How to go green in the office
It has become commonplace to accept that much of what we use is recycled nowadays. Each week when we put out our garbage cans, we also put out our brightly colored bins full of newspapers, bottles and soda cans. Our morning coffee is usually served in a recycled paper cup hugged by a cardboard sleeve made from mostly recycled paper, and more people are taking mass transit to work, trading in their gas guzzling SUVs for more fuel-efficient cars and even biking to work all in the name of the environment.
You do not have to be a hippie or a tree hugger to make small changes to your daily routine that can have a big impact on our environment now and in the future, and it is far easier than you may think to incorporate some green into your life.
Many offices already have recycling programs, which are an easy and useful way to go green. "Employees are already accustomed to recycling at home and doing so at the workplace is a natural extension of their recycling habits, says 'Eco-Luxe' living expert, blogger and media personality Morgan McKean.
Bring your lunch
Jennifer McDonald, co-founder of Eco Women: Protectors of the Planet, draws our attention to an often overlooked part of the corporate workplace - the kitchen - and reminds us that "ordering delivery and take-out for lunch means lots of packing waste afterward. Instead, offer a kitchen where employees can keep their lunches in fridges and heat things up in the microwave. Offer non-disposable options for plates and utensils or encourage people to bring in their own." Not only will your office's habit of ordering out less reduce waste in landfills and make you a green employee, but it will also save you some green if you bring your own bag lunch instead.
More ways to go green at work
Melina Schamroth, author of M.A.D ( Making a Difference) in a Green Way, offers these three suggestions for making your office space a little greener:
- Tone it down - Print in greyscale using draft settings.
- Become two-faced - Print on BOTH sides of the paper.
- Get naked - "Instead of running costly and environmentally harmful air conditioners on high in the summer and then wearing warm clothing inside, wear fewer clothes."
When all else fails to rally your office troops to be more energy aware, then you can try this advice from Lisa Morris, president of Road Concierge Inc.: "Create some office competition and have employees record their 'green progress' and give a prize to the employee who has done the most at the end of the contest."
Your co-workers will be green with envy when you win.