What does Ecology mean at Cooee?
Here at Cooee, we understand that we exist as a place to support individual and group growth to create meaningful and long-lasting change. Part of Cooee’s aim is for the team and community members we engage and partner with to both be motivated to and have an understanding of their role within the ecological environments. We want to have and share an understanding of the ways the Cooee team and our community partners impact upon our immediate and wider world, and support each other to find inspiration and excitement during the learning process.
What does this look like at Cooee?
In 2020, the Cooee team began an active role in reflecting on and adapting our practices while sourcing ways to educate the team by creating the Ecology Pillar – one of 6 pillars within Cooee. To date, these are some of the favourite projects we have lead within the Cooee clinic:
1. Paper Reduction
Over 2021, the Cooee team set the goal to reduce our paper usage and printing by 50%, and maintain this over the year, in order to reduce the clinic’s part in the use of water, trees, electricity, fuel and other resources required in the production and distribution of paper. By December 2021, we had reached our goal by only using 50% of the paper we had used in the previous year; saving 1.5 trees and ~5 000L of water. As a team, we learnt how to repurpose used paper and other resources (e.g. books, toys, home items) to support our families; and were more conscious of our printing choices.
2. Recycling Reset
Over 2020, the Cooee team identified our waste management system to be in need of a large reset. As a team, we highly valued and sought to recycle our waste; but there was no system in place or shared understanding available to support this at a business level. Over the course of the year, we established systems and procedures to formalise the team’s process of recycling soft plastics and hard recyclable materials, and ensured we had the appropriate bins available in the clinic to support this. We also focused largely on team-wide education to ensure we all had a shared understanding of what items were and were not recyclable, with posters and pictures readily available to guide us.
3. Composting Connections
As part of the 2020 ‘Recycling Reset’, the Cooee team reflected on our management of food waste and how we could introduce a system that allowed for the precious nutrients in our food waste to return to the earth in a way that was able to be facilitated at the clinic. The end result was to use sharewaste.com to find composting households local to the clinic that were able to use the paper and food waste from the clinic to fertilise their gardens. Once a week, one of the Ecology pillar members will drop the clinic’s food and paper scraps to one of our community connections.
Cooee’s Continued Ecology Focus
Our focus for 2022 is to investigate ways in which we can share accessible information and educational resources, within the team and our wider Cooee community (including online), around the importance of optimised waste management and the resources that go into making and delivering the items we consume in the clinic (e.g. paper, stationary, toys). We’re excited to see what project ideas will come from the team and community as we share these resources.