Happy Earth Day

How staff are helping make a positive impact

At NCAR and UCAR, every day is an opportunity to better understand the atmosphere, its interconnectedness with other systems, and its importance to life on Earth. Earth Day is a time to acknowledge the importance of the work done here, and it is a time to celebrate the cumulative results of a daily commitment by staff to making our impact on the Earth’s systems as positive as possible.

Here are just a few highlights from our collective efforts:

  • The waste diversion rate at NCAR|UCAR has reached an impressive 68%. In FY17, our organization recycled 71,960 pounds of single-stream materials and composted 50,866 pounds of organic materials, which means that a total of 122,826 pounds of waste has been saved from the landfill. You may have noticed that all common area waste receptacles now have signage above each bin. Please keep the bins in your area together with their corresponding signage in order to improve waste diversion and reduce contamination. By simply throwing away your waste in the correct bin you have reduced your environmental footprint, avoided greenhouse gas emissions, improved soil quality, and you have helped to set an example for how businesses across the city, state, and nation can achieve higher diversion rates. Don’t know where to throw? Find out!
  • NCAR|UCAR now composts all paper towels in restrooms! This effort is aimed at reducing the amount of paper towels being sent to the landfill, and will also help to achieve our collective goal of reaching a 75% diversion rate.
  • To date, 621 employees have signed up to utilize their UCAR paid B-cycle memberships. These memberships provide all NCAR|UCAR staff with access to bikes all over Boulder, Denver and beyond. In FY17, staff rode 11,357 miles on B-cycle bikes, which reduced carbon emissions by 10,789 pounds. This is also equivalent to burning 454,280 calories. Learn more about how to join the fun with your free B-cycle membership!
  • In August of 2017, the new FreeCycle website was launched. FreeCycle is an office supply exchange program that now offers online “shopping.” When staff have gently used office supplies that they no longer need, they can donate them to FreeCycle by bringing them to drop-off locations available at each campus. The Sustainability team inventories the items and puts them on the FreeCycle website so that all staff can see what items are available, and then place an order with a click of a button. The best part is that it’s all 100% free. Once you submit your order, we will deliver your items right to your office within five business days. Since the launch of the new website, 3,157 items have been ordered and delivered to staff. In the eight months since the program launched, the staff members that have used FreeCycle instead of purchasing new items have collectively saved over $17,000. This is a great monetary benefit, but it also means that we’ve reduced the strain on valuable natural resources and habitats, prevented pollution caused by harvesting new raw materials, and reduced greenhouse gas emissions. Start shopping on FreeCycle today!
  • UCAR’s workplace EV charging program was established in August of 2016. Since then, the stations have been used to charge electric vehicles 1,467 times. This program has helped to avoid 10,166 pounds of greenhouse gas emissions. That's like planting 136 trees and letting them grow for 10 years!
  • Team NCAR|UCAR always makes a splash during the annual Bike to Work Day Business Challenge and this year was no exception! In fact, in 2017 we beat our own personal record and had 192 staff members register to be part of Team NCAR|UCAR, which landed us in 7th place out of the 1,000+ businesses that competed across Colorado.
  • Electricity usage across NCAR|UCAR campuses reduced by 1,075,241 kWh between FY16 and FY17, which is equivalent to avoiding 1,961,305 miles being driven by an average passenger car.

Congratulations on being part of these significant efforts, and the many more that occur on a daily basis! We look forward to supporting your continued excellent stewardship.

Happy Earth Day from your Sustainability Team!

Earth rises above the limb of the moon
Earth rises above the limb of the moon. (Courtesy NASA.)

Writer

Chelsea Castellano, Sustainability Specialist
UCAR Facilities Management, Safety & Sustainability