Today is Earth Day and we are celebrating the Facilities Department here at Mountain Rose Herbs! Our approach is a bit different from what you'd expect to find at a more traditional company.
Our Facilities team sees their main job as providing customer service for each and every one of their fellow employees. Most importantly, we depend on them to help us hold to our Zero Waste pledge. This includes hand-sorting every piece of recycling, trash, and used materials to keep usable "waste" out of the landfill.
Mountain Rose Herbs sends less than one full dumpster of trash to the disposal site each month. That's equivalent to a typical family of four. An estimated 26,441 pounds of our would-be trash are diverted from the landfill each year and repurposed! That's huge!
When I sat down with our Facilities Manager, Mike, he shared that our efficiency for recycling has actually increased as our company has grown. Our first priority is to make sure we only use what we need—we strive to minimize packaging and limit excess on our office supply purchases. We sort and reuse packaging from incoming products whenever possible. Constant employee education helps keep us focused on the priority to be Zero Waste, too. From staff trainings to instructional signage to continuously looking for new ways to make our used materials sing again, managing waste is a labor of love.
Having been an integral part of the growing Mountain Rose Herbs team for 8 years, Mike can’t help sharing his appreciation, “I’m extremely proud of our crew—they tackle a difficult job with a great attitude and I always get positive feedback from everyone about our Facilities team.”
Mountain Rose Herbs has three Master Recyclers on staff throughout the company, including Troy, a Master Recycler who has also been a part of our Facilities team for several years. A big part of Troy’s job is finding genuinely useful, local, and mutually-beneficial homes for the materials others might think of as garbage.
As you may know, things are always changing in the recycling world, so we must also work to find new partners and collaborators. We share what we can with St. Vincent de Paul and Next Step Recycling. If we can't find a way to recycle something, we actually hold onto the material until a reasonable solution can be found rather than sending it into the landfill.
We also compost, recycle, and create wonders out of waste in the following ways:
* All food waste from our break room and staff, along with herb and other organic matter is composted. Some is also used as organic compost for local nurseries.
* Bottle caps, twist ties, and other items that can be used for arts and crafts projects are delivered to MECCA (Materials Exchange Center for Community Arts), a local non-profit
* We send unusable pallets (we reuse the same pallets for as long as possible) and any unusable wood to be chipped and reinvented as landscaping mulch
* Every bit of paper from cardboard to toilet paper rolls is recycled
* Scrap metals, tin, steel, aluminum, and iron are all sorted, collected and recycled
While our multi-tasking Facilities team leads the way in day-to-day waste management, it takes every single employee’s participation to really make Zero Waste a reality. Our Director of Sustainability, Alyssa, conducts ongoing staff trainings to help employees understand how, where, and why we recycle, compost, and reduce. Alyssa and Mike work together to continuously strategize and problem solve how to manage the “stuff” of a company our size.
Tackling the big tasks is one of Mike’s favorite parts of his job: “I like solving the problems and finding the best solutions.” Of course, he adds, “there’s always room for improvement!”
Happy Earth Day!