Going Green at the Office

Over the last few years, most people have made large strides in their day-to-day lives towards living a more environmentally friendly life. Home recycling, composting and energy efficient appliances and lights are pretty commonplace. However our work environments may be very different. Often those choices that are made at home with our own personal budget are distinct from the choices we make for our work lives.

One of the main reasons for this are the simple choices that are available to us. When you go to the grocery store for your home shopping, there are hundreds of greener, healthier choices for you to make. If you’re looking for anything from a dishwashing detergent to a bag of apples, there are greener and more organic alternatives to the standard fare. However, most businesses shop at big-box stores like Costco and Sam’s Club. Buying in bulk is great for an office and expense accounts, but those types of stores typically don’t offer anywhere near the alternatives that your modern grocery store does. This does not mean that you should give up though. There are a number of small, easy to implement choices that you can bring to the office environment that are positive steps to making the world a better place for us to all be in

1. Think about it (Meditate on it).

The first thing to do is try and be conscious of what you’re doing. This could be said of anything, but that’s because it should be a central tenant of your life. Try and be mindful of your actions and their repercussions. This will make every decision slightly tougher, but more meaningful and rewarding.

2. Recycle.

The first and easiest step is to start recycling at the office. You do at it home already, so why not get a few different trashcans and stick a simple recycling label on one of them. If you don’t have a recycling service at work, take turns in taking one of the bags home with you once a week.

3. Buy recycled ink and toner cartridges.

Not only can you buy recycled ink and toner these days, but you can also drop off your old ones for a discount on your next purchase. This is a good example of how going green can actually help save money.

4. Post-Consumer Recycled Content (PCR) paper.

Just a few years ago, anything above 10% recycled content in paper products meant that the paper was of a lower quality. These days, there are quality papers out there with 25-40% PCR.

5. Create a Green Policy for the office.

Take a few minutes, or have a short office meeting to create a set of guidelines for the work environment’s green policies. It seems simple enough, but if people don’t know that the coffee grounds don’t go in the green trashcan, then they just won’t do it.

7. Use digital systems to cut down on printing.

Welcome to the 21st century. You don’t need to print out a 200-page document anymore for it to be convenient. Sure, you may be used to using a highlighter and pen to mark up documents, but there are actually better tools available in things like MS Word, Adobe Acrobat and almost everything that runs on a tablet. You’ll eventually make yourself more efficient and save a few trees in the process.

8. Save power – turn stuff off.

As silly as it sounds, we don’t treat the workplace like we do our homes. You don’t leave the bathroom light on all day a your house, or keep your computer on while you’re not there, why would you at work? Well the answer most people give is “It’s not mine”. If we all pitch in a little, not only will our work place be more efficient, but we’ll be creating a better world for everyone else. Turn off things when you’re not using them, save energy now and we’ll all win in the future.


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