Ideas for Sustainability in the Workplace
Vermont is such a beautiful place, and we want to keep it that way. With the celebration of Earth Day upon us, and Green Up Day right around the corner, now is the perfect time to start thinking about ways to go green in the workplace and at home.
Being a local, family-owned company that sources ingredients from around the globe, Lake Champlain Chocolates recognizes that the choices we make affect people, our products, and our planet. We are committed to making a positive impact on our local and global communities. This extends far beyond seeking out the best and freshest ingredients from local farmers and producers, and sourcing non-GMO, organic and fair trade certified ingredients, and it also means acting as good citizens by practicing environmental responsibility.
Here at Lake Champlain Chocolates, we work hard to continually reduce our environmental impact. Join us by trying these green tips for the office and home. Because together, we can have an environmentally sustainable community and continue to enjoy extraordinary chocolates!
13 Easy Ways to Go Green
Well-labeled garbage receptacles help emphasize the company-wide initiative to reduce waste and compost or recycle as much as possible.
1. Reduce Your Waste
Be conscious of what you are throwing away. Make it a clear company goal to reduce the amount of waste that you produce each year by 5%, 10% or even 20%! In doing so, Lake Champlain Chocolates reduced the amount of waste produced between 2016 and 2017 by 14.3%. That’s over 17 tons less waste in just one year!
Make recycling easy to understand by adding infographics that show what can be recycled.
2. Place recycling bins throughout the office
Make recycling convenient by putting blue recycling bins in prominent locations throughout the office. Simply having one next to the wastebasket will encourage more recycling. We did and were able to increase recycling by almost 20%. That’s 2 tons of waste that didn’t end up in the landfill!
Gather your chocolate wrappers into a 2-inch ball so that it can be recycled.
3. Know how to properly dispose of items
Who doesn’t love a little square of chocolate in the afternoon? Did you know that your chocolate foil wrappers can be recycled?! All you have to do is combine them into a 2-inch ball! Speak to the recycling experts from your local Materials Recovery Facility (MRF) to learn all about what can be recycled and how to properly recycle the items commonly used in your office.
Replace paper coffee cups with mugs that are reusable.
4. Overhaul the break room
Replace the paper cups, plates, and plastic utensils in the break room with glasses, mugs, and regular dishware that can be washed and reused!
Encourage composting by putting bins in every break room.
5. Start composting
Take your sustainability in the office to the next level by adding composting buckets to the break rooms and bathrooms. Compost food waste, paper towels, and even paper scraps that are too small to be recycled. By implementing an easy-to-use compost program, Lake Champlain Chocolates was able to reduce the amount of waste sent to the landfill by over 10%!
Our Vermont cafés use compostable cups and utensils.
6. Use eco-friendly cups
If you have to use disposable cups, like we do in our three Vermont scoops shops and cafés, switch to ones that are biodegradable. We utilize plastic cups made from corn that are compostable for all of our iced mochas, milkshakes, and sundaes.
Replace your light bulbs with energy-efficient LEDs.
7. Make the switch to LED
Did you know that LED light bulbs are 90% more energy efficient than traditional incandescent light bulbs? They also last about 20 times longer, which means you’ll spend less time changing out bulbs.
Students from the Vermont Day school save paper by using a large overhead screen to share their presentation on fair trade chocolate.
8. Think twice before you print
Do you really need to print out 20 copies of that 15-page handout for your meeting? Instead, make a conscious effort to reduce the number of emails and papers that you print. Share your presentation on the overhead screen instead. Want to take it a step further? Encourage others to print less by adding a friendly reminder to your email signature that says, “Please consider the environment before printing this email.”
Lake Champlain Chocolates very own beekeeper, and Director of Retail Sales, Gary Coffey.
9. Shop Local
Support your local farmers and producers. Here at Lake Champlain Chocolates, we’re proud to locally source all of the honey, cream, butter, and maple syrup we use. When you buy local you are helping to support the local economy. It also reduces your carbon footprint, because the food has to travel less to make it to your table. (And it makes better tasting chocolates!)
Shop for products with packaging that is certified by the Sustainable Forest Initiative.
10. Use materials that are sustainably sourced
Did you know that Lake Champlain Chocolates utilizes Sustainable Forest Initiative packaging whenever possible? This means that your delicious chocolate gift box is made from material from managed forests that conserve the ecosystem from which it came through conservation and reforestation.
Fair trade chocolate helps to foster economic sustainability for cacao farmers and their families.
11. Support Fair Trade
Switch to buying fair trade chocolate, coffee, and snacks. Fair trade chocolate makes a world of difference. Not only does it help to economically support farmers, it helps to create more sustainable farming communities. As of September 2017, Lake Champlain Chocolates is pleased to announce that 100% of the chocolate we purchase is Fair Trade certified!
Make the switch to environmentally-friendly cleaning products. ©Seventh Generation, 2017.
12. Use eco-friendly cleaning products
Make the switch to using environmentally friendly cleaning products at the office, and at home. Fellow Vermont-based company, Seventh Generation, makes a great selection of plant-based cleaning products.
Walk, instead of drive to work.
13. Walk, bike, or carpool to work
Create a friendly competition between teams to incentivize your employees and fellow co-workers to walk or carpool to work. Try doing it for a week, and then a month. In doing so, you’ll help to reduce carbon emissions.
Over the past 20 years, we have reduced our environmental impact and improve our sustainability in the workplace, so that we can continue to work in pursuit of extraordinary chocolate moments. After all, Earth is the only planet with chocolate. We know it’s worth protecting! Show us how your office is going green. Share a photo @LCChocolates #makeitextraordinary!