Adopting a green lifestyle at home is a good first step toward living healthier and helping to save the planet, but you can extend your influence even more by going green at work too.
Whether you work in a home office of one, or a corporate complex with thousands of employees, consider these ways to reduce your business’ impact on the environment:
- Start a bring-your-own coffee mug policy for the break room and ditch the foam cups. Your company will reduce waste and save money as well.
- Bring real plants into the office. Fake greenery might be low-maintenance, but the real thing adds beauty and oxygen to your surroundings.
- Reprogram the thermostat. Each degree warmer you leave the thermostat in summer, and each degree cooler you set it in the winter can save 6 to 8 percent in energy costs.
- Look into telecommuting. Every commute not taken saves on money, time and fossil fuel. Plus, studies have found that telecommuting boosts productivity too.
- Switch to fair-trade, shade-grown coffee and a reusable coffee filter for the office coffee pot. Reusable filters reduce waste and shade-grown coffee protects biodiversity in coffee-growing countries.
- Stock your lunchroom with foods provided by local farmers. As many colleges and universities have already discovered, locally grown foods are more appealing and healthful than the processed stuff shipped cross-country.
- Bring back the errand-boy or girl. Rather than having lots of employees running in and out of the office for various reasons throughout the day, designate one person who can handle most or all of the out-of-office tasks in one trip, whether it’s picking up lunch, dropping off mail at the post office, making deliveries, etc.
- Watch the paper and ink. Avoid printing documents that could just as easily be emailed, and print necessary papers on both sides. It also helps to institute a recycling program, and to switch to recycled paper and water-based inks.
- Consider replacing aging desktop computers with laptops instead, which can use up to 70 percent less electricity and generate less heat waste.
- Turn off any equipment that doesn’t need to be on when you’re not in the office, and -- if possible -- unplug them too. Every computer left turned on overnight and every coffee pot left plugged in eats up electricity and costs your company money.