United Way's Green Team Celebrates Earth Day

United Way's Green Team Celebrates Earth Day Image

The Green Team at United Way has been very busy since they first got started just a few short months ago. Take a look at all the impact they've been making already.

T-Shirts to Tote Bags

The United Way Green Team hosted a “T-shirts to Tote Bags” project for our staff, in honor of Earth Month!  We brought in gently used t-shirts and got together to make these fun, reusable bags. They are easy and  fun to make - no sewing involved!  All you need is a t-shirt and a pair of scissors. 

There are several agencies in Erie County that distribute these bags to individuals experiencing homelessness, clients visiting food pantries, and individuals & families living in temporary shelters. Our team was able to make 25 bags, which we will be donating the Food Bank.

If you or your company is interested in hosting this fun project at your home or workplace, we can guide you and provide a list of our partner agencies who would love to receive these bags.

The Story of Stuff Lunch & Learn

The Green Team held their inaugural “Lunch & Learn” on March 26, 2019. We screened the short film, "The Story of Stuff," that calls to light the scary impacts of our consumption patterns as an international community. Discussion and reflection around personal actions and steps toward a more sustainable operating rhythm ensued, along with an introduction to the printing trends and paper consumption of the UWBEC.

In-Office Green Initiatives

Shopcraft, a local arts and crafts store at 719 Elmwood Ave in Buffalo, has a one time use battery recycling collection bin that we bring batteries to. We collect dead batteries at our front desk, educating employees about proper disposal.

We also began collecting old mascara wands through Wands for Wildlife at the Appalachian Wildlife Refuge Center. The wands are used to remove fly eggs and larva from the fur of wild animals that have been injured or orphaned at center.

A History of the Green Team

The United Way Green Team formed in October 2018, originally as the “Recycling Committee.”  There was tremendous interest and 13 people became members. We began by scheduling a full building analysis conducted by Erie County Recycling Coordinator Andy Goldstein, and then having a presentation to UWBEC staff from City of Buffalo Recycling Director Susan Attridge. UWBEC registered on the City’s website as a business which pledges to recycle.  Signage was placed throughout the building to direct people to the proper recycling locations and a monthly employee e-newsletter was created to provide helpful tips. Staff are now encouraged to bring their own reusable plates, cups and utensils to all team lunches and events. In addition, United Way has eliminated the use of Styrofoam cups and only purchases small batches of compostable coffee cups for guests.  

The United Way Green Team believes that Reduce, Reuse, Recycle is the motto to live by.  Thus, we have a long term commitment to significantly reduce our paper consumption, through efforts such as cutting back on printed campaign materials, using smart screens in conference rooms to display meeting documents, and setting our computers for double sided printing if we must print at all.  Green Team meetings are always fun and full of great ideas!