May Green Guide
presented by Missouri Organic
Six tips for going green at work
Going green can seem overwhelming but it doesn’t have to feel that way! This month’s green tip details ways to go green at the office. From energy-saving settings on your computer to printing on both sides of office paper, learn some simple tricks to keep green at work.
- More Work, Less Energy: Optimizing the energy settings for computers and other devices can be more than a modest energy saver. Set computers to energy-saving settings and make sure to shut them down when you leave for the day. By plugging hardware into a power strip with an on/off switch, the whole desktop setup can be turned off at once (make sure to power down inkjet printers before killing the power — they need to seal ink cartridges). Printers, scanners, and other peripherals that are only used occasionally can be unplugged until they’re needed. And of course, turn off lights in spaces that are unoccupied.
- Digitize: The more you do online, the less you need paper. Keep files on computers instead of in file cabinets (this also makes it easier to make offsite backup copies or take them with you when you move to a new office). Review documents on screen rather than printing them out. Send emails instead of paper letters.
- Don’t Be a Paper Pusher: When buying printer paper, look for recycled paper with a high percentage of post-consumer content and the minimum of chlorine bleaching. Even recycled paper gobbles up a great deal of energy, water, and chemical resources in its processing. When using the real paper, print on both sides of the page as appropriate and use misprints as notepaper. Try to choose printers and photocopiers that do double-sided printing. If your office ships packages, reuse boxes and use shredded waste paper as packing material.
- Greening the Commute: American workers spend 3.7 billion hours and 23 billion gallons of gas commuting each year. We can ease some of this strain by carpooling, taking public transit, biking, walking, or through a creative combination of those options. If there’s no good way to phase out your car, consider getting a hybrid, electric vehicle, motorcycle or scooter.
- Green Sleeves: You might be amazed how sharp work clothes from thrift stores can look. If you buy new, get clothes made with organic or recycled fibers. Avoid clothes that need to be dry cleaned or find a local “green” dry cleaner.
- Work From Home: Instant messaging, video conferencing and other innovative workflow tools make effective telecommuting a reality. If you can telecommute, hold phone conferences, take online classes, or otherwise work from home. It’ll save you the time you would have spent on the trip as well as sparing the air. Telecommuting works for 44 million Americans.