Environmental Responsibility at Work

In the office where I work, we have containers for trash, recycling, and compost. One could imagine that the presence of these containers is a predictor of our success in saving the planet. However, in Laudato Si, Pope Francis advises us:

“If we want to bring about deep change, we need to realize that certain mindsets really do influence our behaviour.”

Our office spans two floors and we have an open floor plan and kitchens on each floor. The bins for trash, recycling, and compost are located in the kitchens. 

So it sounds like we are setup for success right? Not quite… Interspersed in our open floor plan are a smattering of labeled trash bins and recycling bins. What happens is, people eat lunch at their desk, and toss whatever they have, trash, recycling, or compost, into the NEAREST bin, regardless of how it is labeled. 

This is the behavior that needs to change, which starts with education. I imagine most of my co-workers mindlessly use those bins and if the behavior was brought to their attention, they would willingly alter their behavior. For most things we wish to change, we must acknowledge our role first. For me, this means helping my colleagues understand the problem, and working with facilities to add more containers for trash, recycling, and compost that are within reach of people’s desks. 

Working together, we can help take care of our common home.

Suzanna Litwin

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