Even if you’ve never practiced green living before, putting a few conservation tips into practice could be the start of your steady participation in helping to save the Earth. Here are some conservation tips for your office that you can incorporate into your daily routine:
- Don’t print: Before you hit print, ask yourself if you can cut and paste the information into a document that you can store in a computer file, or simply write it down the old-fashioned way. You’d be amazed at how much paper and ink (plus the energy required of your printer) you can save by just pausing for a few seconds to determine just how badly you need another piece of paper (or two or three). And if you must print, don’t forget to print on both sides if you can. It might take a few mishaps to know exactly how to reload the paper into the feeder, but the amount of paper you’ll save in the end will be well worth it.
- Recycle: Think of the money you and your company can save by recycling paper. And you don’t have to wait until it comes back to you in the form of a ream of paper to help the environment. Any sheet of paper that does not contain proprietary information can be turned into scraps that can be used for notes or memos. Also, use chlorine-free paper that contains a higher percentage of post-consumer recycled materials.
- Quiet the photocopier: Instead of leaving the photocopier on all day, keep it on during a specified time, maybe three hours during which you and your colleagues can copy what you need. With some scheduling and a little fine-tuning, this practice could become a regular way of conducting business.
- Conduct a light bulb exchange: Switch out your old standard light bulbs with ENERGY STAR–rated bulbs. ENERGY STAR is a joint program of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the U.S. Department of Energy that helps protect the environment through energy-efficient products and practices. These bulbs use at least two-thirds less energy than regular bulbs.
- Buy used furniture: Before buying any new office furniture, investigate buying quality used furniture, which is much cheaper and keeps another desk or chair out of the landfill.
B.Y.O.P.: Bring your own plates and cutlery to work. Throw in a few cloth napkins, too, if you can. Paper plates, paper napkins, and plastic forks, spoons, and knives have been a mainstay in the office for a long time, so it might be difficult at first to make the switch. Reusable dishes and cutlery can significantly cut down on paper waste and pollution.