Crosstalk with Select Telecom (Fall 2012)
“Going green” is practically de rigueur these days, but at Select Telecom, we’ve been reducing, reusing and recycling for years before it was fashionable. After all, being mindful of waste and using energy wisely is not only the right thing to do by the environment – it’s also good for your bottom line!
Of course, there are plenty of major changes a business can make to be more “green” but even small, everyday changes can make a big impact, especially if everybody pitches in. At Select Telecom, we’ve been implementing these simple, relatively hassle-free changes right from the start.
We’ve always made heavy use of recycling bins in the office for bottles, cans, newspapers, and other old documents. Taking that one step further, it’s become an important part of the Select Telecom culture to avoid wasting paper as much as possible – our entire organization avoids printing whenever we can, and we always get the most out of each printed document by using the back for scrap paper once we’re finished with the front.
In addition, we’ve also made small but effective changes in our energy use. Around the office, we make sure to unplug any unused phones or computers and have installed energy efficient fluorescent light bulbs throughout. And by using a modern phone system, we’re also reaping the benefits of energy-efficient telecommunications. In addition, in the winter we keep our thermostat low to reduce our energy usage (though anyone who’s visited our office in the summer can tell you that we might offset those savings with our air conditioning addiction!).
Select Telecom also maintains a large fleet of technician vans. To improve our gas mileage, we keep all of our vans tuned up and check the tire inflation regularly to sustain a good miles-per-gallon ratio in each vehicle.
We’ve also been able to find great recycling opportunities during our installations. Whenever possible, we resell or donate old telephone equipment so that it can be refurbished, instead of just throwing salvageable equipment in the land fill. However, by far the most successful green initiative at Select Telecom has been our wire recycling program.
Started a few years ago by summer technician intern Nick Durante – youngest son of Select Telecom President Mike Durante – with assistance from installation technician Paul Burns, the wire recycling program aims to recover valuable copper wire so that it may be reused in new applications. Copper wire used to be used commonly in the electrical and plumbing trades, and today is used in electronic parts and computer components. As the need for copper increases (for example, an average car today contains between 50-80 pounds of copper, compared to 30-35 pounds 30 years ago), unprecedented demands are being placed on copper mines and refineries to produce. Recycling existing copper, however, uses only 10% of the energy of producing new copper, releases little, if any, harmful by-products into the atmosphere, and is significantly cheaper than producing new copper. For these reasons, recycled copper can be worth up to 90% of the cost of the original copper.
During installations, our technicians save any waste wire they come across that would otherwise have been thrown out and turn it in at the local recycling center. Any proceeds that Select Telecom collects from recycling copper wire are added to an employee morale pool to enable us to celebrate the success of our recycling program together. In past years, the wire recycling program has funded a fishing trip, and this September, Select Telecom used proceeds from the wire recycling program to host a dinner cruise around Manhattan for all employees. It just goes to show – going green can really pay off!
Select Telecom Employees Enjoy a Manhattan Boat Trip Funded By the Cable Recycling Program