Even if youíre not the head honcho, going green at work doesnít require a major office overhaul. Small changes, like the ones you practice at home (recycling, using less light), can apply to almost any business environment. And since you probably spend most of your week putting in those long hours, it pays off to take care of your workspace. Everyone will benefit and, who knows, eco-friendly habits may even boost office morale!
- Turn off the lights: About 44 percent of the electricity used in office buildings comes from artificial lighting. That means itís pretty easy to cut down on energy consumption just by flipping a switch. Use natural light whenever you can, or turn off the lights if you know youíll be out of a room for 15 minutes or more. You can also find out whoís in charge of lighting and talk to them about switching over to Energy Star-rated bulbs and fixtures. Make a habit of turning off your computer when you shut off the lights to save even more electricity!
- Buddy-up on travel: Whatís better than some company on the way to work? How about the fact that itís a super green way to commute? Set up a carpool schedule; not only will you spend less time driving, but you can also get some reading or work done on the way! If you use a company car when you go out of town for business, request a hybrid or high-mileage car for your travels.
- Reduce paper use: Get your office to start printing on both sides of paper whenever possible Ė and if you can print on scrap paper, even better! If color printing isnít necessary, then stick to good olí black and white. Ask your office manager to look into chlorine-free paper with a higher percentage of post-consumer recycled content, or even consider buying hemp, bamboo or kenaf paper instead. Are there some old bins and empty boxes lying around? Set up clearly marked recycling areas in your office, so not only paper but also other scraps can be properly discarded.
- Eat right: Eco-friendly office dining doesnít have to be like pulling teeth. Ask your co-workers to donate a few kitchen items like mugs and plates for everyone to use, wash and reuse. Get people craving coffee thatís Fair Trade or organic, and make it a tradition to buy local, organic food for office parties and events. Tired of all the bottled water build-up? Get a filtered water system for fresher, cheaper and greener water anytime!
Green cleaning products, used furniture and remanufactured ink cartridges are other ways to green-up your workspace. Itís an effort that even your busy boss will appreciate, and your co-workers may even learn some new habits to apply at home. An eco-friendly work environment is both a personal and business advantage, so start writing that office memo and spread the word!