April 2011 - Arlene Coughlin
Coming from Vermont where she had served as manager of the Hooker Dunham Theater in Brattleboro and the State Arts Agency in Montpelier, Arlene credits artists with making her aware of the value of large scale recycling. So when she was hired by Greenfield Savings Bank as administrative assistant for many of the Bank’s executives, she noticed that there was incredible waste of paper, cardboard products, plastic, bottles and cans. The bank’s central office had large dumpsters, which were full every week.
Bit by bit, with the Bank management’s backing, Arlene introduced bank employees to steps in reducing this waste such as copying on both sides of paper and thinking carefully about what actually needs hard copies. She placed specific computer paper containers in every office. With the help of Ed Terault, owner of Reil Cleaning Services, the bank’s cleaning server, the boxes were taken to bins that are picked up by Mike & Mary Williams’ M&M Removal Service, taken to the Transfer Station and sorted into the recycling bins.
The bank now recycles everything, including fluorescent tubes. GSB eliminated the large dumpsters from all their branches, GSB now sends 4-5 yards of trash every other week to the waste facility in town and are saving $6,000 a year or $500 a month in reduced dumpster costs.
The successful recycling program has led the bank to make other energy saving decisions when considering facilities upgrades such as installing energy efficient elevators.
Arlene's efforts have made 128 employees more aware of ways to recycle efficiently. This can cascade to more home recycling as well as to more recycling by other businesses in the area. Arlene says she has had many partners and supporters in this project and gives credit to them for making the whole thing work.