Meghan’s Sustainable Office Tips: Reuse Junk Mail

Reuse Junk Mail Before You Recycle It!

Although I am someone who is very concerned with environmental sustainability, there are certain unsustainable practices that are easy to fall prey to when you are working in an urban office space. I try to work on ways to make office life less wasteful and more resourceful. So I’m going to be posting about some of the small things that I like to do to in order to be more conscientious of resources & waste while at work.

Yes, you should recycle, recycle, recycle. But before you toss all that junk mail into the blue box, think about its possibilities! The envelopes and the backs of letter paper are pristine surfaces to write on. It takes just a few minutes for me cut up this pile of “junk” and transform it into note paper. Then I’m using it to its full potential before sending it off to be recycled!

It’s also important to consider simply cutting down on the amount of junk mail your workplace receives. If you have a fax machine, get off those spam fax lists! It’s worth taking a few moments each week or two to fax, email, or call in to subscribe from junk mail and junk faxes!

I’d love to hear what you all are doing as well! Please send me your tips and I’ll post them all up here.

Exploring the Weekend Wilderness

Despite dedicating so much time to educating about our local environments and sharing people’s sustainability stories, it still can be a challenge to carve out some time to enjoy the nature around me. It doesn’t help when it’s freezing cold and the sun sets before six, either! This past weekend, I managed to escape from urban life for a little while to the Virginia wilderness! Here are some photos from my adventure.

Virginia Wilderness (Photo by Meghan Filoromo)
Virginia Wilderness (Photo by Meghan Filoromo)
Virginia Wilderness (Photo by Meghan Filoromo)
Virginia Wilderness (Photo by Meghan Filoromo)

Learning New Things Related to Sustainable Living

GreenTreks Network has been lucky to have volunteer David Hecht on board since June 2012. Dave is working with GreenTreks Network as part of the GlaxoSmithKline Pulse Volunteer Program. Today, Dave is guest-blogging to share some of his recent experiences being in Philadelphia.

PECO Green Roof by Dave Hecht

Over the years I have heard about the increase interest in the green infrastructure. We saw stories on television related to the greening of the Seattle and Portland, Oregon, areas. I am fortunate to volunteer through the GlaxoSmithKline Pulse program at GreenTreks Network Inc. They help tell stories that change the world. I have lived in Philadelphia over the last 3 months and have learned that this city is moving towards being a better sustainable city. Some private organizations have also been driven to this environmental goal. Over the last three weeks I have had a great opportunity to see two unique locations in the Philadelphia area. The first is at the Morris Arboretum and the second is the PECO office building in Center City Philadelphia. Both of the organizations have decided to work on having LEED-certified buildings.

Morris Arboretum Green Roof by Dave Hecht

The Morris Arboretum [featured in our Porous Pavement video] has a building that is Platinum-rated LEED Certified. Some of their buildings that impressed me were the green roofed storage/garage facilities. The two roofs grow different flora on them. The type flora grown is related to the depth of the soil. One roof is 2500 sq. ft with 4 inches of soil while the other is 3750 sq. ft with 8 inches of soil. Sedum is a typical growth since it is drought and temperature resistant.

A comparator roof is found on the 8th floor of the PECO building. This roof is much larger than the Morris roofs. It is 45,000 sq. ft of surface space with 4 inches thick with soil. It also has sedum and other flora growing on it.

The primary idea with having a roof with natural plant growth is stormwater management. The water that normally gets on roofs goes down the storm drain into our water supplies. Often there is waste or slit going in to the system along with the rain water. We know that we need to decrease the amount of runoff to help the waterways of our country.

PECO Green Roof by Dave Hecht

With the videos that GreenTreks produces we help show stories like these to give others a positive educational experience.

For the PECO Green Roof fact sheet, click here. It’s fascinating stuff!
To learn more about green infrastructure and stormwater management, visit StormwaterPA.org.

On the Farm with Meghan

As some of you know, I spent the summer interning on an organic farm located in Central Pennsylvania within the Chesapeake Bay watershed. Learning about organic agriculture was a wonderful experience! I wanted to share some photos of my farming internship with you.

Now that I’m back in the GreenTreks office, I’d love to catch up with all of our partners and supporters. Send me a line and fill me in on your summer!

To learn more about the organic farm I interned on, visit the Village Acres Farm website.

Piglets (Photo by Meghan Filoromo)
Farm (Photo by Meghan Filoromo)
Tomatoes (Photo by Meghan Filoromo)
Blueberry Field (Photo by Meghan Filoromo)

Get on Your Bike and Do Some Good!

GT Staffers Meghan and Anita on their bike commutes

We’ve made it through the sweltering heat of summer (finally!) and now we’ve hit beautiful, warm-but-perfectly-cooler weather. I know us staffers here at GreenTreks are certainly welcoming it. Bike-commuting is much more enjoyable when you don’t arrive as a puddle of sweat!

Schuylkill River Trail Bike TourComing up at the end of September, are a number of opportunities to enjoy a bicycle ride and do some good at the same time. First up on Saturday, September 22, 2012, is the Schuylkill River Trail Bike Tour: Rails and River Towns Ride. Bike along the Schuylkill River Trail, learn about the history of the Pennsylvania Railroad during a presentation by Bob Thomas, and, best of all, support the Schuylkill River Heritage Area. This is the first ride of this new bike tour series, and it sounds excellent for all levels of riders (choose from a 18-mile ride & walking tour, a 20-mile ride, or a 9-mile ride and guided tour).  Learn more about the bike tour and register here.


PASA's Bike Fresh Bike LocalThe next day, on Sunday, September 23, 2012, the Pennsylvania Association for Sustainable Agriculture (PASA) is hosting Bike Fresh, Bike Local in Downingtown, PA. Proceeds from this ride benefit PASA’s work for sustainable, family farms in Eastern Pennsylvania. Whether you choose the 25-, 50-, or 75-mile ride, you’ll get to enjoy a lunch of local foods and enjoy a Victory Brewing Company craft beer. Plus, I’ll be volunteering at the break station for the 75-mile riders, so stop by and say hi! Learn more and register here.