Staying Green on the Job – Tips for the Office

Staying Green on the Job – Tips for the Office

photo: Michal Bahn

Many of us spend a great deal of time at work. Sometimes, it is indeed hard to “be green” and continue to adhere to the good habits you practice at home. In the office or on the job, you are not always in command of your own environment. While you cannot control everything about your work environment, here is a list of things you CAN control.

1. Think Before You Print – Do not hit the print button on your computer so quickly. Before you print, think about whether you need that document printed. Doing so can help the environment AND save money.

2. Print Wisely – If you absolutely must print something, decide whether it can be printed on the back of a used sheet of paper. If your printer does not have a scrap paper box near it for this purpose, set one up right away. You can also use the scrap paper to scribble notes on, instead of purchasing a new notepad. In addition, try making double sided print jobs and photocopies. This will cut your paper use in half.

3. Recycle – Remember to recycle when possible. There should be recycle bins located in each department.

4. Turn It Off – Turn your computer off at night, as well as the power strip it is connected to. Even though it is not in use, power is still running through it. During the day, setting your computer to go into sleep mode when not in use will greatly cut down on the amount of energy used.

5. Screensaver = Power Waster – Turn off that screen saver. Did you know your groovy screensaver uses as much energy as if your computer were in active use? The best screen saver is NO screen saver. Also, turn your monitor off when your computer is not in use.

6. Reuse – Return old print cartridges instead of throwing them away. Companies will take back old ones to recycle. Staples will even give you a $3 store credit for each cartridge returned.

7. Be Bright About Light – If you do not share an area with others, turn your lights off if you are going to be away from your desk for more than 15 minutes. Also, take advantage of natural light when you can. If you are the last one in a public area, turn the lights off before you leave.

8. You Are HOW You Eat – Bring in reusable dishes, mugs, and silverware to eat and drink at work. Consider using a BPA-free plastic water bottle instead of store–bought, disposable water bottles. Also, use a reusable lunch bag to carry your food, rather than a paper or plastic bag. Plastic bags do not break down in landfills!

9. Reconsider Your Commute – Live close to a fellow co-worker? Ask them if they want to carpool with you. Save on gas, cut down on car emissions AND give yourself a break from being the driver every other day!

10. Just Say NO – When you receive unwanted magazines, catalogs and newsletters, ask to be removed from the mailing list instead of adding them to the trash heap.

11. What’s Old is New – Are you thinking of upgrading to a new iPhone for better email access? Don’t throw out your old cell phone! Most local police departments collect old cell phones to give to battered women’s shelters.

12. Travel Green – Planning your next vacation from work? Check out websites that focus on ecotourism and environmentally-conscious hotels. These sites will hook you up to hotels and vacation ideas that are green friendly, enabling you to continue your new-found green habits even while you are not at work.

And remember, it’s not easy being green – but it sure beats swimming in sewage!
Written by: Mary Asbury

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