As you move towards a greener lifestyle, don’t forget to green your office whether it is at home or away!
- When possible, use energy star equipment – computers, printers, copiers, fax machines, coffee makers, etc. – for maximum energy efficiency.
- Recycle print cartridges at office supply stores and use soy ink cartridges, which require less oil to manufacture and emit fewer air pollutants.
- Keep your screen saver blank instead of the energy hogging, hypnotic graphics ones. They aren’t good for our eyes anyway!
- Paper copies are less important these days, but if you do have to print something, print on both sides of the paper – most printers have a 2-sided property – and use recycled paper. Also, set your printer to economy mode or eco-tone. Most new printers have this setting, which uses less ink.
- If your office is not already recycling used paper, set up a recycling center (for cans, bottles and plastic too) and organize a weekly or monthly pick up from a local recycling company. Or reuse unwanted paper for scrap paper.
- For interoffice memos, use email rather than paper. Most offices already do that and even email is becoming antiquated with facebook messaging, google chatting and twitter!
- In your office kitchen, install a water filter system instead of using individual water bottles or big plastic water containers. The average American goes through 500 disposable cups every year, so use ceramic mugs, not polystyrene (Styrofoam®) or plastic cups for coffee or water. Use real spoons instead of plastic stirrers. Set up a recycling center in the kitchen too.
- Replace incandescent light bulbs with longer lasting, energy efficient CFLs (compact fluorescents).
- Clean your office with green cleaning supplies.
- Reuse old packaging materials for shipping.
- Houseplants are effective air cleaners, removing indoor air pollutants. Place several plants near your printers, fax and photocopiers. They add beauty and tranquility as well.
- When remodeling your office, use natural materials for furniture and carpet and low VOC paints instead of man-made laminates, synthetic materials and conventional paints that outgas toxins.
- When possible ride public transportation or carpool to work.
We spend most of our time at work, so setting up a green office is an important step to using less energy and leading a healthier lifestyle. Remember, every little step helps!