Uniquely Pursuing Sustainability

Sustainability is a mindset I adopted even before it became a ‘thing’. The home I grew up in was an environmentally conscious one, and when raising our children in our home, we tried to do the same. I continue to try and make all consumer related decisions based on a sustainable philosophy, both at work and at home.  In the workplace, our largest contact lens vendor, Coopervision, has made a commitment to sustainability and has a 0% carbon footprint (Read more about Coopervision and Sustainability HERE).  A few years ago I had an opportunity to tour their Costa Rica facility and saw firsthand how all of their policies are made with sustainability in mind. We avidly recycle contact lens and eye drop related plastics through Bausch & Lomb’s Terracycle program. We recycle used facemasks through a Terracycle program. (Find a Terracycle program HERE). We have even eliminated the use of single-use plastics in our office kitchen.

My wife and I employ the same philosophy at home. We have moved from gas powered to electric powered lawn mowers, both tractor and push. We use electric lawn tools, including weedwhacker, leaf blower and hedge trimmer. We compost just about everything that we can, which includes not only foods such as fruit and vegetable scraps and eggshells, but coffee grounds and filter, loose tea and tea bags (with staple removed), dryer lint, paper towels and paper plates (if marked biodegradable).  You can also compost shredded paper (not glossy or colored) and shredded brown paper bags. We happen to have a great recycling program in our hometown that takes those paper items for us, as well as cardboard, glass and certain plastics. Collection bins are placed around town that take more items not normally picked up curbside. When it came time to replace the roof of our home a few years ago, we went with a metal roof.  Not only will this roof outlive us, as it has a fifty year lifespan, but it was able to be placed over the existing shingled roof, thus saving the old pieces from hitting the landfill.  The metal roof is also recyclable for when the future residents need to replace it.  

Recently, my wife went on a purging spree.  As I watched her bag then place item after item on our front porch, I asked her what she was doing.  She has been utilizing a program we have for our ‘end of town’ called Buy Nothing. Buy Nothing is a network of different neighborhoods (geographically situated) on Facebook, and is described as “a worldwide network of gift economies, bringing people together to give, ask and receive items and services.”  It’s digital community-building, an antidote to consumerism and financial pressures some may face, and a way to keep items from going in the landfill. What we may no longer have need for, others may find a new use.  In some instances, what may have passed the window of return will be a gift to someone else who wants or needs it. (Learn how to start your own group HERE).

Sustainability doesn’t need to be hard or time consuming to make a difference. It literally means ‘meeting our own needs without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs’. Hopefully I’ve given you some food for thought and some practical ways to become more sustainable in the home or in the office.