Free Recycling for Local Businesses

The City of Cambridge has launched a Small Business Recycling Pilot program for businesses with up to 50 employees. Pilot businesses will receive free collection of up to three 65-gallon carts of recyclables twice per week, starting this Fall/Winter. Special consideration will be given to businesses that are:

  1. 51% women or minority-owned
  2. 51% Cambridge resident-owned
  3. Not a Formula Business (Zoning Code, Article 2, pg. 2-6)
  4. 51% retail or restaurant establishment

Apply at Tinyurl.com/SmallBizRecycle

Deadline to apply is August 10. Contact Recycling Director Michael Orr for questions: morr@cambridgema.gov

Intelligent Labor & Moving Use CLF Connections to Grow its Business and “Go Green”

Intelligent Labor & Moving Warehouse

Solar array which powers the business

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

We love to hear feedback from our member businesses.

Intelligent Labor & Moving has been a loyal and committed member of Cambridge Local First for nearly a decade. They believe in delivering quality service, giving back to their community, and being environmentally and socially conscious. They recently reached out to let us know how their CLF connections came through in a big way.

Several years ago, as they were thinking about how they would take the business to the next level of growth, they knew they’d need a banking partner. No surprise, they found a trustworthy, reliable partner in Cambridge Savings Bank, a founding member bank of Cambridge Local First. CSB helped Intelligent Labor & Moving access a cost-effective loan through the Small Business Administration (SBA). The loan only required a 10% down payment, which allowed them to use additional money they had saved to install solar panels on the warehouse. As a company that has long been an environmental advocate, they were always looking for ways to “go green.” They also know that green practices are good for the bottom line. Navigating the complex world of solar panel vendors could have been time-consuming and overwhelming. Fortunately, they were able to connect with long-time CLF member Iggy’s Bread who gave them a high-quality referral. Today, Intelligent Labor & Moving not only generates enough solar energy to power its warehouse, it gets money back from the surplus!

We are grateful for Intelligent Labor & Moving’s long-time commitment CLF and are proud to know that our community of local businesses are working together to help each other succeed – both financially and for the greater good.

Infusing “Green” Thinking Company-Wide

March 22, 2017: Cambridge, MA–As a small, consulting firm that helps its clients improve energy and environmental planning, Synapse is used to thinking green. But translating that professional focus into daily workplace habits is another story altogether.

 

Like many businesses in Central Square, Synapse leases its office space. This means we don’t always have control over factors that affect sustainability. Fortunately, there’s a good deal we can do. The trick is to combine being opportunistic about big workplace changes as they arise with infusing “green” thinking company-wide into the small, everyday decisions we all make. While we’re always looking to do better, we’ve found this approach allows us to make real and continuous progress on sustainability without too much disruption to daily work life.

 

What does it mean to be opportunistic about sustainability? For starters, when big decisions come up the environment must make the top tier of factors to consider. When Synapse renews a lease or looks for new office space, our checklist includes a number of requirements that affect our environmental impact: Will the office be easily accessible by public transit? Does it have lots of natural light to make us more energy efficient? Does it have kitchen access for those trying to reduce their food packaging waste (and save money, too)? Is there a place for our cyclists to safely park their bikes? Is the building itself energy efficient?

 

Meeting these requirements isn’t as burdensome as it seems. Pretty much every one of them has co-benefits that are good for the company–namely, quality of life for employees, lower operating costs for the company, and better productivity.

 

In between lease renewals, we’ve found it helpful to keep up a dialogue with the building management. They may not always be able to accommodate requests, but they might be willing to consider more environmentally friendly options when they make decisions about cleaning services, HVAC systems, or recycling options.

 

So what about those small, everyday decisions that we make? Synapse takes the usual steps of purchasing recycled paper, minimizing paper printing, using energy efficient light bulbs, and placing recycling bins in convenient spots. But we provide some additional green “perks.” We use a composting pick-up service (thanks, Bootstrap Compost!) and arrange collections for e-waste. We even encourage employees to bring e-waste from home. Synapse staff also get discounts for Hubway bikeshare accounts, and we’re happy to say they use the service frequently.

 

Perhaps more important is encouraging sustainable habits and being vocal about being green. For instance, we foster pride in the fact that less than 10 percent of us drive to work. When we switched to a paperless format to avoid printing handouts for a weekly meeting, we told staff why. Similar opportunities include sharing data on the number of pages printed each month or highlighting where we can save energy by putting lights on sensors or timers.
Synapse is fortunate that its employees are a fairly green bunch. On any given day, you can hear them discussing their home composting tips, the solar panels on their homes, or the deep energy retrofit they’ve undertaken. Many of them are also among the brave group that bikes to work throughout the Boston winter. As we look for additional ways to become more sustainable, we are proud to work in a community where so many share our commitment to a sustainable workplace.

Basil Bins and a Commitment to Sustainable Catering

In response to CLF’s “Love your Planet Month”, Basil Tree wanted to share some of our green initiatives. It has been our mission from the beginning, 30 years ago, to become a company committed to maintaining earth friendly practices.

We compost 90%+ of all of our onsite food waste and work with Save That Stuff to ensure that we comply with the most up to date standards for waste and recycling. We offer only compostable paper products to our customers, made from repurposed sugar cane and wheat fiber (don’t worry, it’s gluten-free J).

Even better than recycling is reusing!   Basil Tree created a program using storage containers that we call our “Basil Bins”. The Basil Bin allows for customers to deposit any platters, lids, serving utensils, and re-usable beverage dispensers into the container after use and we schedule pick-ups for the next day. Once the bins are back at Basil Tree, we wash and sanitize the items so that they can be used again.

We continually work to educate ourselves and improve our green efforts.  Sustainable Business Network (SBN) of Mass helps us stay informed.  One suggestion that they have made for member companies is to consider using ThinkLite to switch over lighting to more energy efficient LEDs.  ThinkLite has a system to change out the bulbs without having to change the fixtures which is more environmentally sound.  If you contact ThinkLite tell them SBN sent you.

At Basil Tree, we treat every day like it’s Earth Day.