Five Low-Cost Ways to Bring a Little Green to the Workplace

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Recently, many people have been looking for additional ways to help the environment. Unfortunately, one area that often gets overlooked in the workplace. With a little effort and some new office policies, anyone can help to save the environment – even from work! The following suggestions can be applied in any workplace, for little or no cost.

Recycle Whenever Possible

It may sound basic, but most offices produce a lot of waste. Much of this can be easily recycled. Learn about the recycling programs available in your area and plan accordingly.
It is recommended that you evaluate the amount and placement of recycling bins that are present in the office. The more readily available these bins are, the more likely they are to be used. While most people know to recycle paper, plastic, and metal, other common office supplies, like old ink cartridges, can be recycled in some cases.

Make the Switch from Styrofoam Cups

Instead of keeping the office supplied with Styrofoam or paper cups, encourage people to bring their own glass or travel mugs to use instead. This will save money while keeping more trash from ending up in the landfills. If your office will be using a dishwasher to clean the glasses, wait until there is a full load before starting it up.

Choose Environmentally Friendly Paper Supplies

Whenever possible, try to buy paper supplies that are environmentally friendly. Many stores sell products such as 100% recycled paper and envelopes, so make the switch to “go green” if these products fall within your budget. Often, these types of products cost no more to purchase than the standard alternatives.

It is also recommended to print on both sides of the paper whenever possible. If this is not an option, use the reverse side of old printed materials for scrap notes. Once both sides of the paper have been used, it can then be recycled.

Opt for Better Lighting Solutions
One of the easiest things to change at the workplace is the type and use of the building’s lights. Gradually make the switch to energy saving light bulbs as your current ones burn out. When rooms aren’t in use, be sure to switch off the lights to conserve additional energy. If you have a janitorial staff that works in the evening, be sure that they also know about your new lighting policies.

Put an End to Wasted Computer Energy

Computers consume a large amount of energy when they are turned on. This is especially true for the older-style CRT monitors. Instead of using a screen saver (which does little to conserve energy), consider switching off the monitor whenever you plan to be away from the computer for an extended period of time. Before leaving at the end of the workday, fully power down the computer. This will both save energy and extend the life of the machine.

With a few changes to our everyday office routine, anyone can make their workplace a little more environmentally friendly. All it takes is the reminder to reuse what we can, recycle whenever possible, and be conscious of our energy consumption. Making a greener workplace doesn’t have to be expensive, but it can be well worth the effort.

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