Teatown is now certified as a “Green Business” by the Green Business Partnership
Image: Green Business Partnership
Our shared future depends on our ability to transform the way we do business, and even small non-profits like Teatown contribute to the global environmental footprint.
When we were approached by the Green Business Partnership (GBP) last year, getting certified was a no-brainer!
Over the last year, our Green Team has worked to integrate the Green Business Partnership’s six-category system of green practices into every aspect of out business: energy, waste, purchasing, transportation, water, and land. We’re proud to say that the GBP certification process was a challenge that made us re-think many of the practices that had just become business as usual.
As a public facility operating during peak hours seven days of the week, Teatown recognizes the need to update our systems and improve our energy efficiency.
Example of a sign posted in the Visitor Center.
To kick it off, we insulated the hot water pipes throughout the facility, but major renovations are planned for the coming years.
Behavioral change has a critical impact as well, so we placed strategic signage and trained our staff on sustainable office practices.
Tens of thousands of visitors pass through our property each year, including four sessions of a summer camp hosting children ages 4 – 14.
Our visitors produce at least as many items of trash, so it can be difficult to sort recycling effectively.
To combat contamination and reduce waste, we have placed signage to make the rules clear for staff and guests alike, and have developed a new educational waste display in our Visitors Center (pictured above).
To further reduce our waste and consider the lifecycle impacts of the products we use, Teatown has made a number of operational changes.
We’ve discontinued the sale of water bottles (while still offering free filtered water), replaced our cleaning products with environmentally and socially responsible brands, and encouraged our customers to reduce plastic waste by offering a reusable bag in our store.
We have also integrated “green purchasing” practices into our policy manual, to ensure that we are supporting other green businesses whenever possible.
We prefer to use our feet.
Due to the nature of our organization, we rarely need to venture far beyond our campus, saving emissions that could otherwise be released from plane, train, and automobile trips.
Still, Teatown is responsible for those emissions we do produce, so we trained our employees on energy efficient driving and continue to enforce our no idling policy with the bus drivers that regularly drop off students.
From managing three lakes across 1,000 acres to keeping thousands of students hydrated on hot summer days, Teatown is no stranger to the importance of water.
To encourage water saving practices, we’ve placed signs in the bathrooms and kitchen that remind people to be careful of their usage and instituted a paperless maintenance request form to address leaks and other water-related issues as soon as possible.
We also continue to tend the native plant gardens around our nature center which are not water intensive and do not require irrigation.
Land management is integral to Teatown’s mission. Our staff works year-round to protect the environmental resources on our preserve and to inspire new environmental stewards in our community.
Each year, hundreds of volunteers donate their time and energy to pulling invasive species and planting natives in their place.
Our lawn area is kept minimal and unirrigated, and native gardens surround the nature center. Four out of five of our parking lots are permeable to reduce the speed and quantity of stormwater runoff.