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Turning Trash into Little Treasures

POSTED UNDER By Our Associates

Associate Spotlight: Jennifer McCloud

You might have heard the saying: “One person’s trash is another one’s treasure.” This is especially true for Jennifer McCloud, a Macy’s Credit and Customer Services Associate in Mason, Ohio, near Cincinnati. She’s dedicated much of her time, at home and at work, to reducing waste. She uses her creative talents to see the potential in what some call trash, upcycling it into treasures.

McCloud’s efforts started when she was young. “At first, this love and passion didn’t come from a need to save the environment. My mom was always trying to save funds to put three kids through private school. So, growing up, I constantly heard ‘Turn the lights off,’ and ‘Turn the water off.’ We even kept the heat in my house at 62 degrees all winter long,” said McCloud. “It just became a way of life for me.”

McCloud also credits her mom for helping her to refine her upcycling skills. Beginning when she was 5 years old, they both participated in her school’s holiday craft bazaar. Throughout each year, McCloud and her mom would save items that others would throw away, such as baby food jars and empty bottles. As the holidays approached, they would turn the items into little gifts and trinkets. Children would come to the school bazaar and buy her crafty gifts for their own parents. This annual event helped McCloud make an incredible impact by raising money for her school, reducing waste and making people happy – plus, it was fun!

Crafting and Conserving at Home

Today, with a family of her own, she tries to reduce waste and reuse trash as much as she can. McCloud’s mantra is, “If you can find another way to use it positively, reuse it. If not, recycle it. If it absolutely can’t be recycled, then throw it away.” Still, what she doesn’t throw out or recycle is often turned into what she likes to categorize as “little treasures.” Her favorite things to reuse are bottles, because they can be easily decorated and repurposed as vases, centerpieces or gifts. She even asked guests to sign her colorful bottles at her own wedding for a unique guest book.

McCloud continues to conserve resources and tries to prevent making waste in the first place. She uses her own coffee mugs and tea cups as much as possible and pays attention to what she buys, especially regarding product packaging. One trick she shared for water conservation is to create a music playlist for the shower. This helps her determine the length of the shower, and it pushes her to shower faster and use less water each time.

A Favorite Go-Green Tip

McCloud has many go-green ideas, but when asked for her favorite tip, she chose to address plastic grocery bags. Many community recycling programs can’t take them, so plastic bags are rarely recycled. In Ohio, though, both the Mason Credit and Customer Services location and the Cincinnati Central offices have designated drop-off locations. Nearly all Macy’s stores also collect shopping bags for recycling. Ask if your office or store collects them, return them to the market, or find another local facility to make sure your plastic grocery bags are recycled properly. Learn more about recycling in your area.

Doing Her Part at Macy’s

In addition to recycling her plastic grocery bags at work, McCloud encourages her fellow Associates at Macy’s to review documents digitally and print less. She is a member of the Go Green Employee Resource Group (ERG), and has been involved in several of its tree-planting events.

So, what’s next? McCloud has one more green idea she wants to tackle. She’d like to see automatic water faucets installed in all of the Macy’s Credit and Customer Services office bathrooms to reduce water flow. The idea did not win the Green Living contest, but she plans to submit her idea again and hopes her fellow Macy’s Associates will select it to continue her conservation efforts.

In addition, one of Macy’s goals in the 5-Point Action Plan is to “be aggressive in our drive to eliminate wasteful behavior.” We’re working on this by reducing packaging waste, promoting paperless electronic credit card billing, using recycled paper in our marketing materials and much more. Thank you, Jennifer McCloud, for sharing your story, encouraging others, and using your talents to help Macy’s become even greener.

Want to nominate someone for an Associate Spotlight story? Tell us about a fellow Associate, and what he/she does to live greener.


You also might like:

Associate Spotlight: Chrissy Bellucci
Associate Go Green Tips
Your Green Living How-To Guide to Recycling

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