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Going, Going, Green

I admit I’m not too politically correct on the whole “green” issue. In fact, when I first heard about associations going “green,” I thought it meant I should take a trip to Ireland. But then I discovered that it had to do with being environmentally friendly.

But what does environmentalism have to do with Realtor® associations?
Thankfully, I have a number of team members who feel quite strongly about environmental issues, and they’ve been educating me. Now I’m convinced that we can do our part to protect the environment, promote energy efficiency, and serve as an example to our members.

Just last month we sponsored a “shredding” event in our parking lot. When one of my young team members approached me with this idea and said our shredding company would host this for free, I said, “What member in their right mind will load up their car and bring their trash to us for recycling?” Well, a lot of members did and the event was a huge success. Not only did members bring their recycling, so did most of the tenants in our building. Much to my surprise, we received a number of compliments and kudos from members for hosting the event. Who would have guessed?

I’m certainly not the Queen of Green, but even I have been convinced that we can do small things to make a difference. So what are some of the other things we do that add up? Everyone has a box under their desk where they can discard paper instead of in the trash can. Once a week we dump the boxes into a big container that our shredding company collects. We also provide recycling bins for cans, paper, and plastic, and the over 1,500 Realtors® who are in our classroom each month discard accordingly. Some team members (mostly younger ones) work with their office lights off and a few carpool to work. We use ceramic mugs with our logo for coffee at committee and board meetings instead of providing Styrofoam. We turn computers and equipment off at the end of each day—much to the chagrin of our tech team members. We use the reverse side of used paper for internal communications and notepads. We reuse plastic bags in our store, as well as bubble wrap that we receive for our shipments to members. We recycle printer and copier toner cartridges. And our forms are now available online instead of in stockpiled three-part printed copies. I was surprised at some of the things we were doing, and I found out about many of these small but meaningful gestures by simply asking team members, “What do we do here to help the environment?”

I’m sure many of you engage in meaningful ways to help the environment, and I’m excited to read about all of those ideas in this issue of RAE magazine.

On an unrelated matter, I’d like to thank those AEs who volunteer on committees and work groups. Your work at the NAR Midyear Meetings in Washington, D.C., did not go unnoticed or unappreciated—you were all superb! I’d also like to thank Cindy Sampalis and the entire AELD team at NAR for the wonderful support they provide at those meetings and throughout the year. Thanks for being a part of our AE community.

—Diane Ruggiero

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