Many of us have taken steps to go green at home and on the road, but what about at the office? There are several easy ways to green up your workplace and even save a little cash in the process. Here are some of my top green ideas for making your workplace a little more environmentally friendly.
You would think in our day and age that most offices have gone mostly digital, but you’d be surprised at the amount of paper waste that can still accumulate. Avoid paper waste as much as possible by skipping the snail mail and having correspondence sent to your email. Are you worried that your clients will find it impersonal? You can easily overcome this obstacle by sending a mass email to all your clients explaining your commitment to decreasing your environmental footprint as much as possible. Outline that a part of this program is to communicate via email unless absolutely necessary.
Avoid printing documents for reading purposes. I know many individuals print out documents for easier reading. I know it can be tempting, but adjust your computer screen setting for the easiest reading. No shame in increasing your font size or zooming in to read a document.
Invoicing can now be done via email with speedier turn-around times. No more “lost” invoices in the mail, with a click of the button you can have your invoice to your client and with programs like Adobe e-sign you can even have your clients sign their documents via email. You will notice your paper waste start to dwindle incredibly fast. Conversely, sign-up for ebilling and online banking on the purchases you make for your office as well.
Be a Paper Saver
If you absolutely can not do away with the paper, become a paper saver. Print on both sides of the page and use paper with the highest possible post-consumer content. Recycled paper uses 55% less water in production compared to virgin paper. Recycled paper also takes 60-70 percent less energy to produce than paper from virgin pulp. Paper without confidential information on it can be placed into a box and used as scrap paper for other projects or for note taking. Reusing the paper a second time can really help considering more than 25 billions cartons of paper produced each year is only used once. Going digital is the best option, but if there is a project that it is just not possible on, use it wisely.
Set up recycling bins in your lobby or throughout the office. Encourage everyone to recycle their soda cans, paper, plastics, and glass.
Stop the Junk Mail
Many large “junk mail” services subscribe to DMA Mail Preference Services. You can drastically reduce the amount of junk mail you receive in your mailbox by registering for DMA’s MPS (Mail Preference Service) by mailing a written request including your name, complete work address, and signature to: DMA Mail Preference Service, Box 643 Carmel, NY 10512-0643. You can also do this for your own home as well.
Get in Motion
Installing motion detectors can be a huge energy saver. Place them in restrooms, break rooms, and meeting rooms. This will ensure that the lights are turned unless someone is in the room. No more “turn off the lights” sticky notes needed.
Treat it Like Home
Even if you aren’t the one forking over the cash for the energy bills, turn off your lights, printers, and computers every night before leaving your desk. The environment and finance will thank you for your efforts.
Program the Thermostat
A programmable thermostat will help you keep your building warm and cool during business hours and save power and money when people are away.
Ditch the Staples
Okay you may not be able to ditch them all together, but with this nifty device from ThinkGeek you will be well on your way to avoiding the dreaded stapler. Who likes staplers anyway? You are constantly battling to dislodge the staple that will inevitably get stuck at the most inopportune time and waste precious time. With the staple free stapler no staples are required to keep your pages together. The staple free stapler can clip up to 5 pages with no staple necessary, so for larger items you may have to resort to the traditional stapler. However, many of my staple needs are definitely 5 pages or less. I will gladly switch when possible.
These are just a couple simple ways to help green up your office. What things does your office do to green-up?