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The Eco Friendly Office: 8 Easy Ways to Make Your Office Greener

Jul 9, 2008
At your home, you may have stopped using incandescent bulbs, you may have a low flow showerhead, you may have added more organic foods to your diet, and recycling may have become an ingrained habit. You are doing your part at home to reduce your carbon footprint and keep our Earth green.

But how many of us are carrying that same concern into the workplace? How many eco-friendly office supplies do you use at work?

Using eco-friendly office supplies can save a business hundreds or thousands of dollars, depending on the size of your company. Here are eight ways to make your office a little greener.

1. Make it easy to recycle. Set up bins for various recyclables that you go through in any given day. You can recycle the paper you print on, your calendars and organizers, even the ink cartridges themselves.

2. Purchase items made from recycled material, whenever possible. You can easily find post-consumer paper and even printers made primarily of recycled plastic.

3. Opt for refurbished office equipment instead of always buying new. Expect savings of 20 to 30 percent on refurbished office equipment and even more if you buy it used. Most refurbished items still have a valid manufacturer's warranty. Make sure to read the fine print before you finalize your purchase.

4. Waste not. Get into the eco-friendly office mindset by reducing your waste. Print and write on both sides of the paper. Print documents only when it's necessary to do so. Share PDF files, for example, instead of printing each document. Use email and bulletin boards to further reduce the amount of paper used for office memos. Scrap paper should be collected for recycling and not thrown away. And, whenever possible, reuse envelopes, boxes and packing materials.

5. Turn off your computer when you are done for the day. The few seconds it takes to boot up in the morning is well worth the electricity you will save by turning it off. You may be surprised to know that many office machines are continuing to draw power from their source, even when they are switched off. You can save energy by putting the office equipment on a power strip, so you can entirely switch off the electricity to the machines.

6. When you replace office supplies, do so with an eye toward energy usage. Switch a CRT monitor, for example, to an energy-saving LCD flat screen monitor. You'll save on energy costs in the long run.

7. Clean green. Don't forget the cleaning products used in your office. You can "green" them too by using only non-toxic, biodegradable, natural cleaners. Depending on the size of your company, you might be doing the earth a favor to do away with Styrofoam or paper cups. Have employees bring their own glassware for coffee or water. For large office gatherings when it's not practical to ask everyone to bring their own place setting, consider compostable plates, bowls, cups, and cutlery. More and more office supplies stores are beginning to carry such items.

8. Form a Green Team. If your business is large enough to merit it, form a "green" committee to meet on a regular basis and brainstorm new ways to fill your workplace with eco-friendly office supplies.

Protecting the environment is important enough to be carried on anywhere we are, throughout our entire day, at work as well as at home.
About the Author
Jamie Jefferson writes for Momscape.com and Office-Supply-Coupons.com, where you can find coupons and savings from eco-friendly office suppliers as well as discounts on green office supplies.
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