The company’s Freecycle events shuffle around unwanted or underused items between different departments, avoiding unnecessary landfill cluttering.
It’s fun, it’s funny and it helps the earth. A couple of times a year, the various departments of Aflac, the $22-billion supplemental insurance company headquartered in Columbus, GA, empty storage closets and hold a freecycle — an open market where office managers can “shop” for items from a huge array of leftovers. It works like this: If Accounting is in need of toner and Marketing rendered a few cartridges obsolete with an equipment upgrade, the bean counters can pick up supplies for free. The program has been underway for four years, and has saved the company more than $50,000. Of course, it also has deflected a lot of waste from landfills and improved efficiency of office supply consumption throughout Aflac’s corporate offices. It’s a good and simple thing we can do for both the bottom line and the environment. As a member of the Aflac Green Committee, I thought jumpstarting this program was a simple way to cut back on inter-company waste. The freecycle events are also a festive atmosphere — a good excuse to get out of the office and meet colleagues from other departments. On a campus of nearly 4,000 people, that’s a big plus. Freecycle is just one of the many green initiatives in play at Aflac, earning the corporation a place on the FTSE4Good Index of sustainability-conscious companies. Susan Goodsell is a member of the Green Committee at Aflac. She lives in Columbus, GA.