By Gurjeet, Software Engineer, Canada
“We should protect Mother Earth. If we don’t take care of her, she won’t take care of us.”
This was my kindergartner’s response when I asked what he was doing while I watched him carefully dispose of forgotten candy wrappers outside of the school.
His answer led me to down an unexpected path to become a member of McAfee’s Green Team in the Waterloo office.
Inspired to Go Green
After that day in the schoolyard, I joined my son’s cleanup efforts, rather than idly waiting in the school pickup zone. Soon, other parents rolled up their sleeves to help improve our children’s environment.
Inspired by the momentum, I reexamined my household’s plastic consumption and recycling habits.
I felt pretty good—after all, I was doing my part to better our environment—until I read my colleague’s LinkedIn post:
“Who uses their trash bin at their desk? Consider using the bin in a break room or hallway to decrease your plastic consumption.”
He was right. I often used the bin at my desk, which is emptied nightly, regardless if it only held one item. I was contributing to plastic consumption at the office. My colleague’s simple act of raising awareness struck a chord with me. I could do more. By doing small things, I could make a big difference at McAfee.
The next day, I approached my colleague and we collaborated to launch Waterloo’s Green Team.
Actions in Year One
Excited by the possibilities, we gathered a few other team members and identified small changes we could make for a big impact. Outside of raising awareness, we narrowed our focus to three:
- Decreased plastics: Our Waterloo office was dependent on paper and plastic products. We replaced plastic cutlery and cups with real spoons, forks, plates, glassware and coffee mugs.
- Added bin stations and labels: To my colleague’s point, the trash bins would be emptied at each individual desk, even if there was only one item. We removed individual bins and invested in recycling and trash stations at convenient locations throughout the building. We also created signage that better defined what could be added to each bin.
- Gifted reusable tote bags: To decrease the amount of plastic coming in from outside the building, such as disposable lunch bags, and encourage others to do the same, we offered reusable tote bags to our Waterloo team members.
Our grassroots efforts during the first year was just the start. We continue to plan for the year ahead, and as McAfee launches additional green teams around the world, we plan to collaborate to make an even greater impact.
One person can make an impact. Small changes add up. These are my biggest takeaways.
My son’s small action in the schoolyard reverberated throughout my household, and eventually McAfee, when I found passion and purpose that I didn’t realize I had. You can make a difference.
My unexpected journey also held unexpected lessons. While incredibly rewarding, my day job as a software engineer doesn’t afford many opportunities to organize events, speak in public or mobilize people. Through my involvement in the Green Team, I uncovered skills I didn’t know existed.
I’m proud to work for a company that supports employees in their passions, especially when it’s for a more sustainable future for us all.
Interested in joining a company that supports green initiatives? Search our openings.
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