It IS Easy Being Green: Tips to More Sustainable Catering

Kermit the frog is known for one particularly famous line: “It ain’t easy being green”.

This may be the case for Kermit but when it comes to being environmentally ‘green’ – it really can be easy.

As a Seneca Green Intern over the past few months, part of my placement was to support Softchoice with sustainability-related initiatives. During this time, I attended a few of the company’s Lunch ‘n’ Learns and noticed that Softchoice offers tasty meals for employees to enjoy when they learn about the latest and greatest in the IT world.  Unfortunately, like many catered meetings, they tend to produce large amounts of waste – plates, cutlerly, containers and leftover food. [Read more…]

Burning Calories while Saving Energy

There are several ways to save energy that we can incorporate into many facets of our everyday lives, some of which more obvious than others.  Whether it’s something as simple as turning off a light when it’s not needed, or carpooling to work, the opportunity is always there to make our lives just a little bit greener. 

 Working at the Softchoice Head Office in Toronto, employees have the ability to take advantage of the Softchoice gym, an opportunity that many take advantage of.  Unlimited and free access to an employee gym is a great perk to have.  Not only does it give one the convenience to hit the weights or elliptical whenever you choose, but it also demonstrates that your company is promoting a healthy and active lifestyle.  Health is important…so is the environment. Regular exercise is one of these facets in our everyday lives that we can make just a little bit greener with a few easily-developed habits. 

 One of the easiest changes to make is to simply stop buying packs of bottled water for your workout.  Save your money!  Why create more plastic waste?  Over 60 million plastic water bottles are disposed improperly everyday.  Now, I’m not saying that you should stop drinking water while you exercise, staying hydrated is important.  But next time you go to the gym, bring a re-usable water bottle.  [Read more…]

Just say “no” to paper invoices.

Sometimes making a change is as easy as saying “no”. Last week I received this email from one of our suppliers:

Please find attached the July 2011 Invoices. A hard copy will be arriving in the mail shortly.
Thank you,

My usual process when I get an invoice via email is to forward the PDF  to my finance team and they take care of it. And with the number of emails I get every day, it’s easy to just gloss over what’s written in the email and just follow my standard process. But when I read that they were also sending a hard copy in the mail, I had to stop and ask myself “why?” I don’t need a hard copy sent to me, since it’s WAY easier for me to email the PDF to my finance team rather than walk 4 floors down to give it to them in person. Also, I’ve already been given a copy of it, so if I really needed a hard copy, I could just print it out myself.

So I emailed back my supplier and told her that we don’t require hard copies of any of our invoices, and asked if she could make a note in our file to not have hard copies automatically sent out. She replied “No problem”.

I wonder how many organizations are just in the habit of sending out hard copies of invoices? How much are they un-neccesarily spending on print, labour and mail costs? How many of their customers really require them?

Also, how many people routinely get paper invoices that they don’t need and would rather recieve in PDF form? Do you take the time to tell your supplier and request a change? It took me just seconds to send the email to request it and will save 12 sheets of paper, 12 envelopes and 12 stamps a year.  Yeah, that doesn’t sound like a lot, but multiply that by all of you reading this post and there could be some serious savings.

Going green is about making a lot of these little changes in life. Many of them take seconds and are quite painless. So the next time you get a paper invoice that you don’t need, take the time to say “no”.

Rollin’ in the green: Sustainability at our Mid Year Meeting

A fact that we all know is true is that all hotels, whether one star or six stars have giant environmental footprints. I’ll explain more about this as we go.

But first, let’s fly to Phoenix.

As most sales conferences go, the last thing most people are ever thinking about is environmentally friendly practices. Everyone, except for Softchoice’s amazing event planning team that is. Why am so excited about the events team thinking about being green during mid-year? Because they actually pulled it off! How, you ask? By hooking up with one of the greenest resorts , the events team was able to put together an incredible environmentally friendly conference.

The Sheraton Wildhorse Pass & Spa is famous for it’s sustainability practices and exceptional quality. The meetings and banquet rooms are designed for the highest levels of efficiency depending on the kind of event you are hosting.  Some of the green iniatives the hotel had in place were:

  • Air-conditioning in meeting rooms is determined by the status of the room, meaning that when they are not in use, the A/C is  not on.
  • The facility does a lot to reduce overall waste, but not having plastic cups or paper cups on site and using glasses instead. [Read more…]

Softchoice Toronto Goes Wildly Green!

This past Friday the Corporate Marketing and Business Development teams joined forces with the Softchoice Green Team to bring Softchoice the greenest, most environmentally friendly, beer cart ever. Dubbed as ‘Green Day’, the event embraced all that is green in celebration of World Environment Day. Unlike other beer carts- and with Mother Nature on our side- the team managed to throw a rockin’ party outdoors; a fantastic way to start the weekend and get people excited for the summer!

So what was so green about it anyway?

As World Environment Day was to be celebrated on June 5th – the team kicked it up a notch by doing their best to reduce the environmental impact of this event. The scrumptious food was local – thus supporting our local community and reducing our Co2 emissions. To be specific, the team ordered fingers foods- meaning no napkins, plates, or spoons which lead to zero waste! We also purchased herbs from a local greenhouse to use as décor for the event and then sold them off for charity- now there’s an idea! [Read more…]

Keeping hazardous batteries out of landfills

Softchoice has offered an office battery recycling service since 2009 at all of our offices and have had extreme success with our program! Employees areencouraged to bring in their used batteries from their home and Softchoice will dispose of them in an environmentally friendly way. This is  done through a E-waste recycling company that our landlord provides. In addition to alkaline and recharge-ables, Softchoice also recycles laptop batteries.

In 2010 Softchoice collected approximately 350 used batteries, in addition to our 700 collected in 2009. That brings our total to over 1000 recycled batteries!

Here are some tips on starting up your own battery collection program at your office: [Read more…]