With Earth Day right around the corner, I’ve been thinking of ways that I can make my office life a little more green. We all want to be a little nicer to the environment but sometimes it can be hard to know where to begin. Firstly, the fact that you stop to think about it (even if only for a little bit) is a step in the right direction. Being conscious and asking questions are your first steps and reading this short list would be your next. Whether you are an aspiring entrepreneur with a home office or an established business owner in a corporate setting, these simple tips will help make your work place a greener place to be.
Use Less Paper
This one is kind of no-brainer but you might be surprised at how many people don’t do this. Reduce your paper usage by using both sides of the paper. If you can get away with using the paper for more than just notes (like inter-office reports and communications), do it. It may seem small, but every little bit counts. I’ve also gotten into the habit of taking notes using either my iPhone, Stickies, or Notepad as opposed to scratching notes down on paper. I am an avid list maker, so this is doubly important for me. You can also ask to be removed from paper mailing lists (junk mail) to reduce your paper usage.
Be a Conscious Consumer
Do your research. Everything from recycled printer paper to soy based printer ink are among what is available on the market nowadays. You will sleep better knowing you’ve made the most eco-conscious purchase. Some eco-friendly products get a bad rap for being over priced, but remember two things. One, it’s really about quality over quantity and two, just try to do what you can. I hate to sound like a broken record, but every little step does count.
Try and reduce the amount of energy you consume. Most of us have been taught from a very young age to turn the lights off when we leave the room or not to let the water run (anyone else remember the Barney Brushing my Teeth song?) yet it can be very easy to forget on a daily basis. Some other things that you can do are to save energy: set your computer/tablet/laptop to low energy power saver setting when you are doing things like answering emails, working with a simple word document or just doing things that require less energy intake. Also, try to remember to turn off your computer when it’s not in use (or put it to “sleep” if you are just taking a short break).
Recycle Your Electronics
In preparation for this article I was most surprised when I happened upon the following information. Of all the electronics purchased in a year, 75% of it ends up in landfills or incinerators. Seventy-five percent! Also, out of all the retailers that sell us our electronics only two offer a recycling program. And what’s more, is that even though most states are passing laws to prevent “e-waste”, it is still legal in almost all states. So with this you can do one of two things; only shop with retailers that do offer a recycling program and use it or you can choose to continue shopping with retailers that don’t offer a program and make sure to scout out some electronic recycling depots in your area.