To many of us, our office is like our second home, with the average working professional in the U.S. spending upwards of 44 hours or more a week at work. Since we spend so much time at work, it’s important to make the space our own not only by keeping it clean and organized, but also a place that sparks creativity and is a source of inspiration when we need it most during the 9 to 5 grind. For the eco-concious professional, that means adding your touch of green to your office as well.
We always say that making even the slightest changes in our day-to-day routine can create big results in the long run. So even if we don’t want to be the office superhero who preaches about recycling to our co-workers (see Dwight Schrute’s “Recyclopse” character from NBC’s The Office) there are lots of easy little things we can do in our own space to make effective change.
We’ve touched upon this topic before, but with so many different options on ways to go eco-friendly, we wanted to highlight a few more of our favorites that are easy and effective.
1) Send What You Can Electronically and Don’t Print Unless You Have To. We live in the age of technology where there are numerous different platforms to send information. Email documents instead of printing and use file sharing programs like Dropbox for larger files. Before you print anything out take a second to think if you really need to and if you can email instead. Also, transfer all bill payments and magazine subscriptions online as well to further cut down on paper consumption.
2) Drink your coffee out of a reusable mug. According to CarbonRally.com, Americans drink more than 100 billion cups every year, 14.4 of which are bought in disposable paper cups. A much more eco-friendly option is to bring a reusable coffee mug to work and to your favorite coffee shop. Major coffee chains like Starbucks and Dunkin’ Donuts sell reusable mugs that they’ll fill up for you right in-store. Same with water, instead of water bottles see if your supervisor or manager will look into getting a water cooler and some reusable glasses for the kitchen to cut down on waste.
3) Turn Your Computer Off Every Day Before Leaving Work. It’s a simple thing to do that will help save energy and also help your computer to function better. To take it a step further, you can also unplug any electronics and appliances when they aren’t in use to prevent “vampire voltage”, or energy that still gets used when the product is turned off or just plugged in.
4) Discover alternative business card options. Where do business cards even go once we pass them out at trade shows and networking events? Once we type them into our address books we usually throw them away or store them in a Rolodex that doesn’t get used. Luckily there’s an app for that, numerous actually! These iPhone applications let you exchange contact information instead of exchanging paper business cards that go to waste. Or, just ask for their Twitter handle, you’re more likely to reconnect that way anyway.
5) Recycle unwanted reusable items to the community. We all know how easily our offices can get cluttered with “stuff” and have to do a little spring cleaning every now and then. For anything reusable that you want to get rid of like old furniture, kitchen utensils or office supplies you don’t need, look into donating them to a local charity or non-profit that can use them.
6) Commute with a co-worker and cut down on out of office meetings, when possible. For any out of office occasions with co-workers, take as few cars as possible and carpool with a friend to and from work when you can. Re-think out of office meetings and see if the meeting can be done via Skype or video conferencing. With all of the free resources we have available to us, why not use it to cut down on carbon emissions we’d be using traveling to these meetings, while also cutting down on costs!
7) Use Green Office Supplies Whenever Possible. A lot of major retail chains are hoping on board the green trend and offering lines of eco-friendly office supplies. Staples and Office Depot, for example, offer a wide variety of everything from recycled paper and notebooks, to cleaning supplies and kitchen utensils. We also love supplies from O’bon and See Jane Work for something a little more stylish and unique.
These are a few of our favorite ways to go green at work, did we miss any? Let us know ways that you have helped to make your office more eco-friendly below.