Pima County

How does the company exemplify the concept of “reducing”?

The Employees Combined Appeal Program (ECAP) is the single solicitation effort for Pima County employees, which provides financial support for over 250 community organizations in Southern Arizona. This year the County ECAP Steering Committee made it their mission to run a “green” campaign with a focus on reducing paper purchase and use. Small changes such as distributing ECAP Coordinator invitations via email and posting the agency directories and training manuals on the internet allowed the committee to save paper and reduce costs. Their next step is to build the capacity to distribute pledge forms to employees via email.

How does the company exemplify the concept of “reusing”?

The TerraCylce Pen Brigade program is a great example of how the County exemplifies reuse. TerraCycle is a company that creates recycling systems for previously non-recyclable or hard to recycle waste. They then turn the waste into a variety of products and materials that are sold at major retailers. As part of the TerraCycle Pen Brigade, employees can collect their used pens, markers, highlighters, pencils and crayons and send them to TerraCylce to recycle them into new products. In exchange TerraCycle will donate .02 per writing instrument to a charity of choice. The County can then purchase office supplies produced by TerraCycle.

What is this company’s recycling policy and practice?

Pima County is in the process of employing the Integrated Waste Management (IWM) hierarchy as its waste reduction ethic. IWM is a hierarchy of progressive steps emphasizing waste prevention as the first step, and disposal in a landfill as the final, and least desirable, alterative. The County strives to make waste reduction an integral part of every employee’s jobs and encourages employees to participate in the worksite recycling program as well as other reuse/exchange opportunities. The ultimate goal is to apply a waste reduction emphasis throughout all aspects of County operations and to regard waste as a commodity instead of garbage.

How is this company engaging and informing consumers and employees about the 3 “Rs” and other sustainable practices?

The County Sustainability Program actively educates and informs employees about on-site opportunities to reduce, reuse and recycle. The County provides educational programs for employees to promote participation in the Recycle While You Work campaign and to inform employees of what materials can be recycled. County employees also developed a document tilted “Tips for Planning a Sustainable Event” for vendors interested in holding green events at County facilities. In addition the County took the lead on creating a more sustainable event at Tucson Meet Yourself 2012 and implemented onsite composting in addition to recycling.

What else would you like us to know about this company?

As one of the largest employers in Southern Arizona, Pima County is committed to adopting green practices that promote the sustainability of our natural resources while also reducing government operating expenses. We strive to set an example for other communities, businesses, and individuals desiring to achieve a high quality-of-life, protect our natural and cultural heritage, and provide meaningful economic opportunities.

Employees are the force behind our Sustainability Program and they have taken on a diverse range of activities and programs designed to integrate green practices into virtually all facets of the way County government operates from the cars we drive, the energy and water we consume, the construction of our buildings, the products we purchase, and the way we handle our “used” materials.

Since 2008 the County has reduced energy expenses by $1.4 million as well as reduced landfill waste by 22%. We reduced water use in the County’s 39 urban parks by 20%. Additionally, 32% of the County’s fleet vehicles now run on alternative fuels and the proportion of office supply dollars spent on eco-friendly products has increased by 276% over the baseline year of 2008. We track and report our progress as we continually strive to improve performance, particularly in response to the availability of resources or evolving policies, technologies and best practices. Learn more about the County’s sustainability accomplishments at www.pima.gov.