By Vicki Pero, SPHR

Environmental sustainability has been important to me for most of my life and I’ve had the good fortune to participate in greening efforts personally and professionally. At the beginning of this year, I set a goal for myself to limit the amount of trash that I produce to 2 bags per month. As we start the second week of February, I’ve only produced 1 bag of trash so far this year! Some of my waste-reducing strategies include recycling, composting, reusing, repurposing, repairing, and a few other “re”s.

It’s been an enjoyable challenge that keeps my mind continually looking for new opportunities, and one of the things I’ve recently been contemplating is the effect this type of effort would achieve if everyone had a similar goal. Just imagine how much less space would be required for landfills, the reduction in fuel used by trash trucks to pick up and haul waste, and so on.

The next thought that crossed my mind is how this applies to the parking industry. Not only are there tremendous opportunities to use environmentally sustainable practices in our industry, but when we do, they can have a much greater effect than each of us as individuals at home. As an industry, we have the opportunity to reduce vehicle emissions, build more environmentally friendly structures, add energy back onto the grid, reduce the trash produced by customers and our operations, and much, much more.

If the environment is important to you but you’re not sure where to start in terms of implementing sustainable practices, an excellent resource is the Parksmart program. Parksmart defines and recognizes sustainable practices in parking structure management, programming, design, and technology. The program offers an excellent roadmap for small and large changes you can make.

IPI also offers its Sustainability Framework and education courses on environmental sustainability in the parking industry online and at the annual Conference. Many of these courses can help you to earn credit toward maintaining CAPP and LEED certification as an added bonus! (Be sure to check out the Green Star Exhibitors – these companies share what they do for people, planet, and profit.)

Are you doing something new to have a positive effect on the environment? Share your efforts in the comments so others can benefit from them too!

Vicki Pero, SPHR, is principal with the Marlyn Group.