15 October 2007

Being "Green" in the Office

Blogging for the Environment, October 15, 2007.

How can we be better stewards of our environment at the office? I have come up with a few ideas and would welcome any comments from any readers if they have other ideas.
  • Take a bus to work, walk, bicycle or carpool if possible
  • Photocopy or print double sided (post a sign by the photocopier if you need to)
  • Do you really need to print it? Burning it on a CD might work just as well
  • Recycle paper from the printer areas (be careful not to recycle confidential waste: either shred it or put it in secure bins)
  • Ensure your office has plenty of recycle bins by each desk - as well as large recycle bins for cans, glass, newspapers and mixed waste paper
  • Recycle your kitchen office garbage. If you don't have a collection system at work, perhaps a volunteer could take it home everyday and compost it
  • Email telephone messages to save on paper clutter and waste
  • E-cycle: participate in recycling used electronic office equipment
  • If you are in a position to do so, order recycled paper for your office, buy it, or talk to your boss about the possibility of ordering it.
  • Take your lunch to work in recyclable containers
  • Use a "real cup" for coffee (or drinks) and avoid using "styrofoam" altogether. Also make sure you have extra cups for visitors.
  • Use environmentally friendly dish soap in your office kitchen (usually someone just brings this in, or someone orders it, so this is an easy one) - Nature Clean is a good product.
  • If possible recycle your toners.
  • Bring batteries to recyling depots in your office or town
  • When ordering catering, order "real cutlery" and plates and avoid using disposables
  • Make sure the lights are off when you leave, as well as your computers (if possible, check with your IT Department)
  • Make sure you have a tray nearby for pages that have a lot of white space on them. You may be able to get it bound by a Print Shop and used as message pads.
  • If you have magazine subscriptions that you no longer require, cancel your subscription.
  • Also, if people have left the organization, make sure you "return to sender" and let the company know to take this person off their distribution list.
  • If you have the opportunity to check your bosses mail, and you notice that he throws magazines out, or gets a lot of "generic letters" from companies, check to be sure and if agreeable, ask that he or she be taken off the mailing list.
  • In the winter open the blinds during the day and close them at night and do the opposite in the summer.
  • Take the stairs instead of the elevator when possible - it's healthier for you too.
  • If in a position to suggest this, encourage people to tele-conference or videoconference instead of travelling
  • Talk to other employees in the office - they may have other ideas

Submitted by Angela, Environmentally-Minded University Student

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