Is it time to go green in your office? On average Americans produce 4.5 pounds of waste per-person per-day in the year 2000, for an annual total of 232 million tons of municipal solid waste according to a report done by the Environmental Protection Agency in 2000. Since then that number has greatly increased. Are you contributing to this? If so, what are some things that you can do to give back to Mother Earth? Businesses are just as guilty as homeowners at contributing to this tonnage of waste. Here are 10 things that your office can do to go green and help give back:
1. Use compact florescent light bulbs.
Fluorescent bulbs can increase your lighting efficiency & is one way to decrease your energy bills. Despite an initial higher cost, florescent light bulbs use less electricity and last longer.
2. Recycle all of your paper.
You don't recycling paper makes a difference? Back in the late 90's when recycling became popular, there have been 64 million tons of waste that has been deposited into our landfills. How much paper does your office go through a day? You can make a difference.
3. Print and copy on both sides of paper.
How easy is this? How many times do we print report, directions, to do list, etc. on just one side of paper? Think how many trees we would save by utilizing the back side of the paper.
4. Use 100% recycled paper.
Recycled paper typically may cost a bit more than regular paper, but not always. If you’re using more mass print jobs and not much concerned about presentation, consider recycled paper. Besides by paying a few pennies more to ease the global waste problem is a good investment into mother earth.
5. Use recycled printer cartridges.
Print cartridges require many resources for their production. By dumping them in the in our landfills is a double negative. Print cartridges nowadays can be refilled for a 20%-30% savings from repurchasing. Not to mention how much your saving by not adding to the landfills. If you still can't bring yourself to have them refilled, at least consider recycling your old cartridges.
6. Use office cleaners that use non-toxic products.
By using non-toxic cleaners, you are using a product that is biodegradable and is safe indoors.
7. Reuse shipping boxes.
It's just reusing old gift boxes at Christmas. Shipping boxes are strong enough to be used several times before they are completely worn out. Once they are……recycle.
8. Have plenty of indoor green plants in every room.
It's time to go green, literally. Having real plants inside the work place also helps companies that are going green at the work place. Live plants indoors may seem harder to care for, but they will provide the work place with fresh air for employees. This will make them healthier and happier and greener themselves.
9. Encourage co-commuting one day a week.
Can't see yourself driving a Prius or Aveo? Well, you dont' have to. Just offer to hitch a ride with a co-worker and you'll greatly reduce the carbon dioxide fumes for the year.
10. Consider purchasing an organic fair trade coffee.
This was a new one to me. What is Fair trade? Fair trade is an organized social movement and market-based approach to empowering developing country producers and promoting sustainability. The movement advocates the payment of a fair price as well as social and environmental standards in areas related to the production of a wide variety of goods including coffee.
Greener does not always mean more expensive. Many of the tips above actually will help reduce expenses in the office. If you’re the manager, it’s time to get your employees on board. If you’re an employee and you have a passion for going green, show your superiors that going green actually puts more money in their pockets. Nothing like saving some green by going green.