Thursday, April 3, 2008
This Week's Green Tips...
photo by tricia chatterton
6 Ways to Go Green at Work
I'm not going to get all kinds of granola on you and start dying my hair with henna, use that crystal rock for my pits (so does NOT work, by the way), and live in the woods. But, I am going to make an effort to evolve into my greenness- as we all should. Here's this week's tips to break you into your new green lifestyle.
1. Be bright about light
Artificial lighting accounts for 44 percent of the electricity use in office buildings. Turn your lights out if you're not using them and make it a policy to buy Energy Star-rated light bulbs and fixtures, which use at least two-thirds less energy than regular lighting, and install timers or motion sensors that automatically shut off lights when they're not needed.
2. Maximize computer efficiency
Computers in the business sector unnecessarily waste $1 billion worth of electricity a year.
Turn off your computer when you're not using it—and the power strip it's plugged into—when you leave for the day. Otherwise, you're still burning energy. (Check with your IT department to make sure the computer doesn't need to be on to run backups or other maintenance.) During the day, setting your computer to go to sleep automatically during short breaks can cut energy use by 70 percent. Remember, screen savers don't save energy. And make sure you recycle old computers/electronic equipment.
3. Print smarter
The average U.S. office worker goes through 10,000 sheets of copy paper a year.
Try to print on both sides or use the back side of old documents for faxes, scrap paper, or drafts. Avoid color printing and print in draft mode when possible.Make it a policy to buy chlorine-free paper with a higher percentage of post-consumer recycled content. Also consider switching to a lighter stock of paper or alternatives made from bamboo, hemp, organic cotton, or kenaf. Recycle toner and ink cartridges and buy remanufactured ones. According to Office Depot, each remanufactured toner cartridge "keeps approximately 2.5 pounds of metal and plastic out of landfills...and conserves about a half gallon of oil."
4. Go paperless. Make it a habit to think before you print: could this be read or stored online instead? When you receive unwanted catalogs, newsletters, magazines, or junk mail, request to be removed from the mailing list before you recycle the item. Make it a policy to post employee manuals and similar materials online, rather than distribute print copies. They're easier to update that way too.
5. Watch what (and how) you eat. Bring your own mug and dishware for those meals you eat at the office.
Institute a policy to provide reusable dishes, silverware, and glasses. Switch to Fair Trade and organic coffee and tea, and buy as much organic and local food as possible for parties and other events. Provide filtered drinking water to reduce bottled-water waste.
6. Create a healthy office environment. Use nontoxic cleaning products. Brighten up your cubicle with plants, which absorb indoor pollution. Suggest to management that they should make it a policy to buy furniture, carpeting, and paint that are free of volatile organic compounds (VOCs) and won't off-gas toxic chemicals.