We take sustainability seriously at Andersen Windows, and recently decided to share these priorities with our employees. The Corporate Sustainability team conducted a two-week study at our location in Bayport, Minn., which included the participation of 100 employees.
For the study, each participant was given a miniature trashcan (6 inches high, 5 ½ inches in diameter) that only held roughly 48 fluid ounces. The challenge was to refrain from having to empty the bin during the two-week experiment by finding ways to reduce trash production and increase recycling and reuse.
Impressively, despite the length of the challenge and the size of each trashcan, 28 percent of survey respondents only needed to empty their bin one time, while 33 percent never had to empty it at all.
The study found that the most common waste items included food waste, packaging and disposable dinnerware. Communications Coordinator and challenge participant, Terri Merrigan, said that while, “most of us have plastic containers we still use plastic wrap to cover our leftovers and other items”.
The challenge’s follow-up survey revealed that nearly nine out of 10 responding participants felt that the challenge pushed them to think about the waste they typically produce and helped them think up ways to reduce that waste in the office and at home.
The Corporate Sustainability team hopes to take this challenge to other Andersen locations in 2014, starting with Renewal by Andersen in Cottage Grove, Minn. What are some ways you’ve found to decrease your trash production? Share them with us in the comments below.