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5.22kW solar project in Williamsville, NY consisting of 18 of Silevo's Triex U_Series 290 watt panels,
Rivera Greens with solar panels installed.
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by onlinethymes

Going Green with Tray

Thu, Nov 20th 2008 05:00 am

CIR recently added a recycling bin for beverage containers. Someone had been returning pop bottles and cans with the deposits on them for quite some time, but we noticed an increasing number of plastic bottles that ended up in the trash instead of being recycled. We’ve been filling that 15-gallon bin that holds about 50-60 plastic bottles an average of every three weeks, which means we’ll save nearly 1,000 plastic bottles from going to the landfill each year. On the ‘Reduce’ and ‘Reuse’ side, we keep water pitchers in the fridge and have a coffee maker complete with coffee and the related supplies in our kitchen. For anyone that forgets their favorite cup or coffee mug, we give out CIR cups and insulated mugs from time to time.

We’ve also maintained the practice of returning recyclable printer ink containers, and plan on researching if more ink and toner packaging could be recycled. These are relatively small moves because their impact is limited, so we’re turning to the construction industry to make a greater impact with our recycling efforts.

The construction industry provides many opportunities to employ the “Three R’s,” reduce, reuse and recycle, and CIR is planning to develop a standard practice job site and warehouse facility recycling program. According to the US Environmental Protection Agency, construction and demolition waste accounts for 40 percent of the waste entering landfills annually, up to 95 percent of which could be
recycled. When you consider that fact together with the production energy savings when you use recycled materials versus virgin materials, a standard job site and warehouse recycling program could really make a big difference.

The US Green Building Council (USGBC) takes a stand on this issue through their Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) Green Building Rating System. LEED rating systems give credits for building projects that divert 50-75 percent or more of construction waste from landfills by recycling and salvaging materials. With our own standard recycling program, CIR would be ahead of the game for any
LEED certified projects that we work on. We’ll keep you posted on our progress!

FOR MORE INFORMATION on how you or your company can recycle, contact your local municipality and visit, an excellent recycling resource that includes a recycling directory with listings of where you can recycle many other items from batteries to appliances in Western New York.

Tracy Will has been with CIR since April of 2001 and presently holds the title of Sustainability Coordinator. She is currently pursuing a Dual Master of Architecture and Master of Urban Planning Degree from the University at Buffalo, School of Architecture and Planning while working for CIR parttime. Tracy worked as a research assistant from May through December of 2007, investigating issues of sustainability in architecture, with energy issues at the top of the list. She plans to specialize in sustainable design of the built environment and will complete the Sustainable Urban and Natural Environments Graduate Research Group at UB. Tracy is utilizing her knowledge to help CIR become a more sustainable electrical contractor while gaining perspective on the practical application of sustainable building practices in the construction industry.

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