
  4. Let coworkers know about microelectronics recycling, and show them the collection box.

Donate vs. Recycle

Donate

Many electronics can be donated, refurbished and used again.

Where to go? Free Geek!

  • Call to ensure they can accept your e-waste: 503-232-9350
  • Donations to Free Geek are tax deductible and pickups can be arranged for a small fee.

Recycle

Broken or unusable electronics can be recycled and component parts made into something else.

Where to go?

Third-party certification, such as e-Stewards certification, ensures environmentally sound and humane recycling practices.

Removing personal or sensitive information:

To remove personal or sensitive information before donating or recycling your electronics,

  • Call Metro at 503-234-3000 for options to have data removed.
  • Free Geek takes data security very seriously: all data containing gadgets are either wiped clean using Department of Defense standards or are destroyed (safely) on-site.

tvs, computers, pritners, scannersLarger electronics

Contact Oregon E-Cycles for free drop-off locations for

  • Personal computers, monitors, laptops and tablets
  • Computer peripherals – keyboards and mice
  • TVs, including VHS or DVD/TV combos
  • Printers, fax machines and large scanners

According to Oregon E-Cycles’ website: Participating recyclers must meet DEQ's Environmental Management Practices. The practices ensure electronics are recycled in a way that protects human health and the environment.

These must be recycled separately:

Learn more

EPA's FAQs on e-waste

Recycling Fluorescent Lights

Learn how to start recycling fluorescent lights.

tube lights in a boxFluorescent lights are energy efficient and long-lasting, and when they're spent, they can be recycled.

But, they also contain mercury and lead – two toxic heavy metals considered hazardous waste if released when bulbs break. So when it’s time to replace your fluorescent lights, it’s important to do so safely.

Here are some simple best practices to follow to keep you, your staff and your customers safe the next time your fluorescent light bulbs flicker and fade.

 

 

 How to start recycling fluorescent light bulbs:

  1. Set up a bulb collection areaCFL recycling poster
    • Find a cardboard box: for tube lights, the box the bulbs came in works well. For smaller bulbs, any box will do.
    • Place box in a safe area where it won’t get knocked around.
    • Label the box with a poster about proper CFL handling.
  2. Find where your business will recycle the bulbs
  3. Create a plan for who will take the bulbs to be recycled when the collection box fills.
  4. Let coworkers and janitorial staff know about CFL recycling, and show them the bulb collection area.

For more, see How to establish a recycling program for mercury-containing light bulbscartoon fluorescent lights

What to do when a fluorescent light bulb burns out:

  1. Carefully remove the bulb and mark an “X” so you can quickly identify old bulbs when you grab a new one.
  2. Store used bulbs in a safe place that keeps them in-tact. Broken bulbs release hazardous waste and require special attention.
  3. Properly recycle used bulbs within one year.

Note: do not put tape or rubber bands on fluorescent bulbs.

Where to recycle bulbs:

  1. Contact your property manager or garbage company to see if they can recycle fluorescent bulbs for you.
  2. Join a mail-back service.
  3. Find a nearby facility that collects and recycles fluorescent bulbs. The find a recycler feature on Metro’s website and Earth 911 are both helpful resources.

Why recycle fluorescent bulbs:

  • When fluorescent bulbs break, they release hazardous mercury that is toxic to people.
  • Businesses in Oregon discard several million bulbs each year, making them the largest source of mercury in our waste stream.
  • When recycled properly, most of the glass, metal and mercury in bulbs can be reused.

How are fluorescent lamps recycled?fluorescent light recycling infographic

  1. Lamps are crushed in a controlled environment.
  2. Glass, aluminum and mercury bearing phosphorus powder are separated and captured.
  3. Mercury is recovered from the mercury phosphorus powder and purified.
  4. Recovered mercury is used in new fluorescent bulbs, thermometers, barometers and electric devices. Recycled glass can be used to manufacture new glass products or as a cement aggregate. Aluminum is recycled as a metal scrap.

Quick Links:

2015 New Year’s Resolution

Jumpstart 2015 with a New Year’s Resolution for your workplace - and win prizes!

2015

Win prizes by starting a NEW sustainable practice in your workplace 
between now and Valentine’s day!

How to participate:

  1. Pick a NEW action to implement, from the list below.
  2. Let us know your goal action(s).
  3. Let us know the action has been completed by February 14th.
  4. We’ll do a quick verification visit & you’ll be entered to win.

More chances to win - Each action gets you one entry into the raffle; the more new actions you complete, the greater your chance of winning!

