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Going Green at the Office

15 Simple Ways to Make Your Office A Shade Greener (and Save It Some Green by the End of Today)

  1. Avoid misprints: Don’t print or photocopy e-mails, forms, and other documents unless absolutely necessary. Instead, publish documents electronically, post one copy at a central bulletin board, or distribute them as attachments via e-mail (copy the text into the body of the e-mail if the recipient cannot receive attachments). Eliminate fax cover sheets by using Post-it style fax labels.
  2. Don’t preach to the masses: Print only as many copies as you really need. With meeting handouts, ask staff members to share.
  3. Turn over a new leaf: Use double-sided printing and copying. Many printers and photocopiers allow you to set double-sided or “duplex” printing as a default.
  4. Cheat your sheets: Layout your publication with as little white space as possible: Reduce margin widths and font sizes, and use single-spacing if possible.
  5. Be a perfectionist: Utilize the spell check and print preview functions of your word processing program before printing any document.
  6. Utilize your virtual red pen: Most word processing programs include a tool to add tracked comments to pages on your computer. When preparing documents that will require multiple versions, get accustomed to exchanging “soft drafts” with your comments embedded, rather than editing hard copies by hand.
  7. Trap the scrap: Use the backsides of old photocopies, printed sheets, and outdated letterhead for notes and scratch paper. Pages can be used in full sheets, or cut in half or quarters. Stack the pages in labeled trays, or staple them into notepads. Store them near printers and photocopiers, along with a stock of used envelopes that can be used to route internal communications.
  8. Exercise your right to an empty mailbox: Remove your name and company from junk mail lists by following the advice and simple steps outlined at the Encourage employees to follow the same process to reduce their junk mail at home.
  9. Let the sunshine in. Use only as much lighting as you actually need, and utilize daylight when possible.
  10. Promote mood lighting: Keep the lights off in rooms that are used infrequently, such as conference rooms and low-traffic bathrooms.
  11. Light only your inner flame: Utilize the power save feature on computers and photocopiers throughout the day.
  12. Respect curfew: Lights out!: Turn off computers and other office equipment at the end of the day, and request that the person last to leave the office at night checks to make sure all lights and office equipment have been turned off.
  13. Dishes aren’t like excuses: You can use the same ones over and over again: Eliminate the use of paper, plastic, and Styrofoam dishware. Provide staff with reusable coffee mugs and other dishware. If you have a dishwasher, don’t run it until it is completely full.
  14. Make it as easy as falling off a log: Post clear instructions as to what is recyclable on or near recycling and compost bins. Place containers in highly trafficked, easy-to-access locations.
  15. Become an environmental evangelist: Encourage staff members to join the recycling and reuse effort. Post fun signs around the office and highlight conservation in your employee handbook. Invite staff members to bring to work items they can’t recycle easily from homes such as cell phones, batteries, and ink cartridges. Recognize employees who exemplify the best environmental practices. Source: