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By Lucy Weberlein

Earlier this year, Sara Watson, grants administrator, and Jonathan Barona, special projects manager, started brainstorming ways the Foundation office could be more eco-friendly.

It wasn’t long before other staff members became interested and the “Zero Waste Committee” was formed. The committee serves as a way for staff to help each other maintain an efficient and environmentally conscious workspace.

What is “zero waste”?

Zero waste is a mindset that encourages us to re-think the way we use our resources with the end goal of not sending any trash to landfills.

The City of Austin has committed to achieving zero waste by 2040, which means reducing the amount of trash sent to landfills by 90%. Not only will this help keep our city clean, but it also helps significantly offset the effects of climate change.

“We recognize that 100% zero waste in our office isn’t achievable,” Watson said. “Our goal is to really encourage staff to evaluate their own behaviors and help them find ways at work, and at home, to reduce their waste and reuse items we already have on hand.”

Our progress:

Here are just a few ways our staff is embracing a zero-waste philosophy:

  • Staff attended a recycling training with Austin Resource Recovery
  • We increased the number of recycling bins in our office with improved signage
  • We’re refusing single-use plates and cutlery in our catering orders, whenever possible
  • We’ve switched to cloth towels for drying dishes and washing hands in our kitchen
  • We are encouraging less printing and created a scrap paper bin

Additionally, we’ve challenged our staff to make one Earth-friendly change during Earth Week (April 22-26) and share their efforts with the team. We can’t wait to see how everyone does and share our progress along the way. Stay tuned!