How to Go Green at Work: 10 Simple Ideas

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Unplugging appliances and electronics "that glow" and you could save $200 a year. In the United Kingdom, business owners who drive vehicles with combustible engines must pay a "congestion tax" of $20 per day per vehicle. And every ton of paper recycled saves 7, 000 gallons of water, 380 gallons of oil and enough electricity to power the average house for six months.

Make a few simple changes and do your part to go green. Small actions can create big change, especially when it comes to the environment. Here are 10 low-cost ways to lessen your impact on the planet and create a healthier, more eco-friendly office.

Start a recycling program at work. Many people are die-hard recyclers at home, but drop their guard against waste at work. Purchase special recyclable materials containers and make everyone aware of the effort to recycle

Save and recycle your empties. Laser toner and inkjet cartridges may be recycled.

Make it a habit to turn off lights when you are leaving any room for 15 minutes or more. Rely on natural lighting as much as possible.

Bring your lunch to work in reusable containers rather than purchasing carry-out or ordering food to be delivered, both of which create a significant amount of waste in the form of wrappers, cups, implements, bags and boxes. If you do go out for lunch, bicycle or walk instead of driving.

Print smarter. The average U.S office worker goes through 10,000 sheets of copy paper a year. Make it a habit to print on both sides or use the backsides of old documents for faxes or drafts. Print email messages only when it is necessary.

Look for products that help conserve energy, such as longer-life, eco-friendly light bulbs and energy-efficient printers, copiers and faxes. Use power strips that stop idle current. They monitor power consumption and shut off the power when the equipment has sat on but idle for a specific period of time.

Create less waste in the office. Buy products made to last longer or reuse items you already have to keep them out of the landfill. Buy file folders made of 100 percent recycled materials, for example, for $12.99 per box; or buy regular file folders with double-ply tabs that may be reused again and again for $1 more. Purchase 3 x 3 adhesive notes instead of the 4x6 size.

Give computers to a local school, community college or nonprofit agency rather than sending them to a landfill. Donate old cell phones to any of innumerable nonprofits that collect them.

Contact the senders of unwanted newsletters, magazines or catalogs and ask to be removed from their mailing lists.

Keep extra clothes at your place of work. When the temperature falls, put on a another layer instead of asking for more heat.

Tips & Warnings

  • Did you know that by unplugging appliances and electronics "that glow" and you could save $200 a year?
  • Did you know, in the U.K, business owners have to pay a "congestion tax" of $20 per day per vehicle? Unless, of course they are driving electric or hybrid vehicles like Toyota Prius etc.
  • Did you know for every ton of paper that is recycled the following is saved: 7, 000 gallons of water, 380 gallons of oil and enough electricity to power the average house for six months! Global warming, air-pollution, and other environmental issue are here to stay. You may be tired of hearing all the information about "Going Green" but the bottom line is; it needs to start somewhere! Make a few simple changes a month and do your part to Go Green. For more information, go to www.green.nationalgeographic.com/enviroment/going-green.com OR www.gogreenintiative.org.

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