Prizes:

prizes

  • $35 gift certificate to Hopworks Urban Brewery
  • $25 gift certificate to Fire on the Mountain
  • 2 bags of Portland Roasting coffee + a free drink at their café

Action list:

checkboxDonate or recycle electronics.

  • Create an area to store computers, monitors, keyboards, mice, and printers.
  • Provide clear instructions for where to recycle them.
  • Email us for a poster you can use or modify.

checkboxRecycle fluorescent lights.

  • Create an area to safely store burned-out fluorescent lights.
  • Provide clear instructions for where to recycle them.

checkboxSwitch to recycled copier/printer paper.

  • Must contain 30% or more post-consumer content.

checkboxCreate a sustainability plan or policy.

  • Create guidelines for one thing (“extra plastics are collected for recycling”).
  • Create guidelines for multiple areas (purchasing paper and food, and/or recycling batteries and extra plastics).
  • Contact us for template language.

checkboxStart using green cleaners.

  • Depending on your workplace, this can mean 3rd party certified, food safe, diluting properly, etc.
  • Find information and how-to here.
  • Or contact us for help!

checkboxStart composting, or donating edible food.

Already doing all of the above? Contact us to discuss other actions that qualify.

We’re here to help!

We’re happy to help by phone or email, or at your workplace!

we're here to help

We can help you:

  • Write a sustainability policy.
  • Find out which cleaners are really green.
  • How to work with your property manager or janitorial service.
  • Where to donate edible food.
  • How to start composting.


Eligibility: 
All business, non-profit & government workplaces within the City of Portland are eligible to participate. One location (site address) per raffle entry. Action must be newly implemented at entire worksite between the start and end of the raffle. One winner per gift certificate will be drawn at random from list of entrants who complete one action on or before the deadline. Winners will be contacted directly.

Ideas and inspiration from this year’s Innovation in Sustainability Awards

Learn what 14 Portland businesses did to earn recognition, and what actions you can take inspired by their work.

Innovation in Sustainability Awards
This year the Portland Business Journal recognized 14 Portland organizations for their innovations in sustainability. The year’s award winners may seem leaps and bounds ahead of the norm, but in most cases, their trajectory started with many small steps.

Here are highlights of this year’s winners, along with some on-the-ground actions you can take, inspired by their work.

Transportation
Energy
Social Enterprise
Green Building 

Transportation

Oregon Health & Science University

What they did:

Get 20,000 people up and down a hill every day, through creative thinking outside the car.

  • The aerial tram — takes five to six thousand people to and from the hill every day.
  • Bike valet parking — easy, safe, and, thanks to OHSU, free to staff and the public. No wonder almost 400 bike commuters a day use it!
  • Staff bike incentives — $20 for every 20 bike commute trips.
  • Free streetcar and tram use for OHSU students, faculty and staff.

      What you can do:

  • Help your workplace look into setting up pre-tax transit passes for staff.
  • Encourage your workplace to provide a small cash incentive to bike, walk, or transit commuters.
  • Contact us — we can explain options, and how to make them happen.

Bicycle Transportation Alliance

What they did:

  • This year’s Bike Commute Challenge got 2,000 new riders to commute by bike.
  • Last year Safe Routes to School taught its 50,000th child.

      What you can do:

  • Start prepping now for the Bike Commute Challenge – here are seven ideas to get you started.
  • Reach out to teachers and schools to make sure they’re registered for the Safe Routes to School program.
  • Get involved in school Walk+Bike events in May and October.

Stacey and Witbeck Inc.

What they did:

  • Built Portland’s streetcar, and became one of the country’s top builders of light rail, commuter rail and street car systems.
  • Focused on re-use and recycling opportunities throughout their projects — like recycling asphalt and re-using street trees.
  • Tracked office sustainability by measuring water, energy, and recycling levels, and quantified all measurable emissions from their operations for a complete sustainability inventory

      What you can do:

  • Choose one thing — energy, water, waste — to measure.
    • Even if you lease your space, you can track the amount of paper your workplace purchases, or borrow our DIY Waste Sort Kit to measure recycling, trash and compost.
    • Once you’ve got an initial measurement, you’ll be able to set goals and show improvements.

Energy

Oregon Convention Center

image of wind turbinesWhat they did:

  • Reduced electricity use by 28% and natural gas by 18%, since 2009.
  • Upgraded to LED lighting, retrofitted HVAC and installed low-flow water fixtures.
  • Earned LEED Platinum certification last year.
  • Saved an additional 1,000,000 kWh of energy (close to 10% of their annual usage!) in four months through an employee engagement campaign.

