Being earth friendly at work makes sense in all sorts of ways. First and foremost, you help keep the planet healthy, and that’s good for everyone. Beyond that, when you go green with the office ideas described below, you save money. Buying green office supplies with the strategies below can make your life easier as well because you won’t have to re-order as often. That makes it a win-win-win. So let’s take a look at several eco-friendly office ideas that are easy to implement and have big payoffs for the environment and your company.
1. Buy green products
These days, there are many options when it comes to green office supplies. One popular item for environmentally conscious companies is recycled copier paper. That’s because the decision to switch to recycled paper can have a big impact since so much paper is typically used. When you shop for recycled paper, here’s what to look for:
- Post-consumer content of at least 30%.
- FSC Certification – the Forest Stewardship Council certifies forest products that use fibers harvested in a responsible manner.
- Bleaching levels – look for paper that’s Processed Chlorine Free (PCF) or Totally Chlorine Free (TCF). Both are better for the environment.
Using filtered water instead of bottled water is one of the top eco-friendly office ideas. According to Recycle Across America, Americans throw away 2.5 million plastic water bottles every hour. Switching to filtered water not only reduces the amount of plastic your company sends to the landfill but also it’s often less expensive.
2. Consolidate orders
Another eco-friendly office idea commonly adopted by companies is to consolidate office supply orders. First off, it helps reduce carbon emissions because your supplier doesn’t have to make multiple trips. When you order in bulk it also reduces the amount of paper and plastic packaging materials. Best of all, when you order in bulk, your company saves money and you won’t have to re-order as often. If you’re not sure which office items to start purchasing in bulk, try supplies for the break room and copier paper. Both are used regularly and don’t go bad.
3. Power down
You’re not using your office copier, computers, microwave, coffee pot and other energy-draining devices at 4am. So there’s no reason to keep them running at full power. The “go green” office idea would be to plug these items into power strips that can be conveniently switched off at the end of the work day. Or, if you don’t want to turn your workstation off completely, put it in sleep mode. That still saves energy and is easy to re-start first thing in the morning.
4. Recycle and reuse
If you haven’t already, it’s time to implement a recycling program at work. Start with the break room. Put bins in the common area for recycling cans, paper and bottles and label them as such. Toner cartridges are another popular item to recycle. Many office supply stores (including Quill.com) make it easy to return your used cartridges and offer a reduced price on toner when you participate.
Other eco-friendly office ideas include reusing office envelopes and investing in rechargeable batteries and battery chargers for digital cameras, flashlights and other small devices. Rechargeable batteries save you money in the long run. Plus, they reduce the amount of used batteries in landfills.
5. Print smart…if at all
Before you send that document to the printer, ask yourself, “Is this really needed?” Would a pdf or an email attachment work just as well? Large meetings can be an especially big drain on your copier paper supply. Rather than printing copies for everyone, ask attendees to print a hard copy and bring it to the meeting if they want one. Everyone else can view the documents on their laptops or tablets. And don’t forget to set your copier to print on both sides. It saves trees and
6. Turn off lights
It seems so simple. But turning off the lights when no one is in a room can be a big energy saver. For larger buildings, you may want to install sensor switches. The sensors turn off the lights automatically after a set period of inactivity in the room. For the ultimate green solution, open the window blinds and use sunlight instead of fluorescents. Window shades are also a good way to lower temperatures during the summer months and save on cooling bills.
7. Use less energy when you commute
Ever peek at the other autos on your drive into work? Most cars have only one person inside. That’s a big waste of fuel and puts lots of carbon dioxide in the air. A better idea is to bike or walk to work if you live nearby. You’ll save gas, protect the environment…and get in shape! If that’s not an option, try setting up a carpool or taking public transportation. Either one will cut your fuel costs. The best option of all may be telecommuting once a week if your company allows it. If you’re searching for green office supplies, Quill.com has an entire section to help you do your part to save the planet.