The Chicken With The Eggs Came First
For over 25 years, clients have come to Sunrise Labs for complete product development and engineering services. Specializing in Medical Device and Life Science instrumentation development, Sunrise is known for solving tough engineering problems and turning novel ideas into commercially viable products. Their ingenuity in problem-solving and innovation runs throughout the company and also drives its internal sustainability initiatives.
A little over a year ago, to kick off Earth Day, Sunrise created the Green Team, which is a committee of seven individuals representing several departments at Sunrise. One of the Green Team’s first initiatives was to reduce the enormous waste generated from the kitchen. Recycling food waste through a composting system was an easy program to adopt by employees, and the program saved 10-13 gallons of organic waste per week from going to the landfill. They bought one-gallon recycling buckets that were easy to use, transported easily, and could be sanitized in the dishwasher. “Most compost actually goes to an employee’s chicken farm as a feed supplement”, describes Eric Soederberg, President of Sunrise Labs. Then, in a full cycle, eggs are brought back to Sunrise and sold. People look forward to the fresh eggs produced by the chickens that we have helped feed!” Additionally, says Eric, we’ve replaced plastic plates and utensils with china and stainless steel, and a beverage machine was installed to eliminate the use of plastic/aluminum beverage containers and associated transport waste.”
These small changes in the kitchen led to other, bigger sustainability changes. Last fall Sunrise installed six electric car charging stations in the front of the building and offered an accompanying $2,000 incentive for employees to purchase their own electric cars by mid-July. To date, three Sunrise employees have taken advantage of this incentive. Sunrise has also renovated its roof as it plans to install a solar array to reduce its carbon footprint.
The composting program was featured at NH Businesses for Social Responsibility’s Sustainability Slam last fall and won in its presenting category: small company environmental initiative. “Through watching all the skits at the Slam,” says Eric, “we learned what other companies have done to build their corporate culture, show appreciation for their employees, and the measures they have taken to be more sustainable. It was great to meet and network with other like-minded companies before and after the presentations.
“I would describe the slam as inspiring, invigorating, and fun. Our Green Team really enjoyed the creativity involved in coming up with the idea and planning for their skit. At first, they were nervous about presenting, until they realized that there is no way to fail in front of this crowd. The audience loved the chicken costume we had on stage, and the whoopie cushion got a big laugh!! Everyone was fun-loving and passionate about sustainability!”