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List of State Officials - Martin O'Malley, Governor; Anthony Brown, Lt. Governor; Shari T. Wilson, Acting MDE Secretary 

Volume II, Number 11

 March 2007

eMDE is a monthly publication of the Maryland Department of the Environment. It covers articles on current environmental issues and events in the state. 

Small Office Takes on Green Practices With Big Results

By Laura Armstrong, MDE Pollution Prevention Coordinator

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Have you heard this one before? The ten most powerful two-letter words in the English language are “If it is to be, it is up to me.”  It certainly rings true when shifting behavior in your business practices to address environmental issues.

eCity Design Group, a marketing and public relations agency located in Ellicott City, Md., has decided to do their part.  It began one afternoon as they took their trash out to the dumpster and were reminded once again about the amount of waste they were generating. They decided to educate themselves about their recycling options and how they might change the way their office operates. With help from the Howard County Bureau of Environmental Services, eCity established a recycling collection program for their office park tenants.

Saving Trees

“When I went door-to-door to our local tenants asking them if they were interested in this service, I received unanimous support,” said Katie Kurcz, former Director of Marketing at eCity. Two 95-gallon commercial recycling carts were ordered and a third soon had to be added to meet the demand. As eCity learned, if all three recycling bins are continually filled throughout the year, the community will save 66 trees and 75 barrels of oil, according to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency estimates.

eCity also educated themselves about the office paper they buy. They now purchase and bid projects on paper made from recycled fiber that is processed without chlorine. A ton of paper made from 100 percent recycled paper saves the equivalent of 4,100 kilowatt-hours of energy, 7,000 gallons of water, 60 pounds of air emissions and three cubic yards of landfill space when compared to virgin paper. The firm also ensures that their printer vendors use low-emission links and solutions and has extended their green purchasing decisions to other recycled and non-toxic office supplies as well as energy-efficient lighting.

Businesses for the Bay – Sharing Pollution Prevention Practices

Encouraged by their progress, the firm became interested in learning more about what they could do to reduce their environmental footprint. eCity started by joining Businesses for the Bay​, a free voluntary pollution prevention recognition program. “eCity is proud to be part of Businesses for the Bay. This program is a great way to keep our company in check as we aspire to be an entirely green company. We are working very hard to achieve this goal,” said Karen Carpenter, President and Artistic Director of eCity.

Drawing upon Businesses for the Bay’s mentoring program, eCity was able to learn from two companies with substantial experience in greening their office practices. Linnea Boogades of The Brick Companies, a 2006 Businesses for the Bay award winner based in Edgewater, Md., and Ron Vance of ERG, a 2004 and 2005 Businesses for the Bay award winner, based in Arlington, Va., both shared their expertise with the eCity staff and provided ideas for future projects.

eCity continues to strive to reduce waste and save energy by streamlining their operation’s practices. They reduce carbon emissions by having employees carpool to work or take public transportation, turning off all lights when not in use and staying up-to-date with any new technologies or ideas that may help improve their operations.  For more information about eCity's journey, email info@ecitydesigngroup.com or visit: www.ecitydesigngroup.com

Information on best environmental practices for commercial office space can be found at these websites and free advice is also available through MDE’s Pollution Prevention Program at 410-537-4119:

MDE website ECA page

The list of what commercial offices can do is long and the potential aggregate impacts are huge. Join eCity in its journey to becoming green and remember – if it is to be, it’s up to you!


©2007 Copyright MDE

Editorial Board
Maryland Department of the Environment
1800 Washington Boulevard, Baltimore, MD 21230