LIHUE — After months of searching for an empty room that could be converted to a holding area for reusable office supplies, furniture or equipment for county agencies, the county’s Green Team recently came up with an alternate idea.
“It’s a classic example of making lemons out of lemonade,” said Glenn Sato, the county’s sustainability manager and Green Team leader. “Since we couldn’t find a physical space, we decided to launch a virtual reuse room.”
He explained that county agencies that have new or gently used office supplies, furniture or equipment that they no longer need can take a photo of the item and upload it to the reuse room located on the county’s SharePoint site along with a brief description and contact information.
Since the reuse room is a virtual site, items of all shapes and sizes can be accommodated, as long as the person doing the posting is willing to hold on to the item for a period of time.
If a county employee finds something that his agency can use, he simply makes arrangements with the respective agency to transfer the item and the item is then deleted from the reuse room. However, a formal transfer process must be followed if an item is on the county’s inventory list.
“Our goals for this project are to help the county become more efficient, reduce long-held inventory items, and save agencies money at the same time,” said Sato. “Hopefully, we are also serving as a model for large organizations that could benefit from a similar initiative. I’d be happy to answer any questions that anyone may have about our virtual reuse room.”
Another project tackled by the county’s Green Team that has been successful is the “Disposables to Reusable” campaign for county offices.
Instead of purchasing disposable items for meetings, county agencies can borrow “meeting kits” that consist of reusable items such as ceramic plates and cups, stainless steel flatware and cloth napkins. There are 3 kits in the Green Team’s loaner program that can service up to 25 people each or a total of 75.
Additionally, a number of county agencies are now using Brita pitchers and have eliminated or reduced their bottled water purchases.
“Becoming more sustainable is one of the county’s major goals,” said Mayor Bernard Carvalho, Jr. “The Green Team’s efforts to improve the county’s resource management that result in cost-savings and a reduction in our carbon footprint is an important element of our vision for Kauai.”