In honor of Earth Day, Encompass Health employees from the Home Office share the eco-friendly practices they use at work and home.

No litterbugs allowed

“As a child, my parents taught us not to be litterbugs and my grandmother collected rainwater to reuse for gardening, so I have been around eco-friendly concepts my entire life.

I have implemented these few things in my life: Always carry reusable water bottles. Use and give stainless steel straws out as gifts. Carry my own grocery and veggie bags to the store. Use re-usable containers to carry my lunch. Buy products in containers that you know are recyclable in your community. Use a coffee pot instead of a coffee pod—this one can be a challenge! It is my belief that the most important part of being be eco-friendly is to eliminate the need to be eco-friendly. Any effort by a person or a company can impact what ends up in our landfills and oceans.” — Laurel Saxon

A doggone good idea

“I brought my own plate, silverware and dish soap to work in case treats are brought to the office. This way, I can decrease the amount of plastic, Styrofoam, and paper I use. I keep an Encompass Health cup at my desk to use and refill to avoid using disposable cups. At home, it can be tricky to clean all the peanut butter out of the jar in order to recycle it. To make this process easier, I give the jars to my dogs to clean out. Then I rinse them and recycle! I keep a special recycling basket at my desk and collect recyclables from my co-workers, and encourage others to recycle.” — Alaina Ploski

Like grandma did it

“There are so many options—some are innovative, and some are like grandma did it. At our house, we try to be responsible for all the waste we produce. In addition to recycling, we compost all of our food scraps.

Of course, have a water/coffee travel mug always handy, and using cloth tote bags is part of our plan. Wax coated cloth is constantly in use for wrapping up small amounts of food. The bee’s wax in the cloth warms in the hand and molds to the item. They are washable in cold water. They don’t last forever, but once the wax begins to wear off, these can go into the compost, too. For around the house cleaning and dish washing we use loofah sponges that we grow in our yard. They are great for scrubbing (and for bathing) and when they start to break down, can be tossed into the compost.

I have found that when I am out shopping and grabbing food to go, if I tell folks that I am trying not to use any plastic, they often have an alternative, like a paper bowl for my take-out. It is a constant test of my awareness, but I learn new ways to do things every time.” — Ginger Wyatt

There’s a place for everything if you look hard enough

“Use re-usable bags for all shopping, not just at the grocery store. I have larger bags for clothes shopping and the like. I have also reached out to stores to ask them to consider providing re-usable bags like what TJ Maxx provides. Most UPS Stores will take packing foam and other packing materials. Batteries of all shapes and sizes can be dropped off at Batteries Plus Bulbs at no charge. They will also recycle fluorescent bulbs for a small fee.

Compact fluorescent bulbs can be recycled at Lowe’s. Municipalities will typically have a couple of days per year where you can drop off unused paint; some schools will take it for drama productions and the like. I support and contact vendors that participate in the effort to use compostable serving containers, and I will voice my concern to vendors who are not supporting the effort. Encourage others to recycle–my husband finally decided it was futile to fight it anymore.” — Tammy Randle

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