Cleveland is quickly living up to the longtime description of a green city on a blue lake. With new bike paths popping up every day and more green space than we have seen in years, the city feels alive. Our lake is cleaner than it has ever been and we will soon be the first to house an offshore wind farm. As residents of the great town for well over 100 years, we can’t help but participate in the momentum.
We have been quietly implementing green choices into our product line starting with our smaller size bottles. Although our first recommendation is always a refillable bottle for on the go, when a disposable option is needed, we have the best. With a thinner body, smaller cap, and smaller label, the plastic use is reduced drastically. Of course, they are also 100% recyclable. For those who prefer the ultimate in sustainable drinking water options, we are thrilled to offer two zero waste options including waste-free bottled water coolers and in-line water filtration systems. Last but, certainly not least, after careful consideration of our customer’s preferences, we have reworked and consolidated many of our delivery routes to ensure an ultimate efficiency and in the end…reduced emissions.
However, after revamping and tweaking the product line and delivery methods we were still not satisfied. What about in-plant practices? Office policies? Things as minor as copy paper? Items as major as spent holding tanks? Where do we begin? It seemed overwhelming until we turned to the Cuyahoga County Solid Waste District.
This amazing organization offers a myriad of services to aid Cuyahoga County businesses and residents in sustainable endeavors. They can tell you what to do with pretty much anything from mattresses to cereal bags. They always have an answer, and it never sends it to the landfill. Their goal is to divert as much as possible from our landfills and help businesses in the recycling industry along the way. Also, the Cuyahoga Country Solid Waste District offers unique programs such as free rain barrels and composting seminars. But, the one that caught our eye was their Master Recycler certification.
The Master Recycler certification offers an “in-depth study of waste reduction, composting, and recycling” to “create advocates for recycling who can apply knowledge to affect habits at home, work and in the community.” After an application process and phone interview…we had our very own Master Recycler student enrolled…yours truly!
The program entails twenty hours of lecture and twenty hours of volunteer time. Embedded in the lectures are five tours of local companies working hard to reduce the waste in our county. During my session, we visited:
- a paper recycling facility
- a construction material upcycler
- a computer/ e-waste company
- a second-hand clothing store
- a recycling center
All supplied valuable information and services that can be applied back to our business. The lectures were jam-packed with information including:
- waste material reuse and reduction
- the recycling system from beginning to end
- green alternatives to harsh chemicals
- an overview of district programs
- special item recycling
- event planning
Also, we heard from sustainability managers at local high schools, colleges, sports teams and more. All offering first hand on the job advice as to how we can apply our new found skills to our own businesses. At the end of the course, I walked away not only with a mass of knowledge but, a full network of contacts in the sustainability field. After a few more hours of volunteer time, I will be the official Distillata Master Recycler. Now it is time to implement a plan with all of this new found knowledge and I am itching to get started. I have laid out a very preliminary agenda to address the following eight areas over the next year:
- volunteering in the community
- green space
- green cleaning
- special item recycling
Thanks to the Cuyahoga County Solid Waste District, I have all the tools I need to bring these goals to fruition. If you are interested in the program, you must either reside in or work in Cuyahoga County. More information can be found here.
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