Sustainability is the ability to utilize the earth’s natural resources without depleting them for future generations. It involves protecting the environment while being economically efficient and benefiting society. At Austin Creative Reuse we strive to operate sustainably by implementing environmentally safe practices and policies to ensure a better future.
Sustainability requires that we make a positive impact on people and our planet as well operating as a stable and prosperous organization financially. Therefore, we use the framework of triple bottom line accounting -tracking social, environmental, and financial impact- to measure our success.
Principles and objectives
Observing the amount of energy we consume is important to becoming sustainable. We connect with fellow tenants and property managers to help us reach our sustainability goal. As an organization we try our best to minimize our energy consumption:
- Observe the amount of energy used through a yearly energy audit
- Reduce the amount of energy used, guided by energy audit
- Use CFLs or LEDs instead of incandescent light bulbs
- Turn off appliances (computers, lights, etc) when not in use
- Take advantage of natural light
- Minimize energy used for heating and cooling while maintaining a comfortable environment for customers, volunteers, and staff. Adjust the temperature when not in use.
- Minimize energy use for transportation by including alternative transport options in our building selection matrix, including detailed public transportation directions on our website, providing bike parking, and carpooling to events when possible.
We want to help the City of Austin meet its Zero Waste goal through our mission to divert the amount of materials going to the landfill by utilizing creative reuse and to make sure any materials that are leaving the store do not end up in a landfill.
- Develop an environmentally preferable purchasing policy
- Reduce paper, junk mail sent to business
- Make Austin Creative Reuse Business cards from discarded cardboard
- Limit the amount of marketing material we print out and encourage the use of our website address for people to find out more about Austin Creative Reuse.
- When possible we print on paper that has already been printed on. We use recycled paper if fresh paper is required
- Provide recycling for hazardous waste
- Make efforts to distribute materials locally before shipping to another location. (Craigslist, Etsy,etc.)
- Search our donations for items that we need for our operations and buy as little as possible. Our wishlist contains items we need for daily operations but do not regularly collect from individuals, businesses or industrial suppliers.
- Reuse, and then recycle materials whenever possible
- Weigh and track all materials sent to the landfill.
We are aware that water is a valuable resource in Austin and around the world. Austin Creative Reuse uses water to clean paint brushes
- Participate in Austin Water 3C business challenge
- Post signs in restroom areas to encourage water conservation
- Conduct regular leak checks on bathroom sinks/toilets
Healthy Work Environment
As an organization, working together is important to promote a healthy work environment.
- Provide education and/or resources to support employee health and wellness
- Offer staff options or assistance to ensure proper ergonomics
- Display art created by local artists and/or showcase employee art
Reuse sparks passion and awareness. Involvement as a steward of the world is easy, fun, and healing (from core values). Community voice matters-listening identifies the needs of the community and provides opportunities to evaluate our usefulness (from core values)
- Sponsor/participate in community volunteer events & encourage employees to engage in other community service and volunteerism
- Advocate for community causes
Communication, Outreach, and Reporting
- Communicate with employees, volunteers and customers about our initiatives and changes to becoming more sustainable at work and at home
- Calculate our carbon footprint yearly.
- Support individual and group efforts in environmental initiatives and practices by employees and volunteers.
- Measure these objectives and include them in our yearly board report, summarize in our annual report.
Scope and commitment
- This policy applies to the operation of our center, actions by our staff and board, and to our participation in events organized by others to the full extent possible.
- We acknowledge that as tenants we have limited influence over the operation of our building and grounds, but will share our policy and goals with our landlords and neighbors and promote more sustainable operations whenever possible.
- We will offer to do reuse audit of neighbors and to work with landlord to educate about them about opportunities for sustainability improvement, such as City Of Austin initiatives.
- We commit complying with and -exceeding when possible- all relevant environmental regulation.
- The board accepts responsibility for implementation of this policy. This responsibility will transfer to the Executive Director when hired (with support from the board and staff).