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Greening of the IHM Motherhouse Campus

Encouraged by one of the sisters, a number of IHM employees formed the Campus Greening Committee to find ways of doing business in a more environmentally friendly fashion.

By standardizing and centralizing the purchase of “green” or recycled office supplies, the IHM community is saving more than $2,000 a year. A recycling program that pays IHM for inkjet cartridges generated more than $4,200 worth of revenue since its inception in 2003. Cell phone recycling brought in another $1,100 and a paper retriever program (Abitibi) on the sisters’ property has paid more than $2,900 for recycling their newspaper, magazines, office paper and junk mail.

Evidence of how seriously the sisters take their environmental stewardship lies in the dumpsters behind the Motherhouse. A reduction of two eight-yard dumpsters that used to be emptied three times a week has been offset by the addition of one eight-yard recycling dumpster that’s emptied twice a week. The result? A savings of more than $11,000.

The greening committee is even going entrepreneurial. The committee bought a lot of 100 T-shirts made out of recycled plastic soda bottles. Sale of the white shirts showcasing the Campus Greening Committee’s name and vibrant two-color logo supported additional recycling initiatives in the Motherhouse.

Dozens of other sustainable practices are also going on in various offices and departments. Like fueling community vehicles before 8 a.m.; discontinuing the use of plastic laundry bags and replacing them with bags made from EcoSpun material (the plastic soda bottles again); using china instead of disposables in Dining Services; evaluating and modifying the housekeeping program to meet Green Seal Cleaning Certification Standards; establishing recycling centers within the Motherhouse; and centralizing printers that use color cartridges of ink that dissolve.

While this is only a smattering of the new and ongoing sustainable initiatives the sisters are pioneering, add it up: The value of investing in sustainable systems benefits the bottom line for both the Earth and the bank account.

Download the latest booklet regarding campus greening programs.