Etsy is an E-Commerce Company focused on handmade or vintage items. The site connects people to artisans all over the world. In fact, many of my zero waste contacts are shop owners on Etsy!
Etsy’s headquarters in Brooklyn, NY has been free of individual use trash cans since 2013. Of course initially, employees felt inconvenienced but the decision proved to be one of their best ones yet.
By creating communal trash stations with recycling, landfill and compost sections, “Etsy’s waste dropped 18%, while its compost rate jumped 300% and its recycling rate went up 20%” According to an article by Business Insider.
Etsy has long dedicated itself to lowering their environmental impact. Every night, Etsy weighs its landfill waste, recycling, and compost using custom built dumpster scales so it can measure its improvement over time. And guess what? They don’t have a commercial compost removal service. Their own employees hop on bikes to deliver their compost to Red Hook Community Farm.
That’s not all folks. Etsy eliminated disposable utensils, cups, and batteries, started using double-sided default printing, regulates office energy consumption, buys food and office supplies locally, and moved toward buying only bulk-packaged foods. Long sentence, lasting impact.
These aren’t just moves for our environment, these are moves for our community. Etsy CEO Chad Dickerson says the communal waste stations are like “Etsy’s water-coolers” and that more spontaneous interactions with employees happen there than anywhere else.
So if you ever find yourself asking, “how can I make a difference?” know that any one of these innovations would have set off a chain reaction for change. You can be the catalyst.
Like my Eco-friendly friend has said, “think globally, act locally”
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A teacher of mine in high school told my class to put up dividers around our desks and then passed out M&Ms to everyone. He asked everyone to organize them. After a few minutes he gets to my desk and sees that I have made a sun and a tree out of the colors I had been given. Laughing, he asked everyone to see how their neighbor had organized their M&Ms. Everyone had organized them into color columns or blobs. He points to mine and says “everyone does things a little differently, and we can all be right.”
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