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How To Create a Green Team at Your Company

Allagash recycling co-op members discuss the wins and opportunities of the past year

What is a green team? It’s a group of sustainability-minded individuals within a company that works together to reduce that company’s environmental impact.

At Allagash, members of our green team come from all departments of the company–and that’s by design. Our goal was to not simply relegate sustainability practices to a single department, but to look at them holistically across everything that we do.

a person adding stretch wrap to a bin in preparation for it to be baled and shipped off for recycling

Bob, from the Allagash Green Team, adds stretch wrap to a bin in preparation for it to be baled and shipped off for recycling

So, how do you go about creating a Green Team at your company? The lesson we’ve learned is to start small. 

First: Identify an attainable goal. It can be as simple as using less water, as a company. Maybe install flow-restricting heads in the bathroom sinks? Or you can look at material usage. Could you use less paper towels? Or less paper in general by making all internal messages come through email, rather than be posted physically?

And then there’s also sidestreaming. Do you use any one material moreso than others? For us, we use quite a few latex gloves. We talked to the manufacturer of our gloves and found out that they have a take-back program, where they will send you a bin specifically for gloves. Now, none of our gloves go into the landfill, and go back to that company to be recycled and made into new gloves.

Sidestreaming bay of bins at Allagash

This bay of sidestreaming bins is the result of years of hard work by the Allagash Green Team.

A step that can go along with the first one is to designate a “leader” of sorts. This person, beyond their day-to-day responsibilities, will be in charge of setting up meetings and simply making sure that projects are moving forward. As we’ve found, the necessities of everyday business can often get in the way of pushing forward sustainability goals.

Once you have your team, your goals, your meeting schedule, and your leader to push it all forward, you’re in a great place. And it was in this place that we’ve been since around 2007, when our Green Team officially started. So, what comes after that?

The next step of any Green Team is to find a way to create a full-time position around sustainability. And here at Allagash, we’re lucky to say that we created just such a position in 2021. We were able to hire a full-time sustainability coordinator, who will be reporting directly to company leadership, and will be taking over as leader of the Green Team. We can’t wait to see what sorts of leaps we’re able to make with a person working constantly to push our sustainability practices in everything we do.

And if you want to hear more about our Green Team at Allagash, check out this podcast episode featuring our new and former Green Team leaders!

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