Ways to Green Your Business or Eco Office

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Our world is slowly turning green, eco “green” that is.  Many companies and consumers are learning that we need to protect our world in order to preserve it.  Enjoying an eco-friendly lifestyle should reflect in all areas of your life, including your workspace.  If you are interested in making the world more eco-friendly then you have probably already taken specific measures at home, but have you taken these precautions at work as well?  On average, people spend around 90% of their lives indoors, and most of this is spent at a desk or in a workplace.  

There are several ways to turn your business or office “green”.  You may not be aware that there are very easy ways to start right now, without much preparation.  If there is a computer where you work, then you know how valuable it can be.  However, it has been estimated that people spend over $1 billion in electricity each year on the computer.  To help conserve the computer energy, try investing in an energy saving computer, printer, and monitor.  

You can also switch your computer settings so that they are more energy efficient.  Many people have the habit of leaving their computer on when they leave the room. Instead of doing this, put your computer in "sleep mode". Be aware though, that even if your computer switches to sleep mode, you are still running power to the unit. If you are leaving for the day, power-down your computer and monitor completely, and unplug them. Printers and other electronics should be unplugged at the end of the day as well (and unplug those cell phone chargers when they arent in use.) 

Try using less paper while you are in the office.  It is not always necessary to print out every email or memo.  Instead, keep the files on your computer so that you will have a reference.  Also, avoid having catalogues or magazines sent to the office.  This will cut down on paper waste. Instead, make your office supply orders online. Having a paycheck in your hand can be nice, but you will save more paper by having it directly deposited into your account.  Most everyone has email these days, so email your colleagues or employees instead of sending out newsletters on paper.  

Of course, you can't cut out all paper usage, so buy recycled paper and paper that is chlorine-free.  You can also buy organic products that are made of bamboo, cotton, and hemp.  The other side of the piece of paper rarely gets used.  Why waste it when you can simply print on that side as well?  If your business relies on packing and shipping, then shred all of your old paper and use it as packing material.  Also, any paper that you have not used both sides of, you can cut it up in note card size sheets and use it for note taking.  

If your office has a coffee station, eliminate paper cups and invest in some ceramic mugs that are reusable. Or require that everyone supply their own mug. Paper cups should be on hand only for visitors or clients. Similarly, supply real spoons instead of plastic spoons and stirrers. Another quick change for the breakroom is to install water filters on the taps and encourage your office staff to drink tap water, rather than bottled water.

Recycling is the most obvious way of going “green” in the office.  Set up a recycle bin in the office for copy paper, envelopes, and magazines.  Encourage all of your employees to place everything in the correct bin.  Save all cardboard boxes that come in the mail, and then reuse them for outbound shipments.  Ink cartridges are also a great item to recycle.  You can either send it off to a recycling company or you can take it to a specialty shop where they will refill the cartridge for you.  It is also very costly to buy a new cartridge, so having it refilled will save you money and help the environment.

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