Dumpster Dive 2013

Our 8th annual dumpster dive took place on the morning of Thursday May 30th with a small team gathered at the shipping dock for some fun, but dirty, work of sorting through one week of Hemlock garbage.

This practice began years ago as a method to analyze how well we are diverting our waste into its proper streams. Through our ongoing efforts to reduce our waste, it has become clear that with extremely good practices within our building,  a zero (or near zero) waste environment is achievable!

Team Dumpster Dive 2013

The 2013 divers were (from left to right): Teresa (administration), Amy (marketing), Lewis (purchasing), Peter (prepress), Maria (sustainability coordinator, and leader), Josef (estimating) and Richard (president). Visit facebook to view all of the images from the day.

After suiting up in our white diver suits, we formed into 3 groups of 2, with Maria directing our activities. Our teams were assigned to different bags, which had been removed from the bin, and we undertook emptying and sorting the contents of each into 12 categories. Here are the results:

2013DumpsterDive

As our waste pickups are on Tuesday and Friday mornings, we choose a Thursday this year to have a strong cross-section of waste. Of the 88 pounds of waste we went through, we were disappointed to discover that 77% was either recyclable or compostable. Our Sustainability Committee is currently working on ways to improve our employee practices so that this number is much smaller in our 2014 Dive.

When we began Dumpster Diving in 2006, Hemlock had daily pick ups of a full size (8 yard) waste bin. Now we are down to a twice a week pick up of a half size (4 yard) waste bin. So while we still have room for improvement, we are proud of how far we have come.

Do you monitor the waste diversions at your work? How to you ensure your household and community are reducing, reusing and recycling?

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