Monday, May 12, 2008

Organizing a meeting? Green it up!

There are at least a thousand meetings organized every year under OPSEU's name. From local general meetings to staff meetings to our convention to picket lines and demos to meetings with employers. One of the ways OPSEU can meet its greenhouse reduction targets (2% for 2008) is by conducting greener meetings. Here are just a few things that are already considered for most meetings.

  1. Avoid - bottled water, styrofoam, cans and other small bottles
  2. Reduce - paper, travel, meat, single driver trips
  3. Reuse - coffee mugs, dish & cutlery set, badges
  4. Recycle - binders, cans, bottles, paper, purchase recycled products where possible
  5. Compost - biodegradable plates, cups, cutlery, food scraps
  6. Innovate - buy local food, carpool
  7. Communicate - acknowledge the steps taken at the outset of every meeting
A slight change in how we do things can add up to significant results. For example, if everyone were expected to bring their own drinking vessel to every OPSEU meeting they went to, that would permanently eliminate the need for a lot of paper, plastic & styrofoam cups and glasses.

Those were just a few examples. OPSEU is laying the ground to enable greener meetings. That work is underway on water and biodegradable products. OPSEU can use its purchasing power to ensure the availability and affordability of alternative meeting supplies.

There will still be barriers as each municipality has its own recycling program. Are there biodegradable, green bin programs available for offices around the province? I don't know?

While we don't yet have an OPSEU green meeting guide (add to the to do list), check out Environment Canada's Green Meeting guide for helpful tips on reducing the environmental impact of your meetings.
Organizations of all types are increasingly aware of the need to consider the environmental consequences of their actions. Whether the issue is saving energy and money, reducing waste and pollution produced by an event or protecting human health, we have numerous suggestions on how to act sustainably.
There are a number of useful checklists in the guide.

If anyone would like to take a shot at drafting an OPSEU version, please drop me a line -

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