Coworking and basic sustainability rules

We are living in a kind of messed up century. For the last few years, public media started sharing and exposing intensely the critical environmental crisis we are currently living in (climate change, global contamination, destruction of our biodiversity, natural disasters, etc). On top of that, the COVID-19 crisis just hit us earlier this year. Another strike for humanity making us realize how our way of living isn’t sustainable at all. We lost control. We pushed too far. And now, we are facing one of the biggest sanitary crises in history. All these events certainly make us think and brainstorm about how we can adopt a more sustainable way of life. 

We believe that to solve this global crisis, the answer is local. The effort of local communities to create a global impact on the environment and health. We need to apply those changes in our daily life. At home, at the office, during holidays abroad, etc. The concept of coworking itself helps to build a more sustainable future. You can read more about it in our article “Coworking as a Sustainable Future”.

At the coworking for example, we decided to implement measures to follow this idea of sustainability. What do we do that you could easily apply in your daily life?     

1 -Recycling 

At La Vaca, we are committed to ensure the proper separation of recycling materials with our members. We leave at their disposition the four recycling bins with the information concerning the separation. It seems like something really basic, however, it is still a big challenge. Recycling is a daily habit that you need to integrate. Yes, throwing everything to the general garbage is even easier! But let’s stop being lazy for a moment.

Plastics, glass, organic, and paper need to be separated. Did you know that in Spain, only 29% of municipal waste currently gets recycled (El país)? In the rest of the EU an average of 45% of municipal waste are recycled. The changes start with us, community. We need to be more committed as citizens, we need to create awareness and educate ourselves

2- Reusable tableware

The amount of single-use plastic we are using daily is ridiculous. The problem is that it is complicated to avoid it. Our supermarkets are full of it.  Events, breakfasts, coffee breaks… Those are recurrent activities at the coworking. We decided to buy reusable tableware for all our events (plates, glasses, mugs, cutlery). An investment that in addition to being sustainable ends up being economical! How does this apply to your daily life? Well, let’s see.

You probably drink coffee from your favorite cafeteria every day when heading to the office space. A coffee that you drink every day in a single-use cup, where you add a sugar packet that you will most probably mix with a stir stick that you will throw away. You need to think about all those details. Bring a reusable mug when purchasing a takeaway coffee. Don’t use plastic cutlery, bring your own. Don’t take your fruits in a plastic bag. Don’t use plastic straws. The list is endless.

3- Ecological and natural products

La Vaca is a 500 sq m coworking space. Workspaces, meeting rooms, event space, a cafeteria where our coworkers work and flow every day. The office needs to remain clean day after day to welcome our community in the best conditions. At the end of last year, we decided to transition to natural and ecological cleaning products. Why? For obvious environmental reasons, to stop using strong chemical products noxious for our health and the people working every day with this kind of detergent. At home, you can prepare your homemade cleaning products with a base of vinegar, you can also use essential oils for the odour. Concerning the coworking, we buy our products in local zero waste shops where we can refill our recipients every month. 

4- Water and plastic

An adult person drinks an average of 1,5l of water every day. To this, you can add the coffee breaks and the afternoon tea. All this water if not taken from the tap represents a huge amount of plastic! We know that the water of Barcelona is not the tastiest but it exists very good filter devices making tap water more taste-neutral. At the coworking, bringing bottles of water for everyone didn’t make sense, as a result, we implemented water filtering directly connected to the tap water system.

The water is clean, tastes good and is unlimited for our members. La vaca is also part of the Refill Aqua network in Barcelona, an initiative aiming to reduce the use of plastic bottles in the city. They created a network of coworking spaces, shops and restaurants in the city where the users can refill their own bottles.

5- Local and organic

A coworking space brings many people together. We organize events, activities where we always like to add something to snack. We intend all the food we buy or prepare to be local and seasonal. Local organic bakery for the bread, we also collaborate with restaurants in our district (Poble Sec) to promote the community and support in the locality. Since January 2020, La Vaca has become a Mini-Colmena (mini-hive) in collaboration with La Colmena Que Dice Si, an organization connecting local producers and consumers in Barcelona. In Spanish, this is what we call “vida de barrio”. There are so many small entrepreneurs working around us offering a good alternative to centralized supermarkets. We are not saying don’t go to the supermarket but shop smartly and consciously.

Let’s wrap it up with a good quote:

“We don’t need a handful of people doing zero waste perfectly. We need millions of people doing it imperfectly”

– Anne-Marie Bonneau.

This all crisis is pushing us to react. It is never too late to take the first step and start acting for the future. If you don’t know how to start, read this article. 😉