      What you can do:

  • Be on the look-out for “low hanging fruit,” like making sure lights are off when no one’s around.
    • The OCC’s sustainability coordinator, Erin Rowland, said a surprising amount of savings come from these simple actions.
  • Challenge staff to change the way they think about their energy habits with an employee engagement campaign

Energy Storage Systems

What they did:

  • Developed a cost-effective, energy-efficient, environmentally-friendly battery system for industrial and commercial use.

      What you can do:

  • Does your workplace use batteries? Set up a rechargeable battery station — with a charger, containers for charged and depleted batteries – and let people know about the switch to rechargeables.

Waste

Oregon Museum of Science and Industry (OMSI)

What they did:

  • Developed a sustainability how-to guide for creating museum exhibitions — ExhibitSEED — and shared it through workshops with over 200 museum leaders.
  • Thirty-five museum exhibits have already been planned following ExhibitSEED’s Green Exhibit Checklist.
  • OMSI also created a new long-term exhibit — Clever Together/Juntos somos ingeniosos — a bilingual exhibit helping visitors understand how sustainability can be integrated into their day-to-day choices.

      What you can do:

  • Visit OMSI’s Clever Together/Juntos somos ingeniosos exhibit — or plan a lunch time work field trip – to learn sustainability actions you can take at home or work.
  • Create a workplace sustainable purchasing policy, asking the same questions OMSI uses:
    • How durable is this product?
    • What’s the upstream environmental impact?
    • How safe is it for people to use?
    • Can we dispose of it responsibly when we’re done with it?
    • Is there a way to support local, women and minority owned vendors?

Oregon Department of Corrections

What they did:

  • Prisons have robust recycling programs — if anything used in the prisons can be recycled, it will be.
  • All 14 prisons have gardens, generating more than 210,000 pounds of produce for the prisons and the Oregon Food Bank.
  • Prisoners also cultivate endangered plants through a partnership with the Oregon Zoo and conservation groups.

      What you can do:

  • Help your workplace recycle everything it can:
    • Call us for a Recycling Refresher presentation.
    • Set up a “Bin of Confusion” for a week — tell people to put items in that they don’t know what to do with. Then contact us, or call Metro’s recycling hotline staff (503-234-3000) — they’ll tell you if, where, and how that item can be re-used or recycled.

Green Endeavor Inc.

What they did:

  • Help industrial clients replace toxic cleaning chemicals and degreasers with safer and more sustainable alternatives.

      What you can do:

  • Look at the cleaners in your workplace, used by either staff or janitors. Are there less toxic, more sustainable alternatives?
  • Consider setting up a green cleaning policy.
  • Talk with your property manager or cleaning service about switching to less toxic alternatives.

Social Enterprise

Happy Cup Coffee Co.

Happy Cup is a local coffee roaster that provides meaningful employment to adults with development disabilities. It now has three retail locations — including a coffee shop in City Hall!

      What you can do:

  • Go get a cup (or a bag) of coffee!
  • Look into products you or your workplace commonly purchase — how, where, and by whom are they made?
  • Create a sustainable purchasing policy for workplace. Contact us for help!

Oregon Environmental Council

OEC develops and promotes solutions to Oregon’s environmental challenges through their work with individuals around sustainable living, businesses around sustainable practices, and elected officials around policy. Their current focus areas are clean water, toxic-free environments, and climate protection.

      What you can do:

  • Sign up for their newsletter to stay informed (sign up is at the bottom of this page)
  • Volunteer to help with their initiatives.

Hatch Innovation

Hatch is a community innovation lab, providing education, office space and access to capital for social entrepreneurs. Springboard Innovation, the nonprofit that created Hatch, will soon become Hatch Innovation, with subsidiaries Hatch Lab, Hatch Purpose, and Hatch Capital.

      What you can do:

  • Check out their calendar of events
  • Or sign up for their newsletter to stay informed as they develop new offerings.

Green Building

Reuse is where it’s at! This year’s green building award winners all focused on repurposing and renovating rather than building from the ground up.

Venerable Properties has a long history of restoring old buildings, and has always focused on salvaging existing building components, rather than sending them to the landfill in favor of new replacements.

SERA Architects’ major renovation of downtown’s Edith Green-Wendell Wyatt building is a great example of the company’s integration of sustainability with the design process. 

Redside CRE is a real estate investment firm that focuses on revamping older buildings for efficiency and sustainability, rather than new development.

      What you can do:

  • Look for creative ways to reuse or recycle in your workplace.
    • Identify your workplace’s hard-to-recycle items
    • Call Metro’s recycling hotline staff (503-234-3000) — they’ll tell you if, where, and how that item can be reused or recycled.