The growing threat of global warming has many people incorporating eco-friendly concepts into their homes, including recycling bins and chemical-free cleaners.
Yet, a large portion of the day is spent outside the home in an office. Can people still maintain a green lifestyle while at work? They can as long as they commit to making small changes to their desks and big changes to their office buildings.
Here are some tips to help you save the planet during your 9 to 5 life.
- Use Less Energy – When leaving the office for the day, turn off all electronic devices, especially computers. Reports have shown that half of workers in the U.S. neglect to shut down their computers at night. Not only does this waste energy and increase carbon emissions, but it costs businesses $2.8 billion a year. During the day, use the energy-saving settings, such as sleep modes and dimmer screens, on your devices.
- Go Digital - Unless absolutely necessary, avoid printing documents by keeping them in a digital format. Send all correspondence via email and share documents with co-workers through an internal network. Replace your file cabinets with digital folders on your desktop. Try to digitize as many operations as possible. For example, if you process numerous contracts, have clients start signing documents electronically to reduce paper use and gas consumption.
- Reuse Paper – If you must print, consider using the other side of paper that’s already been used. Conversely, save anything that you print for later uses, such as notepaper or package filler.
- Buy a Plant – If you really want to make your desk green, buy a plant or two. Plants naturally absorb pollutants in the air, including the radiation emitted from computers. While taking in all the bad stuff floating in the air, plants will release some much needed oxygen into the office.
- Pack a Lunch – By bringing a lunch from home, you are less likely to use disposable utensils and containers. Delivery and carry out lunches often come with Styrofoam containers and plastic utensils that aren’t easily biodegradable. With a lunch from home, you can bring your own silverware and reusable Tupperware containers.
- Travel Green – Your daily commute can have a big impact on the environment. Traveling alone in a car is a major carbon contributor. By carpooling with co-workers, you can take multiple cars off the road. If available, use public transportation, some of which run on electricity, for your work commute. Even better, consider riding a bike if you live and work in a city.
- Make Building Requests – The amount of resources that office buildings consumer can make them major pollution contributors. Offer recommendations to the building supervisor or owner to make it more green. Installing green products like LED light bulbs and waterless urinals will not only help save the environment, but help save the building money.
The same eco-friendly steps you that take to make your home green are just as applicable to the office. How green is your workspace?