MBA Lawyers Eco-Challenge highlights

Issue June 2010 By Jennifer Rosinski

The Massachusetts Bar Association Lawyers Eco-Challenge has joined Carbonrally, an online community where teams complete challenges that result in a reduction of carbon dioxide emissions. The Eco-Challenge has also wrapped up its cell phone recycling program - which collected hundreds of cell phones and accessories from the legal community in the state over the past year.

Eco-Challenge joins Carbonrally effort

The MBA urges lawyers and firms across Massachusetts to join the Eco-Challenge Carbonrally team as a way to invigorate energy conservation.

"Carbonrally is a fun, easy way for Massachusetts attorneys to keep track of the ways they are reducing their energy consumption," said Nancy B. Reiner, co-chair of the Energy and Environment Task Force, which oversees the Eco-Challenge.

"From agreeing to cut back on office paper use, to committing to utilize reusable bottles and containers, lawyers can choose the level of participation that makes the most sense for their situation," said Reiner, executive director of Counsel on Call in Boston.

Carbonrally, which was created in Massachusetts, proposes challenges for teams to participate in and enables individuals to suggest new challenges. Working on an honor system, the site tallies each team's total reduction in carbon dioxide emissions based on the challenges each agrees to participate in and complete.

"By joining our team, lawyers can choose challenges that abide by the tenants of the MBA Lawyers Eco-Challenge and its Green Guidelines," said Susan Reid, senior attorney and director of the Massachusetts Clean Energy and Climate Change Initiative for the Conservation Law Foundation, which partnered with the MBA in 2007 to launch the Lawyers Eco-Challenge. "We hope that by joining our team, the legal community in Massachusetts will be energized to consider new ways of being Earth-conscious."

There are currently more than 1,000 Carbonrally teams worldwide, including dozens of companies such as Boston University, Intel, Google and NBC.

Cell phone recycling program wraps up

The Lawyers Eco-Challenge cell phone program collected and recycled 239 phones, 254 phone chargers and 90 other accessories that would have otherwise been tossed in garbage cans between February 2009 and April 2010.

"Our cell phone recycling program kept hundreds of cell phones containing dangerous, hazardous chemicals out of landfills, and it provided a service to our members who sought a way to recycle their unwanted phones," Reiner said.

The phones and accessories were collected at five locations:

  • MBA headquarters, Boston;
  • MBA Western Mass. office, Springfield;
  • CLF Massachusetts headquarters, Boston;
  • The Green Roundtable's NEXUS Green Building Resource Center, Boston; and
  • Seyfarth Shaw LLP's office, Boston.

HopeLine has collected more than 7 million phones and kept more than 200 tons of electronic waste and batteries out of landfills since the national recycling program began in October 2001.

The proceeds - including more than $7.9 million in cash grants - benefit organizations running domestic violence awareness and prevention programming, including YWCA of Western Massachusetts, the Norfolk County Sheriff's Department and the Boston Area Rape Crisis Center.

Since the 2007 launch of the Eco-Challenge, the MBA and CLF have issued the MBA Lawyers Environmental Pledge and published Green Guidelines for the office, home and landscaping. More than 100 firms, attorneys or organizations throughout the state have joined to become Pledge Partners.