Be Green at Work
Hopefully you are all still sticking to your New Year’s Resolution to do your part in living a greener life. While no one can be expected to be perfect everyone can make small changes that will equal big differences to our planet earth. Make each work day even more productive by following as many of the guidelines for saving resources at work from the NRDC website.
The average workplace uses thousands of supplies on a daily basis — and accounts for a lot of what we use and throw away.
What you can do
- Buy energy-efficient office equipment – Energy Star-rated equipment is an option at work as well as at home. Energy Star equipment has power management features that allow it to reduce its power use or turn itself off when not in use. According to the EPA, Energy Star-labeled equipment can save up to 75 percent of total electricity use.
- Recycle – If your office doesn’t have a recycling program, work with your office manager and custodial staff to set one up. Paper, aluminum cans, and plastic bottles are easy to start with, and additional materials can be added as the staff gets used to recycling. Set up bins in convenient areas to collect each type of material your office recycles, and make sure everyone knows they are there.
- Commit to environmentally friendly purchasing practices – Encourage your company to make a commitment to purchasing paper and plastic materials made with post-consumer recycled content. Companies should avoid paper products made from 100 percent virgin fiber content, and switch to paper that is 30 percent post-consumer content at minimum. For more on how green purchasing practices can push the paper industry toward more sustainable production methods, click here. Also look for plastic and metal products made with recycled or scrap material.
- Be thrifty with paper – Don’t print out each memo or email you receive. Read and delete the ones you don’t need to save and electronically file others you might refer to later. Make sure your office copier can make two-sided copies, and badger everyone to get into the habit of doing so. If people don’t take the hint, arrange to have your copier’s default set to the two-sided rather than one-sided option. High-speed copiers that are set to automatically make two-sided copies reduce paper costs by $60 per month — and, of course, save paper. Save even more paper by using the blank sides of used sheets of paper for note-taking and printing drafts.
- Use reusable utensils for office parties – If you work in one of those offices where there’s no excuse too small for a mid-afternoon get-together, encourage the office manager to invest in a set of dishes, cups, and utensils that can be used each time, rather than breaking out plastic utensils and paper plates.
- Bring a waste-free lunch – Store your food in reusable containers rather than wrapping it in foil or plastic. Keep a knife, fork, spoon, and cloth napkins at work to avoid the need for plastic utensils and paper napkins. Bring your hot or cold drinks in a thermos, and drink them from a mug you keep at your desk or in your work area.