Quick Facts about "These Come From Trees"
- Check out our "welcome post" to learn about what inspired this project.
- Eco-minded Citizens: See what you can do with These Come From Trees!
- K-12 Schools, check out our Education Challenge
- Hundreds of Businesses Using These Come From Trees Stickers
- Proven up to 29% paper use reduction
- A single "These Come From Trees" sticker can save around a tree's worth of paper, every year
- More than 50,000 stickers distributed since 3/07
- Laminated stickers hold up to washing.
- A typical fast food restaurant with two bathrooms can use up to 2000 pounds of paper towels a year
- The average coffee shop uses 1000 pounds of paper towels a year
- A single tree produces around 100 pounds of paper
- Roughly 50,000 fast food restaurants in the US
- 200,000 gas stations in the US
- 14,000 McDonalds' in the US
- 10,000 Starbucks in the US
Monday, March 26, 2007
These Come From Trees in the Enterprise
Like referred to in an earlier post, I started a new position at VMware recently. Well, given the fact that VMware's virtualization products help enterprises consolidate their server farms, which is a huge energy saver, in that each server probably costs about $500 in power to run a year, I figured that the company might be open to some "green" innovation of a less technologically advanced sort.
So I set up a meeting with Wally Hong, VMware's head of real estate and facilities, to brief him on the These Come From Trees project, and see if there was a place for the project in the VMware mix.
Well, the meeting went great. VMware's in the process of building a new campus too, called "Promontory" which Wally shared with me has a goal of being a truly green campus. So I figured that was a great opportunity. It's unclear what is happening at Promontory in terms of paper towel dispensers. If the bathrooms had yet to be outfitted, I encouraged Wally to use the sensor-activated paper towel dispensers, in that the "time out" they have keeps people from being able to pull a bunch of towels in quick succession. However, if they had already outfitted the bathrooms with "old school" dispensers (like in VMware's current building stock), I encouraged him to consider the stickers as a useful retrofit.
I told him about the idea behind the project, inspired by watching people eat at In N Out (mildly creepy, yes), and how it had evolved, and the preliminary results we got from testing at a local coffee shop.
I also encouraged him to pay attention the next time he was in the bathroom at how many paper towels are used per wash. My non-scientific observations have resulted in the same rough average of three towels per washer at VMware as at movie theaters, coffee shops, and restaurants. I have a feeling it really has to do with the ease with which C-fold paper towels can be pulled from the dispenser.
Anyway, we ended the meeting with me giving Wally some stickers, and him saying he would pass along the idea to his report who is in charge of facilities. So we'll see what happens next. I'll be sure to post about it here.
There's a big opportunity, to be sure. Based on what I saw, three paper towels a trip to the restroom, and maybe three trips a day per person, times 250 work days in a year, times 2500 people is 6 million paper towels a year. Wow!
A "pack" of C-fold towels has 175 sheets in it, so we're talking 35k "packs" per year. There are 20 packs in a case, so 1700 cases. Assuming we see a similar reduction of 15% to what we saw in our pilot test, that's 270 cases VMware could save a year.
Each case weighs 20 pounds, so that's around 5k pounds of paper towels. Good lord, that's 2.5 TONS! And based on our rule of thumb that you get 150 pounds of paper out of a tree, VMware could save 35 trees-worth of paper a year by deploying "These Come From Trees" stickers in their restrooms. Pretty cool.
And this is just one company with 2500 employees. If we get some traction at VMware, look out Cisco, Oracle, eBay, Adobe, and Google....!
Anyway, like I said, when I know more, I'll post it here.