President's Message: Easier Being Green?

By , December 14, 2010 6:36 pm

by Mort Brinchmann

I used to think of myself as a recycling freak. Braving the monster paper cutter during my King County days to remove bindings so the pages might be recycled. Collecting the glass our buildings weren’t ready to recycle and lugging it to our home bins. Retaining books that should have been weeded to spare the landfills.

Times have changed. I feel a bit left behind when I see sustainability being our firm’s largest committee; the ubiquitous compostable utensils and can anyone spare a car for my two o’clock in Bellevue emails from all of our partners who never drive anymore; the refusal to support box lunch vendors with their wasteful packaging; the raised eyebrow instead of approval when you recycle that bottled water – what possessed you to buy bottled water in the first place?

Even the vendors are working it. We used to push our building to add a few items to their recycling program. Now our building leads the green conversation and even went as far as LEEDS certification. One could argue some publishers are even getting in the spirit by raising prices so we don’t buy the extra copies we don’t really need!

Having everything on the computer means not having to buy the reporters, but e-waste can be even scarier. We are happy to be rid of an old monitor and help out the scouts hosting a local e-drive, but way too often e-waste ends badly. It was pretty cool to find my firm represents the Basel Action Network whose certification program enables those who would dispose electronic equipment to easily identify recyclers committed to protecting workers, the environment, and customer’s private data.

Effective recycling means asking questions. Our building told us we could recycle hardbacks in the mixed paper – a call to the building recycler revealed that hardbacks found in the mixed paper are usually tossed but the recycler will come pick them up special if you have enough at once and don’t ask too often. I asked a few publishers to send their important notices by email as opposed to the snail mail I never open – did it help or have publishers cut back on their own?

I hope you’ll share some of the the things that make you a greener librarian.

In other news, March is shaping up as a big month for LLOPS – as if the prospect of another President’s column was not exciting enough. We hope to field a healthy LLOPS team for the KCBA Fun Run/Walk on March 5 – feel free to recruit friends & family (FFLLOPS?) to join our merry band. We should all have recovered in time to enjoy the Spring Professional Development Seminar now set for March 15.

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