Welcome to the Team

Reading Time: 10 minutes

By: De’Airius Salibi, Ideation Manager

In this article, you will find:

  • The importance of having a designated green team

  • Why keeping a record of activities is so important

  • Why community involvement is critical to success

In today’s rapidly changing world, the importance of sustainability and environmental awareness cannot be overstated—especially not by those in the historically carbon-heavy food and beverage industry. With concerns about climate change, resource depletion, and waste management growing, organizations must now become proactive to minimize their ecological footprint—not reactive.

One effective way to achieve this is by establishing “green teams” within company-owned facilities. By focusing on proper recycling practices, replacing supplies with sustainable products, and outlining long-term sustainability plans, a green team can play a pivotal role in delivering positive change and helping foster a culture of environmental responsibility. In this blog, we will explore the importance of having a designated green team and focus on key areas such as daily recycling and data collection, replacing supplies with sustainable options, long-term planning for sustainable operations, and the significance of eco-focused community involvement.

Why Establish a Green Team

The Leahy-IFP Green Team was established in December 2022 due to growing concerns from a group of employees. They believed the way we talked about the importance of sustainability vs. actually acted was inconsistent. For example, we’d condemn the general public’s use of disposable water bottles and cups, yet value pack 16.9 fl. oz. purified water bottles and Styrofoam cups were left untouched on our biweekly orders. In addition, it became very apparent that the subject was on the radar of our customers and that they would rightfully continue to demand more transparency from us.


Daily Recycling Recording

Tracking and improving recycling efforts is an essential aspect of sustainable operations. A green team can facilitate this process by implementing a system for daily recycling recording. This involves monitoring and documenting the quantity and types of materials being recycled. By analyzing this data, the team can identify areas for improvement, such as implementing better recycling infrastructure, educating employees about proper practices, and reducing waste generation.

The process of daily recycling recording not only enhances transparency but also encourages employees to actively participate in ecofriendly initiatives. Sound like a lot to manage? You are not wrong, but seeing the impact your company is making helps to put things into perspective. In 2022 Leahy-IFP’s corporate headquarters recycled a total of 6,400 pounds, which is about five-and-a-half times as heavy as a grizzly bear or about six-and-a-half times as heavy as a grand piano!

It’s Not Easy Being Green

The daily rounding up of green team members, checking and emptying all recycling receptacles, tracking weights, and manually transporting the collected material to the designated collection bin outside — rain, snow, or shine — often took a toll on our members as it would anyone. The way we counteracted this was by continuously giving recognition and standardizing our approach. That means we recycle at the same time every day, we track pounds collected in Excel, and we use one large indoor receptacle to weigh collected materials (instead of taring and weighing each individual bin).

Group Of People Assembling Jigsaw Puzzle

Replacement of Supplies with Sustainable Products

The green team can research, recommend, and collaborate with suppliers to confirm the availability of sustainable options that align with the organization’s values and environmental goals. Once vetted, the team can then advocate for the replacement of old options with more sustainable offerings. Sourcing environmentally friendly products, such as recycled paper, energy-efficient lighting, sustainable toilet paper and paper towels, biodegradable cleaning agents, and reusable office and kitchen supplies, can significantly reduce an organization’s ecological footprint. Moreover, these sustainable alternatives often have long-term cost-saving benefits—allowing businesses and Mother Nature to both win! Sustainable procurement practices not only help conserve resources but also send a powerful message to stakeholders, demonstrating a commitment to responsible and ethical business practices.

Green Team group photo

These are just a few of the initiatives we’ve implemented in our office:

  • Replacing Styrofoam and disposable cups with premium reusable hot and cold beverage containers.
  • Purchasing FSC Certified toilet paper and paper towels.
  • Removal of plastic utensils and tasting cups from our lab and replacing them with compostable options.
  • Purchasing cleaning materials in bulk and refilling reusable containers.

Long-term Planning for Sustainable Operations

Green team members should be committed to participating in long-term planning, often outside of work hours, to ensure that all owned facilities and products are sustainably operated and produced. By setting ambitious sustainability objectives and developing comprehensive strategies, this team can guide the organization towards more efficient resource utilization, reduced energy consumption, and waste reduction. This can include initiatives such as implementing renewable energy sources, optimizing water usage, adopting green building practices, and integrating sustainability considerations into procurement and supply chain management. The green team can also collaborate with management to promote continuous employee education and engagement, fostering a culture of sustainability throughout the organization year-round. Leahy-IFP’s Green Team Leader, De’Airius Salibi is constantly educating employees on the importance of properly recycling, limiting unnecessary waste, and other ways they can live “green” outside of our office’s walls! Of course, some individuals had grown used to disposables and resisted the change. But over time, the whole company has gotten used to it, and they’re on board with the change.

Green Team group photo
Green Team group photo
Green Team group photo

Importance of Community Involvement

The green team, along with other employees, should be encouraged to extend their commitment to sustainability beyond their workplaces by actively engaging in community involvement efforts. Specifically, participating in trash pickups and beautification projects in neglected areas of their cities can leave a lasting impression on local communities and the environment. Such initiatives not only enhance the physical appearance of these areas but also raise awareness about the importance of waste management, recycling, and environmental preservation among community members. The green team can organize and coordinate these events, leveraging the collective power of employees to drive positive change and inspire others to take part. Last year, members of Leahy-IFP’s Green Team and Executive Team participated in a litter pickup in Chicago’s South Side to celebrate Earth Day! This year the Green Team participated in a park cleanup, followed by a Pride picnic, along Chicago’s lakefront.

Green Team group photo


Establishing a Green Team at corporate headquarters and manufacturing facilities is a powerful step towards achieving sustainability goals and fostering a culture of environmental responsibility. By focusing on daily recycling and weighing of materials, replacing supplies with sustainable options, engaging in long-term planning for sustainable operations, and actively participating in community involvement initiatives, the green team can drive positive change both within and beyond their organization. Through their efforts, they create a ripple effect of awareness, education, and action, contributing to a greener future for their community and the world. We are proud of creating this team.

We know it will take an army to win this battle and we want everyone to know that we are committed! The passion and drive of our green team has spilled over into our manufacturing plants and there is a clear desire to do even more, which we are working on as we speak!

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Together, embrace the power of a green team and work towards a more sustainable and prosperous future. Remember, THERE IS NO PLANET B!