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Improving Sustainability at GBBG - Mar 31, 2014

With the help of Beth Ledvina, our Sustainability Intern from UWGB’s Environmental Management and Business Institute, Green Bay Botanical Garden is undertaking new and exciting possibilities for improving sustainability. We will be making changes to reduce the amount of negative impact we have on the environment as well as dispersing information about what members of the community can do to reduce their impact. In the coming month we will be posting information to social media about environmental topics to encourage steps toward sustainability.

The first step the Garden is taking in this movement is improving recycling practices and availability in the garden. We conducted an unannounced trash audit in order to better understand how we could improve. This audit showed there was room to improve in the area of recoverable recyclables in the trash. In the audit, we collected one week's worth of trash from the dumpsters, sorted and weighed each bag for correctly, and incorrectly disposed material, and compiled that information.

We found that over the week, 38 pounds of trash was collected which was composed of: 3.8 pounds of recyclables; and 7.4 pounds compostable material. This information can be used to find expected amounts of recycling and trash during high attendance events.  It is anticipated that upwards of 14,000 pounds of recyclable material per month is ending up in the waste stream. That includes improperly disposed of water bottles, paper, aluminum cans and more.

We saw this trash audit as a great starting point to improve our recycling. We will soon have uniform trash and recycling bins placed throughout the visitor center, meeting rooms, event spaces, and the education center. This way anyone visiting the garden will be able to easily dispose of their trash and recycling in the correct bins. We are also looking into composting options for the future to further reduce the amount of usable waste disposed of at GBBG. Keep an eye out for information on composting, water usage, effective recycling, what GBBG is doing to help the Earth, and what you can do to reduce your impact at home!  

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