Block Club’s Zero-Waste Initiative 

When we kicked off 2016, Block Club took its first steps towards a new zero-waste initiative. It’s a New Year resolution of sorts, but one that we have no intention of ditching come February.

As most companies grow, a trend that’s often understood to be inevitable is that of more work, more waste, more consumption. We’re very aware of that, so we’re looking to be increasingly thoughtful as we expand, making conscious energy and waste choices. While environmental consciousness has always been an important value of ours, we’ve grown to a size at which the weight of these choices for our environment, with a much larger staff and much larger office, is palpably greater. We share an office with City Dining Cards, and in total, there are typically 21 people in here each day. That means a lot more lighting, more heat and more trash than the Block Club space went through eight years ago.

Our first step has been waste reduction. We’ve started composting, and we’re excited to be working with the Farmer Pirates Cooperative on this—they’re a great cooperative of several urban farms in Buffalo, running a weekly commercial pick-up service for Buffalo businesses interested in composting. (They also offer individual residential pickup if you’re interested in composting at your home! More info here.) At the end of each week, we swap out our composting barrels and start over with new ones.

As for recycling, we’ve got that covered after our collaboration on the 34 and More recycling campaign. Regular recyclables are dropped in the green bins; plastic bags and the like are deposited at a grocery store for recycling; styrofoam is saved up until a scheduled drop-off at Thermal Foams. Done!

Finally, one last thought on waste reduction: designer Ryan McMullen recently mentioned something that has caused a huge shift in my thought process before throwing anything out. On a recent trip, he noticed that waste receptacles in New York City parks were all labelled “recycling,” “compost” or “landfill.” Landfill, rather than garbage or trash—an incredibly simple yet powerful word choice that reminds you exactly where that plastic water bottle will go.

Block Club’s next steps will be in energy consumption. This year, we’ll begin looking for local options to begin carbon offsetting. I’m on the lookout for tree-planting initiatives and have come across a few exciting options. More to come soon, but please give us a heads up if there are any local carbon offsetting initiatives you’ve had success with!

On a larger-scale timeline over the next few years, Block Club will move towards investing in and sourcing clean energy options. Everyone works hard here at Block Club and City Dining Cards, and the office is usually still quite full come 6:30 each night. We spend our days here, and this zero-waste initiative enables us to spend them in a work space that’s pulling its own weight. Making environmentally friendly choices is not always the easiest, quickest or cheapest option, and it’s a huge perk to know that even if we don’t all have the individual capacity to make these choices in our own apartments or homes, we have the means to make them in the space where we spend the lion’s share of our week. It feels pretty great to be a part of that, and a part of this thoughtful team.

(Close to) zero waste, here we come!