Dayle Laing

The ‘coolest shade of green’ is the sustainable choice. Dayle Laing is a Professional Speaker and Author who uses her experience and training as an educator, a designer and a LEED Accredited Professional to empower Conscious Consumers to make practical yet beautiful choices for sustainable living, reducing their carbon footprint while enhancing their body, mind & spirit.

Are these familiar words to you?

Do you know how to apply them to your interiors to save money and make a meaningful contribution to lower the environmental footprint?

recycle_reuse_reduce_200“Reduce Reuse Recycle” was a popular refrain begun the 1970’s (which coincidently is the decorating style of the currently revived decade too). It is no accident that this mantra is commonly expressed in the circular form of the Mobius loop, consistent with the circular nature of ecology. 

At the November 1969 Stanford University “Conference on Man and His Environment: a View Toward Survival”, Barry Commoner said, “Because they are fundamentally circular processes and subject to numerous feedback effects, ecosystems exhibit nonlinear responses to changes in the intensity of any single factor.” [1] What simpler way is there than to choose basics that avoid complicated consequences?

While studying for my LEED AP exam, ...

I was struck by this common theme that hasn’t changed for 40 years: that our greatest impact occurs when we first look for ways to reduce our need for materials, then we look at options to reuse what we have, and finally, we recycle products at the end of their useful life.

A classic opportunity for reusing products was presented when my client had a flood in their basement and needed to replace their sodden office furniture. They required large solid pieces – a desk for the layout of charity-work projects and plenty of good storage space in the form of filing cabinets and a credenza.

joanne_lytwyn_dayle_envirotech_300I found a local company called Envirotech_Office_Systems, which buys and resells to the trade, premium grade “A” quality used office systems. They can repaint, refinish, reupholster and reconfigure to whatever the designer would like for their clients. They purchase big name commercial furniture from corporations that are moving, downsizing, or upgrading. This furniture was built to last in the first place, so Envirotech can offer a warranty similar to the original manufacturer. Working with companies around North America, they also can arrange local re-sales that don’t require shipping across the continent.

Joanne Lytwyn, the President of Envirotech, told me, “we take furniture that might otherwise go into landfills and bring it here and make it look new again. The used industry has a significant impact on sustainability and earth friendly design.”

envirotech_deliveryMy client did not require their basement office to be “showcase perfect”. Joanne explained they have 2 distinct programs. Some product just needs a good cleaning for ‘as is’ resale, while some needs refurbishing in Envirotech’s own paint booths, woodworking shops and upholstery shops, so it can go out the door looking virtually new. She commented that “in the whole concept of reduce, reuse, recycle, we are really reusing vast amounts of that product, generating very little that would end up going into a reycling program, of course using much less energy and producing much less waste.”

So consider Reduce, Recycle and Reuse in your next project, and send me your comments or questions. We can all make a meaningful contribution by starting with these basics.



[1] Huey D. Johnson,  “No Deposit – No Return”, Anthology of papers presented at the 13th National Conference of the US National Commission for UNESCO,  Addison-Wesley, USA, 1970

Comments (1)

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I'm impressed with what Envirotech is doing...used office furniture you can feel proud about! I'd love to see more innovation like this.<br /><br />Scott,<br />There are many quiet stories like this that I am uncovering and writing about. We need...

I'm impressed with what Envirotech is doing...used office furniture you can feel proud about! I'd love to see more innovation like this.<br /><br />Scott,<br />There are many quiet stories like this that I am uncovering and writing about. We need to get the message out there, since people like you want these green alternatives. How great is it when you can go green, save money and support your local economy in the same breath? Thanks for your encouragement. I will write more stories like this for my subsequent Coolest Shade of Green newsletters!<br /><br />Cheers,<br />Dayle

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