Honoring Earth Month: A Recycling Refresher for Weber Thompson

Last month, in preparation for Earth Month, the Weber Thompson SustainabiliTeam (WTST) office operations crew put their talents together and created a rap about waste sorting to the tunes of Hamilton. Yes, you read that correctly. To re-energize the WT staff, the office operations team took over the bi-monthly all office meeting and rapped (or should I say wrapped?) about compost, trash and recycling.

It went a little something like this:

To throw it in the compost or not
To throw it in the compost or not
Yo, poly lactic acid
I’m building microbe habit
To throw it in the compost or not

To put it in recycle you ought
To put it in recycle you ought
One through six fo’ me
Don’t take a master’s degree
So recycle me, and don’t get caught

To throw it in the garbage to rot
To throw it in the garbage to rot
I’m glittery, Styrofoam-y
You know you wanna throw me
So put it in the garbage to rot

Sustainabiliteam Volunteers
WTST Volunteers from left to right: Brad ‘The Recycle Man,’ Burton ‘The Trash Trickster,’ and Gerald ‘The Compost King.’

To aid in the process we had boisterous volunteers including: Brad ‘The Recycle Man,’ Burton ‘The Trash trickster,’ and Gerald ‘The Compost King.’ The team’s energetic performance would have even made Lin-Manuel Miranda proud. The recycle man donned repurposed head gear and a cape made of recycled construction documents from the landscape studio, the trash trickster wore a cork hat, while the compost king flaunted a romaine crown with a pumpkin T-shirt.

Neha Goel sorting the competition table to find the winner.
Neha Goel sorting the competition table to find the winner.

Afterwards, WT staff was invited to participate in an intra-office competition for a bit of good natured us-against-them to get everyone really thinking about the appropriate destination of some items that we come across on a daily basis. Each team received a bag of articles to be identified into three categories: trash, recycling and compost; the highest-scoring team was offered not only eternal glory and bragging rights, but prizes including a coffee gift card (recyclable, no less!) and an upcycled “Button Person” made by WT’s very own Susan Frieson. The competition was followed by a discussion of the answers and an elaborate Q&A session from our audience about nitty gritty of Why certain things end up where they do.

Upcycled Button Men made by WT Associate, Susan Frieson.

While it was all fun and games during the meeting, the activities were meant to re-emphasize the importance of improving our waste sorting habits as an office and broader community. The City of Seattle estimates that 100,000 tons of what goes to the landfill every year is fully compostable. At the last count, the city was only able to divert 56% of the waste stream from reaching landfills. City-wide, we’re targeting 70% waste diversion by 2022. Reduction of food waste is a critical step to reducing our carbon emissions, in fact the project Drawdown ranks composting food waste amongst the top 3 of the top 100 solutions to reverse global warming.

Recycling and compost cheat sheet provided by WTST.

As a firm we are committed to sustainable building practices, but that’s not where our commitment ends. The WTST’s work to take a close look at our office operations has everyone firm-wide asking, “how can we ‘green-up’ our daily habits?” In Seattle we’re fairly isolated from the dramatic weather patterns and natural disasters affecting other parts of the world, but we can’t afford to ignore the signs. As a firm and a city we must do more to reduce our consumption, reuse what we can, and recycle our precious resources while we still have time to preserve this beautiful place we call home.

So what are you doing to celebrate Earth Month and Earth Week? Does your firm or company have a program to reduce, reuse and recycle? If you’re in need of refresher, give us a call…you never know, maybe The Compost King, Recycle Man, and Trash Trickster would be willing to pay your office a visit.

Neha Goel, LEED AP BD+C is a core member of the WT Sustainabiliteam and leads the firm’s internal office operations efforts. She helped organize the all-office hijinks mentioned above with Susan Frieson & Michele Richmond. She moved from Delhi, India and is continually in awe of Washington’s natural beauty. On the weekend you can find Neha trekking through the mountains, kayaking our waterways or biking scenic byways.

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