Photo by permission of World Resource Institute of their new green office space.
You recycle, turn off your lights, and even watch what you consume, but have you considered the environmental impact of your home office or business?Here are some ideas, as Earth Day is quickly approaching, how to make green by being green in your work environment:
1. GreenPrint helps reduce printing of extraneous pages. (You know those last pages that you really don’t need?) Using this software, reduces ink and paper use. Licensing is a one-time fee. According to the Company, numerous businesses, local governments and school are using the program. In addition, they have made inroads into UK, Europe, Australia and Japan.
2. Widen margins, and print on both sides of the paper to reduce the amount of paper used.For other paper reduction advice, see “Office Waste Reduction Briefing Paper” furnished by the WasteCap of Wisconsin.
3. Put a note at the bottom of your emails, asking people not to print in respect of the environment.
4. Buy 100% recycled content paper. Staples and Office Depot carry this type of paper as well as many online stores.
5. Reduce the amount of junk mail received by past employees that no longer are employed at the firm through Ecological Mail. The office administrator just provides a list of the past employees for 5 year and no more junk mailings. See my article “Recycling Junk Mail. Is it enough to save our Trees?” for more information on how to reduce your junk mail.
6. Consider packing your lunch using Laptop Lunches which is made out of nontoxic materials and comes with utensils. No need to throw away plastic bags, or tin foil since they have nice little containers to reuse.Throwing out or using plastic utensils will be a thing of the past. They make a lunch box as well as the Lunch Date which is for heartier eaters. For more information, see my article, “Meet the Low Impact Lunch.”
7. If you must have disposable silverware, cups, and plates at the office, consider buying compostable ones.You can buy them in bulk at The Green Office.
8. While you are at The Green Office, check out the recycled content and/or ecological notebooks, folders, pencils, pens, and other assorted office essential.
9. Consider using recycled napkins such as those made by Marcal or Seventh Generation. In lieu of paper, consider using cloth napkins. Someone could take them home and wash them once a week if your office is small enough.
10. Either turn off your computers when not in use or buy Smart Power Strip which automatically reduces the consumption of all electronic devices. This product can be purchased at Smarthome USA. It also shuts down the stand-by power when computers are plugged in but not on. No more bending required. See my article, “How to Lessen Your Carbon Footprint without Working at it.”
11. Consider buying recycled 2-ply toilet paper for the office. Want to know the low down on eco-toilet paper? Read my article, “Can you save the Earth by Simply Wiping?”
12. Collect burnt out fluorescent tubes and send them to be recycled. See here for a list of flourescent tube recyclers.
13. Don’t forget to recycle your computer, printer, or other electronic peripheral. For home offices, Staples takes such devices for $10 or check out your local county recycling. In addition, old computers can be donated to schools and other organizations. It’s good PR for your company. See my article, “Is your Electronic Waste Being Dumped in Third World Countries?” to find out where you can donate or recycle your computers.
14. Partner with Green Disk, which recycles electronic media such as DVDs and CDs and their plastic cases among other items. Green Disk gives you a certification that all electronic media has been completely erased for confidential documents. I have been working with them for three years. For more information, see my article, “ Green Disk, the Answer to Recycling CDs and DVDs.”
15. Encourage cell phone and other electronic device recycling by using ideas from my article, “Give your Old Cell Phone Second Life or a Proper Burial.” Let employees know that they can sell their small hand held electronic devices at Second Rotation (now known as Gazelle) or Mybrokenipods.com.
16. Buy used furniture such as ergonomic chairs and desks. In the alternative, consider selling your used furniture or donating it to a local charity. See my article about my own used chair purchase, “Used Office Chair Comfy is Now Spelled G-R-E-E-N.”.
17. Use plastic food containers that you would ordinarily throw out to store paper clips and rubber bands.I am using a cream cheese container for my rubber bands, and a hummus container for my sewing pins.
18. Consider, in place of business cards, giving your clients a recycled content promotional product that they can use such as a recycled pen made of 30% reclaimed cotton denim fabric scraps. Alternatively, hand them a business card made of seeded paper or cereal boxes.
19. Need an end of year gift for your clients, vendors, or employees, or corporate event? Consider a gift from Greensender.com. Send a message of your company’s stance on the environment. Who wouldn’t want a reusable Sigg water bottle rather than a boring calendar?
20. Create a Waste recycling campaign in your office. By recycling you can reduce your waste hauling charges. See Earth911.com for Business for more information on how to create an office recycling program.
21. Encourage workers to bring their own coffee cups and stainless steel bottles or glasses for water rather than use Styrofoam coffee cups or plastic water bottle.
22. Use a green printer for all of your promotional work including your business cards such as Print Responsibly. While you are there, consider that all of their banners are bio-banners, which is made out of compostable PVC.
23. Place a table in the lunch room where people can swap their books, DVDs, and small items they don’t want anymore. Someone else’s trash is someone else’s treasure.
24. Use newspaper or compostable peanuts when packing shipping packages. In the alternative, reuse packing materials from packages received.
25. Oh, don’t forget when you leave the office, to turn off the lights and lower the thermostat if you don’t have a programmable one!
Join the Conversation:
- What are some of your ideas of greening your office environment?
- What ideas above have you implemented in your office?
- How has your company gotten their employees involved?