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By Wendy Migdal | Sponsored by OmniRide
OmniRide’s commitment to getting people where they need to be includes reducing both congestion and pollution. But the steps it takes to help the environment go beyond reducing pollution. OmniRide partners with several other community organizations and businesses to work toward the goal of making the Prince William area a greener place.
First, Start at Home
As we all know, you can’t just “talk the talk.” You also have to “walk the walk.” OmniRide does that with its own Green Team. It regularly collects data on its own footprint – such as how much energy and water it is consuming and how much waste it is producing – and looks for ways to improve. This applies not only to the pollution output of buses, but to the waste generated at their own facilities. Recently the Green Council, the public face of the Green Team, held a meeting in which it presented a study on the future use of electric buses.
Partnership with Keep Prince William Beautiful
Depending on where you live and drive in the area, you may have noticed the bright paintings on the back walls of several bus shelters. OmniRide partners with Keep Prince William Beautiful to hold a contest each year for local artists for the Bus Stop Beautification Project. The artists submit a design that both addresses the year’s theme and speaks to the neighborhood’s community culture. The theme for 2023 was “clean communities, clean waterways” and three locations in Dumfries inspire passersby with a bit of beauty.
OmniRide employees do their share to help out as well. OmniRide participates in KPWB’s Adopt-a-Spot program, and employees head out with bags and grabbers to pick up litter at their designated location twice a year. Another joint project is the bench program. OmniRide employees collect plastic bags at their own facilities, and when 500 pounds is collected, the trash is transformed into a bench. You can read more about these programs, including the Greet Team, in the Winter 2023 newsletter.
KPWB’s Executive Director, Rico Fleshman, has high praise for its partner. “The Prince William County Green Business Council (managed by KPWB) is proud to have OmniRide as a member and supporter of environmental initiatives across the County. Their investment in their own green initiatives- like starting a “Green Team”- not only strengthen the organization’s commitment to cleaner and greener practices, but by participating in plastic bag recycling, community cleanups through their Adopt-A-Spots, and partnership on the bus shelter beautification program also positions them as the environmental steward other businesses in the County strive to be.”
Another new initiative is a partnership between OmniRide, KPWB, and Fillagreen, a local business that strives to reduce single-use plastics by providing common household cleaning products that can be refilled in reusable containers, among other things. All three organizations are members of the Prince William Chamber of Commerce, and recently all met together to discuss how each organization can further the other’s environmental goals.
Fillagreen owner John Hicks says, “Fillagreen is excited about the opportunity to partner with OmniRide and other area businesses that want to assess their sustainability initiatives. Our philosophy is simple, do sustainability imperfectly – meaning if each person makes the swaps that work for their lifestyle imagine the impact we can have. We are working to bring this philosophy to area consumers and businesses to reduce the use of single-use plastics and make sustainability accessible to everyone. As part of this, Fillagreen will be meeting with OmniRide employees to discuss sustainability and how even small changes can have big impacts on our community.
As Hicks mentioned, Fillagreen will speak to OmniRide employees about sustainable practices, and OmniRide will examine replacing their current cleaning products with Fillagreen’s environmentally friendly ones. The Chamber hopes to create more business relationships like this in the future. As Caitlin Stephens, Communications and Marketing Manager for the Chamber says, “The Chamber is always working to make new connections and to better the Greater Prince William County area. We’re kind of ‘the great connector.’ OmniRide is such a huge community advocate. They’re doing a whole lot of things in the community. And they are always looking for new ways of connecting.”
Wendy Migdal is a freelance writer who has lived in the Northern/Central Virginia area since 2000. She enjoys history, reading, and all things dog.