After a journey two years in the making, the Department of Organismic and Evolutionary Biology (OEB) Administration has reached leaf four of Green Office Certification in Harvard's Green Office Program. Led by the department's Green Team Leaders, Laura Tomaino and Jeannette Everritt, the office achieved some major milestones along the way:
- Started a Vermicompost program in their office (managed by Green Team member Deborah Smiley) to compost food waste.
- Managed a successful TerraCycle Pilot in their office to reduce non-recyclable waste.
- Set up a permanent Freecycle area within their office to encourage reuse.
- Transitioned their whole kitchenette to reusable dish ware.
- Convinced operations to add a solar powered trash compactor and recycling station outside the Museum of Comparative Zoology.
Their biggest success and greatest challenge was removing the Poland Springs bubbler and replacing it with a Poland Springs water filtration system—thereby eliminating the need for delivery of those large 5-gallon bottles. Working with their Building Operations team, Irv Dumay and Phil Norton, the OEB Green Team explored the piping structure of their office and found an arrangement that worked for the infrastructure as well as the staff. Now, as word of the OEB Administration’s success spreads, other offices throughout the department are pursuing switching out their bottled water for filtered water.
The OEB Administration is not stopping at leaf four either. As Laura Tomaino puts it, “although we have completed leaf four, we are just getting started! Next steps for us involve mentoring and motivating others to get involved with OFS and working toward any level of Leaf certification." Beyond that, they are also working with the FAS Green Labs Program to expand a composting pilot in the lab buildings. Thanks to the OEB Administration, Building Operations Team, and Custodial Services, the pilot recently had a limited launch in the OEB Administration office and MCZ Lab building, with a further roll out expected in the near future.
What was Laura’s advice for other groups wanting to pursue Green Office? “Join the FAS EcoCitizens group… [they were] a great support for us to brainstorm and troubleshoot for the past few years as we have tried new things for our space.”
All are welcome at the FAS Eco Citizens meeting, which occurs every second Thursday of the Month from 1–2 pm in CGIS Knafel Café. Learn more about pursuing Green Office Certification.