WEF Continues Its Green Streak

September 22, 2015

Featured, WEF Resources & Efforts

The Water Environment Federation (WEF; Alexandria, Va.) redesigned the garden in front of the headquarters building using plants that require less water. WEF photo/Jennifer Fulcher.

The Water Environment Federation (WEF; Alexandria, Va.) redesigned the garden in front of the headquarters building using plants that require less water. WEF photo/Jennifer Fulcher.

The Water Environment Federation (WEF; Alexandria, Va.) is keeping its green-streak going by expanding its recycling program and refreshing the water-saving features of its garden.

WEF has been recycling plastic, metal, paper, cardboard, and glass since 1993. Twice a week, rubbish removal picks up four 363-L (96-gal) containers filled with recyclable materials.

In addition to using a number of ink-cartridge-free Xerox (Norwalk, Conn.) machines, WEF also takes part in the Xerox Green World Alliance program. Through the program, WEF staff send 11 kg (25 lb) of toner cartridges to be recycled every other month, according to Eric Leach, contractor for WEF’s facilities management department.

WEF has started recycling single-serving coffee cups. WEF photo/Fulcher.

WEF has started recycling the single-serving coffee cups. WEF photo/Fulcher.

In March, WEF added Keurig Green Mountain’s (Waterbury, Vt.) single-serving coffee cups, K-cups®, to the list of recyclables. Through the Grounds to Grow On™ program, Keurig recovers used pods, separates coffee and tea grounds from other pod components, sends grounds to be composted, and sends other components to be converted to energy in an energy-from-waste process, according to the Grounds to Grow On website.

As of July, WEF had sent 11 66-kg (145-lb) containers of K-cups, to be recycled, according to Korrine Baccali, sustainability specialist with Keurig.

WEF has been recycling plastic, metal, paper, cardboard, and glass since 1993. WEF photo/Fulcher.

WEF has been recycling plastic, metal, paper, cardboard, and glass since 1993. WEF photo/Fulcher.

In addition to installing a green roof and green terrace in 2009, WEF redesigned the garden in front of the headquarters building last fall. The redesign began by selecting plants that require less water including abeila, fountain grass, holly “Blue Prince/Blue Princess,” rose “Drift” and “Knock Out, ” Russian sage, and sedum, Leach said. Installing a rain garden was not an option because of potential for water damage to the building’s foundation, so WEF chose to install a rock garden to facilitate stormwater infiltration.

Jennifer Fulcher, WEF Highlights

 

Flashback on the Beginning of WEF’s Green Movement

As part of WEF's Low Carb(on) Diet Initiative, in 2007 WEF constructed a green terrace. WEF photo/Fulcher.

As part of WEF’s Low Carb(on) Diet Initiative, in 2007 WEF constructed a green terrace. WEF photo/Fulcher.

The Water Environment Federation (WEF; Alexandria, Va.) works to exemplify the value of water and sustainable operation. In mid-2007, beginning with the Low Carb(on) Diet Initiative, WEF launched the WEF Eco program to reduce its effects on the environment.

In addition to constructing a green roof and terrace, WEF

  • installed a new energy management system to maximize the efficiency of the building’s HVAC and lighting;
  • installed motion sensors to automatically turn off lights in unoccupied areas;
  • upgraded to more energy efficient fluorescents, electronic ballasts, and copiers;
  • expanded its recycling program to include cardboard, glass, metals, and other materials; and
  • replaced disposable kitchenware with reusable items.

WEF also began printing publications on recycled paper and reduced paper use by changing its award-winning technical bulletins and other materials to an electronic-only format. WEF also uses chlorine-free, “green” cleaning products, primarily from Seventh Generation (Burlington, Vt.), to promote safety for both staff and the environment. It also offers incentives for employees to use mass transit and participates in the Local Motion Commuter Challenge. Through WEF Eco, staff volunteers organize quarterly and annual projects to educate both staff and the community about the local environment.

Read more about WEF’s sustainability efforts in the WEF Highlights articles

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