Okay, you get it. Taking public transportation and carpooling to work is great for the environment. But, there are so many other ways to be green at the office as well. In honor of Earth Month (the lovely month of April), we're going provide some easy ways to be green at the office besides taking public transportation and carpooling. And since we like to keep you in suspense, we’re going to break up this highly-informative piece into two separate posts. So, without further ado, here are the first 5:
1. Turn off and unplug your computer when you leave for the day.
This might seem like a no brainer, but so many people don’t turn off their commuters when they head home. While shutting it down completely or putting it in hibernation mode helps save power, it’s also important to unplug everything at the end of the day, because even when your computer’s off, it still drains energy. According to Office Depot, “Up to 75% of the electricity used to power office equipment may be consumed while the products are turned off.”
2. Use your own coffee mug.
Disposable coffee cups, especially those old school Styrofoam ones, are terrible for the environment. According to the EPA : “Each year Americans throw away 25,000,000,000 Styrofoam cups. Even 500 years from now, the foam coffee cup you used this morning will be sitting in a landfill.” Using a washable, reusable mug for your morning caffeine fix is a great way to go green.
3. Try to print as little as possible, and if you do have to print, use recycled paper and double-sided copies.
Printing at the office is a major source of pollution. In fact, on average each year 4 billion trees are chopped down to make paper products. 4 billion! And, while using recycled paper can help reduce your company’s waste and even save some trees, nothing beats nixing printing all together whenever possible. But, if you absolutely must print stuff, try to use recycled paper and double-sided copies.
4. Recycle, recycle, recycle, and then…recycle some more!
Offices can really help Mother Earth by recycling everything they can. This includes paper, soda cans, cardboard boxes and even your e-waste. Make it easy for employees to recycle by placing recycling bins around the office.
And don’t forget to recycle your e-waste. Tossing old electronics, like office printers and computers into the trash can cause toxic chemicals to seep into the groundwater. That’s pretty gross. But, the good news is, lots of stores, like Best Buy and Home Depot will take your old electronics and recycle them for you.
5. Lighten up.
There are tons of things you can do to “greenify” your office lighting. For starters, turn off all lights and desk lamps when your shift is over. That will be a huge help. If your office lends itself to allowing natural light in, open those blinds and take advantage of Mr. Sun whenever possible.
If your company has a few bucks to spare, consider installing motion-activated lights. That way, room lights will only come on when they're actually being used. And of course, you can also switch out incandescent light bulbs for those nifty compact fluorescent bulbs as they “use 75% less energy and last about 10 times longer.”