When natural disasters like Hurricane Sandy strike, reducing the amount of papers printed to brief Federal Emergency Management Agency staff on action plans hardly seems like a top priority. But now that things have calmed down a bit, FEMA’s New York Joint Field Office is reminding themselves about the need to keep their taxpayer-funded budget in check, and has implemented a Green Initiative Group to help cut back their massive use of paper as well as their environmental impact. Thus far, the move to a greener operation has reduced paper use by 51 percent in the first month alone, saving the organization money that could be spent on more important things like food and water for future emergency situations.
Spearheaded by federal coordinating officer Michael F. Byrne, the new Go Green Initiative Group not only decreased paper use from 741,703 pages to 364,878 pages by instituting double-sided printing, they also spurred a number of creative “Green Ideas” that save the JFO both resources and time as they graduate the unit to the realms of the digital age. New ideas include encouraging employee use of Adobe e-signatures to sign training and human resources forms, implementing electronic IT help desk requests and finding alternative ways to provide Geographic Information System products.
Ken Schouwburg, lead of the supply unit joins in on the efforts by stocking the office with recycled office supplies from paper to post-it notes. The unit’s supply room also serves as a hub for collecting used batteries and toner cartridges that are sent off for proper recycling.
Grant Arrington, group chair of the Go Green Initiative, credited the new initiative as a positive move in the right direction by stating: “We have a responsibility to be good stewards of taxpayer dollars and we have a responsibility to be good stewards of our environment.”