eBay Green Team 2010 Year in Review

J.D. Norton

2010 was quite a year for our employee Green Team. They continued to grow both in headcount and in reach around the globe. As new employee centers and offices opened, new teams sprung to life – from Salt Lake to Singapore, Denver to Dreilinden, Connecticut to Chennai – our employee Green Teams did great things in their own offices, but also within the communities in which they operate.

As we head into a new year, we wanted to take a moment to share many of these teams’ great accomplishments with all of you.

United States

The Omaha Green Team recently led an effort to switch from plastic bottles to cans in the PayPal vending machines. The change has been both positive for employees health and for the environment. Earlier in the year, the team also worked with their local Workplace Resources group to start phasing out all disposables in break rooms and cafes and instead provide employees with stainless steel flatware, ceramic coffee cups and reusable tumblers. Omaha employees biked over 9,880 miles last year and were certified a Bronze level Bike Friendly Business by the League of American Bicyclists. The amazing organic community garden created by the Green Team continued to be insanely popular among employees in 2010. Seventy-nine employee gardeners worked 40 plots and there is a waiting list to get a plot in the garden.

Our team in Salt Lake City has been involved with Tree Utah for several years, assisting with tree planting initiatives, restoration of wetlands, and helping with their annual fundraising efforts. This year they were recognized as being one of the most dedicated corporate groups for the past several years. Additionally, as the Utah campus continued to grow in 2010, so did their preferred parking program for more environmentally friendly cars. The SLC Green Team also once again had a huge presence at the Earth Fest in downtown Salt Lake City, as well as the Live Green Eco Fair.

April was a big month for the Workplace Resource’s group at our corporate headquarters in San Jose. They launched theZero Waste for Green Space program, which included replacing most trash cans with recycling and compost cans. This program is off to a great start and the WPR team in San Jose recently received a BOMA (Building Owners and Managers Association) Emerald Award for Single Tenant Recycling. As a result of this program, with help from their stellar partner,Greenwaste, and the conscientious San Jose employees who carefully sort their trash, the San Jose campuses finished 2010 with an unprecedented diversion rate! The overall goal of the program is to have absolutely none of the waste created in San Jose end up in a landfill, and with continued cooperation from employees; this goal is one that can be met. Can you imagine – two of eBay’s largest campuses producing zero waste?!

Our StubHub Green Team in Connecticut was busy in 2010 as well. The team is now 40 strong and they have been working hard to incorporate more eco-friendly practices and products into their office environment. The Connecticut office is now entirely free of disposable cups, they teamed up with the local CARE team to assist with the greening of local events and community outreach programs, changed out all of their bathroom products with much more environmentally friendly ones, enacted green education initiatives, and even started a test group to rid the office of Post-It Notes entirely.


This past November, eBay Canada teamed up with eco-friendly designer Preloved to create a collection of sweaters and accessories which demonstrate that going green should be a trade up, not a trade off. The team in Toronto also did quite a bit to green the recently expanded office in which they work by using refurbished furniture to furnish it. They also went eco-friendly with all of their marketing materials; all eBay Canada branded goods are either made of recycled materials, can be recycled, or promote sustainability by being reusable. Even their office pens are made of 65% organic materials!

Out in Dreilinden, Germany, thanks to local Green Team efforts there, the local authorities repaired a critical stretch of road and added much needed lighting to make it safer and easier to get to the office via bicycle. The team was also happy to announce that in 2010 the site was powered 100% with hydropower electricity and extended their renewable energy contract through 2012. When their new server room was constructed, they made sure to use the most efficient cooling system available and even increased the temperature to require less cooling system energy. You’ll also be happy to know that they are still helping toads survive their yearly trek over a dangerous stretch of road near the office.

Our newest team in Israel hit the ground running this year. They made efforts to nearly all the waste created in their office, incorporated double-sided printing on all printers, created a subsidized leasing program for Hybrid cars, stocked the kitchen with bio-degradable kitchenware, and installed bike racks to encourage carbon-free, healthy commutes.

Recently, 47 employees from both Swiss offices (Bern and Zurich) worked together with the World Wildlife Fund to remove invasive plants and protect endangered species native to the Valaise region of Switzerland. Two bikes are also now available for employees to use to run errands or to transport them back and forth to town or the train station. Finally, the team took steps to help their vendors go green as well by better coordinating lunch deliveries with existing local schedules to minimize driving.

Corporate Initiatives

This year’s grand prize winning idea at the eBay Innovation Expo, as well as one of the winners of the eBay Green Team’s Big Green Idea contest, was a simple little box…a simple little box that could protect nearly 4,000 trees, save 2.4 million gallons of water and conserve enough energy to power 49 homes for a year. This award winning idea became the eBay Box, a branded shipping container made from environmentally friendly materials and designed to be reused. The program is now in full swing with nearly 100,000 boxes now out in the eBay ecosystem.

On October 21st, a cross-functional group of eBay employees launched eBay Instant Sale, another Innovation Expo initiative in which eBay teamed up with sellers – who are already reselling refurbished and used electronics – to enable consumers to sell or recycle old electronics quickly and conveniently.

To close out the year on an extremely high note, Topaz, eBay’s new, state-of-the-art data center, located in Salt Lake City, Utah, received LEED® Gold certification, verified by the Green Building Certification Institute (GBCI). Topaz becomes one of only a small handful of data centers to achieve LEED Gold certification.

2010 was a big year for our employee Green Teams, who continue to be the heart and soul of our green initiatives here at eBay. Whether you are an employee at eBay or anywhere else, we encourage you to integrate sustainable thinking into your place of work and be part of making your community a whole lot greener in the coming year.

Tell us all the things that you did in 2010 to make the world a little greener!