This time last year, MARC was gearing up for one of our most significant moves yet, consolidating all three of our previous locations into one at 25 Industrial Park Rd. This move prompted many new goals for us as an organization, including one we held high; to become more efficient and sustainable.
Our facility had been vacant for three years before occupancy, with little to no upgrades done in over 30 years. From the beginning of construction until now, MARC has implemented new energy-efficient heating, cooling, and lighting solutions, powered mainly by brand new solar panels. It was an ambitious project made possible thanks to our incredible partners and grantors, Eversource CT, Energy Resources, People's Bank, and the state Office of Policy and Management. (Read more about our project in The Middletown Press' article)
However, an energy-efficient building wasn't the only means of our sustainable goals. We wanted to ensure proper waste management and promote education around reducing, reusing, and recycling. Thus, the Green Team was born.
This team includes both staff and individuals throughout our programs. Staff meets every month to examine the sustainability opportunities within the organization's operations and establish the best sustainable procedures and ideology. Ordering proper waste bins, creating clear visual signage for what belongs in each bin, and coming up with activities centered around sustainable practice are a few topics they discuss.
Our other half of the Green Team, program participants, meet weekly with one or more staff to review the fundamentals of how to dispose of waste properly. Each class involves learning something new, like the journey of their recycled items from the bin, to the recycling plant and transformation into a brand new product. They are also a part of ensuring visual signage is adequate for themselves and their peers with I/DD.
As a team, we have learned that recycling is not as easy of a task, nor does everyone practice the same recycling efforts. For example, did you know that a chasing arrow symbol doesn't necessarily mean it's recyclable? The number inside the arrows distinguishes the type of plastic resin the product is. Before you throw it in your recycling bin, it is best to check with your waste facility to make sure they accept it. Otherwise, you might find a way to re-purpose it or find another facility to take it before tossing it into the trash.
The road to a sustainable future is an endeavor that the Green Team is willing and ready to take. It will require continued education, resources, and practice, but we know that the reward will be one not just for us but for our entire planet.
If you are interested in learning more or would like to help further the Green Team's mission, please contact GreenCommittee@marc-cr.org.