Author: Lara Hill
The present state of the environment has encouraged us to think of ecological awareness not as some farfetched concept, but as a practical consideration; an investment in the short-term future. This refreshing new attitude has become increasingly apparent in the workplace, as more offices adopt green practices for their employees to follow. Saving the world is no longer just for the government and special interest organizations – every little bit helps, and here are a few of the things you can do at work to contribute to this most worthy of causes.
Turn the lights off. Leaving the lights on in a room or using more light than necessary causes a substantial drain on electric resources, and contrary to popular belief, actually shortens the life of a light bulb. Switch lights off when you leave, and try to keep the lighting only to what you really need.
Unplug stuff. Vampire appliances and equipment siphon energy from power sockets even when they are supposed to be switched off, as many of these objects actually enter a low-energy standby mode for quick activation. The only way to stop the drain is to unplug them when they are not in use.
Print conservatively. Offices blaze through piles and piles of paper every year, wasted on print drafts, e-mail file copies and other excessive paper practices. Try to use both sides when printing documents. Alternately, collect used printouts as scratch and use the clean sides for drafts or faxes, or purchase recycled paper products for usage when printing less important things.
Soft copies only please. There are plenty of documents, like manuals and memos, that can just as easily be disseminated online and read on one’s computer screen. Not only can you instantly distribute copies of these documents to everyone with a single mouse click, you’ll be saving reams upon reams of paper that would have been spent printing a copy out for everyone who needed it.
Bring reusable containers to work. A large chunk of office waste comes from all of the disposable bottles and cups that get tossed away after they are emptied or used up. Instead, consider bringing your own sturdy, reusable water bottles and coffee mugs.
Fill the office with plants. Recent studies have shown that various indoor plants are extremely effective at reducing carbon monoxide, benzene and other air pollutants, absorbing them and expelling vital oxygen in return.
Make sound purchases. When buying supplies for the office, purchase refillable items over those that must be discarded after they are depleted. Avoid buying objects that are overpackaged, wrapped and boxed much more than necessary. Lastly, make an effort to purchase local goods, to cut down on the energy and pollution associated with the transport of these items.
Perform routine maintenance. An unplugged leak or a malfunctioning heater system can lead to a lot of unnecessary wasted water and energy, which reflects itself eventually in the utilities bill. Regular repairs not only conserve the earth’s resources, but also keep the costs of these amenities relatively low.
Recycle. Returning waste materials to be reprocessed and placed back into circulation is infinitely better than just tossing them away to collect in a landfill somewhere. Make diligent use of the recycle bins, and segregate the types of garbage accordingly to avoid rendering them unusable by the recycling centers.
Close the loop. Recycling products only becomes viable if people purchase the goods made from recycling them. As much as possible, patronize supplies that are composed of recycled substances rather than buying items of virgin material.
About the Author
Lara Hill advocates environmentally responsible practices in the workplace and beyond. Check out this wonderful collection of energy conservation signs which are perfect for the workplace.