I looked around my desk today and it dawned on me to write about sustainability at work. For those of you who work an office job, there are several ways to take your “green” efforts with you to work.
Carpool (or Work From Home)
When I worked in my company’s corporate office, I was fortunate enough to be able to carpool with my husband every day. He worked about 15 minutes away from my office and our schedules lined up, which was great. The commute is much more fun when you have someone to share it with. (Your carpool partner, though, also has to be someone you’re truly comfortable with, because some mornings, you’ll be tired and not feel like talking!)
When my position transitioned into a work-from-home opportunity, I was glad to be able to further cut my carbon emissions.
Use Double-Sided Printing
If your boss is OK with it, print all documents double-sided. I do this when I assemble lengthy meeting materials. The clients love it because it cuts down on the amount of paper they are receiving, it saves paper (which saves resources and money), and also makes the document lighter. It’s a win-win-win.
Three-ring binders, binding combs, numbered section dividers, plastic report covers, page tab markers, boxes for shipping: these can all be reused. For one particular project, I assembled materials for a mock trial at work using our comb binding machine. After the trial, all participants were required to return the materials for proper destruction. The report covers, section dividers, and combs were free of confidential information and were barely used. I saved what I could and destroyed the confidential material. Now we have 25 sets of covers and combs that can be reused for another project.
Add Some Green to your Email Signature
My email signature has a small line that says “Please consider the environment before printing this email.” If your boss is OK with this, add a similar line to your email signature.
Recycle Old or Broken Electronics
Recycling electronics is very important. Some communities have services that recycle for free or a very small fee. My company’s outdated electronics must be wiped of confidential information, so we periodically take items to our local recycling center and ensure they are properly destroyed. Most recycling centers take printers, cell phones, batteries, fax machines, computer monitors, and much more!
Bringing lunch to work saves money and resources. Individually-packaged to-go food usually comes with an abundance of wrappers, plastic, and packaging. Plus, convenience foods are usually expensive (compared to the cost of packing) and a poor source of balanced nutrition.
Update Your Mailing Information
If it’s OK with your employer, remove your business from junk mail solicitation. Additionally, if you receive mail addressed to people no longer employed with your company, send the mail back and let the sender know of the employee’s status. Cutting down on the amount of wrongly-addressed mail and/or junk mail can considerably simplify your day.
Any other ideas for making your office greener? Share in the comments!