TBG Green Team
In summer 2016, TBG initiated a green team to guide actions towards greater sustainability. The team consists of staff members from all departments as well as a volunteer representative.
Team members have been working on behaviours, practices and procedures for now, but will soon begin policy development. These will be especially important in the rapidly-changing garden.
At our meeting in January, we set the following priorities for the year:
- Staff engagement in environmental learning and action, through a green team bulletin board, monthly enews, and on-site eco-talks and activities
- Water use assessment and conservation in the garden
- Zero waste goal for all TBG events
- Wildlife-friendly garden and building
Green Team Accomplishments
As any member of the green team can attest to, culture and behaviour change take time and perseverance. Since inception, members have supported the entire TBG community – staff, members, volunteers and visitors – on a small number of impactful changes, such as the ones listed below.
Greening our events
TBG offers and hosts many and varied events. We have implemented the following practices and procedures to reduce the ecological footprint of these events:
- Waste stations that consist of garbage, recycling and compost bins and signs explaining which discarded items belong in which bins
- Trained volunteers and staff members to assist at waste stations
- Guidance for market vendors in their switch to greener take-away containers and food disposal practices
- Craft stations at family celebrations that use recycled or natural items
- “Lug a mug and water bottle” communications to event participants
- Communications with event partners (caterers, rental clients) regarding waste diversion
- Caterers that offer local seasonal food in reusable or recyclable containers, to the extent possible
- Electronic event registration that does not require paper tickets
Greening floral design
We began composting discarded/leftover flowers and greenery, and hosting classes that use locally-produced, organically-grown flowers.
With guidance from FLAP, we treated two large windows with DIY Feather-friendly tape to make glass more visible to birds, thereby reducing the number of bird strikes.
Lunch and Learn sessions
Every year, we offer three information sessions for staff. Topics include wildlife-friendly gardens and buildings, invasive species, waste diversion and the healing power of plants. As of 2020, these sessions are referred to as eco-talks.
Waste diversion and reduction
We worked with the City of Toronto to extend its green bin collection to the TBG. Participation rates are high; however some contamination still occurs, so education is ongoing.
We initiated recycling programs through Terracycle to further divert waste. Staff and volunteers can recycle coffee packaging and used writing instruments from home and the office.
We also purchased ceramic mugs for rental clients to use, which reduces their use of single-use non-recyclable paper cups.
We installed “turn off the light” stickers in all offices and event spaces.
TBG’s green team is proud of its work so far and has grand plans for the future. If you would like additional information, please send a note to Colleen Cirillo, director of education.