12 Ideas for Reducing, Reusing, and Recycling in the Dance Studio Environment
1. Collect and Recycle
Many of us recycle at home but forget about our workplace. Collect plastic, aluminum, glass, paper, and cardboard if you can. If there is no collection for your area or facility, check into possible drop-off sites and mobilize teachers, parents, and students to see that it gets there.
Consider recycling CDs and cases, as well! With music going completely digital there are probably a lot of these lying around the studio, not to mention all of the burned CDs that get made and tossed. Check this article for ideas about Where to Recycle CD and DVD Cases or try http://www.cdrecyclingcenter.com.
2. Turn Off Lights and Office Machines
Encourage students and staff to turn off lights whenever the studios, bathrooms, or offices are not in use. If your space has the option, try using only half of the lights available or installing dimmer switches. And, replace bulbs,as they burn out with energy-efficient ones.
Also, shut down computers and other office equipment when not in use, purchasing Energy Star labeled devices when you can.
3. Avoid Air Conditioning
Embrace the sweat and resist the urge to immediately snap on the A/C on hot days. Check out this article in Dance Teacher about Choosing the Right Temperature for Your Studio. And, don’t forget to remind students to stay hydrated!
4. Reduce Water Bottle Waste
Speaking of hydration, I know that some of you probably sell bottled water at your studio. However, it’s a no-brainer that all that waste is a real downside. Consider providing filtered water and/or encouraging students to bring a refillable from home. Perhaps you could sell containers with the studio logo to make up for not selling bottled water.
5. Reduce Water Use
Consider installing low-flow toilets or using the ol’ brick-in-the-tank method. Plus, do your best to keep up with maintenance of dripping faucets.
6. Go Paperless
In this age of technology, going paperless isn’t as difficult as it seems. Studios are moving newsletters and other communications online. From increased communication through a studio blog to interacting with customers on your studio’s Facebook page or group, technology is making it much easier to go paperless.
7. Print Wisely
When you must print, use both sides of the paper whenever possible, use the back sides of old documents for faxes, drafts, etc, use the draft setting on your printer when you can, and consider recycling your ink cartridges or toner.
Start a carpool network. We live in a fast-paced world but students are very conscious of environmental issues. Consider tapping this resource and challenge your students to come up with a plan for organizing the car pool (or to brainstorm more green ideas for the studio). You might be surprised at their willingness to embrace your efforts in this area. However, if you want to go that extra mile, consider offering some incentive with a discount or coupons to those who participate in an organized carpool.
9. Set Up a Gently Used Consignment or Trading List
Young dancers grow out of dancewear and shoes constantly and prices for brand new stuff can get expensive. Again, mobilize your customer base and work together to create a system in which students/parents can offer used items for resale or trade. Frugal parents will thank you.
10. Community Clean-Up
Adopt a highway or join other community clean-up efforts. This is great for your city and the environment. Additionally, showing an interest in your local region is good for business.
11. Buy Organic, Recycled, and Eco-Friendly Products
From the snacks you offer, to the paper towels you use, to the cleaning products you put on your floors, there are plenty of options for going green. Check TheGreenOffice.com or Amazon Green for electronics, lighting, and cleaning supplies (not to mention digital music and now books).
Speaking of Amazon, you might be interested in knowing that they also offer a trade-in program for DVDs, video games, electronics, and for you college students, text books. I’ve not tried this myself as we have a local business that buys back media. If you don’t, or if you are upgrading to blu-ray, Amazon may be an option.
12. Say No to Faux
Nothing brightens up a space like real, growing things. Consider bringing live plants into your studio environment to cool, humidify, and refresh the air.
What are some ways your studio is “going green?”
What are the pros and cons of the above 12 steps?
I’m looking forward to your thoughts and input!