To help celebrate Earth Day, here are 25 ideas for going green at work from FlexJobs, a telecommuting and flexible job site that has long promoted going green in its business practices.
Take a look at these tips and then consider going green whenever possible, every day. It’s easier than you might think to make every day Earth day.
- Reduce or eliminate your paper usage. Print on both sides of paper. Recycle every scrap that you might otherwise throw away.
- Increase other recycling efforts with glass, plastic, and aluminum. If your garbage collection company limits what you can recycle, find a recycling organization in your area to give your other less common recyclables.
- Use CFL or LED light bulbs and opt for natural light when possible. Artificial lighting accounts for 44 percent of the electricity use in office buildings, according to the Sierra Club.
- Purchase or grow office plants to offset VOCs and CO2 emissions.
- Turn off all electrical appliances (computers, lights, etc.) when not in use.
- Use ceiling fans and natural ventilation instead of air conditioning.
- Use recycled paper and toner cartridges when printing is necessary.
- Keep used coffee grounds and later use them to “feed” your indoor and outdoor plants. They add nutrients to the soil. They’re also a great addition to a compost pile.
- Donate old laptops, printers, and other office equipment, along with books and manuals, to local workforce development groups and charity organizations.
- Cut used paper into fourths and use the blank sides for phone messages, reminders, and lists, rather than tossing it in the trash.
- Change the way you commute to work: carpool, bike, or walk (if possible) rather than driving your car all by yourself.
- Switch to non-toxic cleaning products.
- Switch to recycled office supplies whenever possible like high post-consumer recycled content (PCR) paper.
- Plug all of your electronics into power strips which you can easily turn off at the end of the day.
- Recycle empty ink and toner cartridges. Office supply companies like Staples and Office Depot will take your old cartridges and give cash incentives for recycling them.
- Turn off the lights when you leave a conference room or any other shared space. Make it a habit to be the last person out and flick the switch.
- Stop it with the bottled water, already. Use a reusable water bottle or bring a regular old glass to work and fill up at the water cooler.
- Bring your lunch to work in reusable containers rather than plastic bags or aluminum foil. Don’t forget regular silverware and reusable napkins.
- Reuse old file folders. If you flip them inside out, you’ve got a fresh folder and tab to use, rather than trashing them for new ones.
- Make it a point to be taken off paper mailing lists from conferences, trade publications, etc. Give them a call or send them an email and ask to be removed from their mailings. If you still want to hear from them, opt for electronic delivery instead.
- Layer your clothing instead of turning the heat up in your office.
- Put your computer to sleep when you walk away during the day. Most keyboards have a button that allows users to quickly put the computer to sleep. It’s a cinch to turn off and on, and it’ll help conserve energy.
- Instead of traveling for meetings, whenever possible try to use video or web conferencing services instead. Bonus: This is green for the environment AND your budget.
- Save and reuse packaging materials rather than tossing them.
- Opt for online media rather than paper version, including magazines, newspapers, trade journals, and other publications.