I think there is a common misconception that “going green” seems like a lot of effort for such a small contribution. Many people say to themselves “I don’t drink that many sodas, I don’t have enough to recycle to be worth the effort.” But I say to you, Scrooges, that if no one makes the effort, then who will? It is our responsibility to be shining examples to our families, our neighbors, and our fellow vertebrates (and invertebrates too- I don’t discriminate against exo-skeletons).
So what are we doing at Astek to contribute?
RECYCLING: One of the first things I did when I started here at Astek was to put together a recycling bin. Chicago is notorious for being a bad recycling city so it didn’t surprise me that Logan Square does not have recycling pick-up, so I knew I had to make it happen myself. I picked up a little plastic bin and made a recycling sign for it so nobody mistakes it for a garbage bin. It also helps to keep the paper/cardboard recycling separate so you don’t end up with a pulpy mess if someone throws in a half-full can or something. There are recycling drop off centers all around the city and when the bin is full I take the bin with me and empty on the way home from work
ELECTRONICS RECYCLING: Did you know that throwing away old electronics in your regular garbage can/dumpster is really bad for the environment? The metal and computer parts in electronic devices not only takes a really long time to decompose, but often electronics have some kind of liquid that is highly toxic to the environment, so when you throw it out you are poisoning the environment. The good news? There are lots of electronic recycling plants all around the city. I found this great place called Recycle Tech Solutions which takes your old electronics and breaks them down safely to remove those dangerous liquids, separate the parts into basic elements and recycle or reuse every little bit they can. They recycle everything from computers and print cartridges, to old refrigerators; They say if it has a power cord of any kind they can recycle it! So I gathered up the old, unused and broken equipment Astek had in storage, the used print cartridges, and even collected old electronics from the staff which they had laying around at home and drove it all over to these guys. They were very friendly, and even unloaded the car for me!
COMPOSTING: I have to give Andrew Crowe credit for this one- he has a compost bin at home and when we started talking about being more environmentally friendly he brought in a little plastic bin with a lid that we can put compost material in. We put everything from banana peels to coffee grounds & filters in it and when it’s full he brings it home and adds it to his home compost.
BIKING: A number of us in the office are getting psyched about the weather warming up soon so that we can ride our bikes to work! Leaving the car at home is a great way to reduce you carbon footprint. Did you know that there is a feature on googlemaps that now allows you to plan a biking route? Google knows which streets have specific bike lanes and will map you a route to keep you safe. A friendly reminder from all of us at Astek that you should ALWAYS wear your helmet and bring multiple bike lights with you if you might be riding at night.
No effort can be too small when it comes to cleaning up our environment. If we all did these little things and inspired those we know to do that same it would make a HUGE DIFFERENCE!