In honor of Earth Day April 22, here are 10 tips for making your office more green.
1. Evaluate your lighting: Your lighting accounts for approximately 44 percent of the electricity used in your office, according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration. Invest in energy efficient light bulbs, utilize natural light as much as possible, and turn lights off when you leave a room.
2. Print less: Reduce the amount of paper you use by printing on both sides of the paper. Recycle toner and ink cartridges and opt to get them refilled, instead of buying new ones when possible.
3. Go digital: Store your documents electronically instead of printing. E-mail your documents instead of sending a hard copy.
4. Get computer smart: Set your computer to sleep after short periods of inactivity. Screen savers do not reduce energy. However, some sleep modes can reduce energy use by approximately 70 percent according to the U.S. Department of Energy. Remember to turn your computer off if it's not in use for more than two hours.
5. Recycle: Place recycle bins in easily accessible locations to encourage recycling. Encourage employees to recycle office items including cell phones, pagers, PDAs, batteries, and computers.
6. Green clean: Traditional cleaning products can emit toxins and pollution into the air that can induce allergies and sickness. Use green cleaning products to ensure healthier, happier employees and less pollution in your office.
7. Embrace plants: Position plants around the office to help absorb indoor air pollution and to help clean the air.
8. Drive less: Carpool, use public transportation, walk, or bike to work. Telecommuting reduces pollution from transportation, oil consumption, and office energy consumption.
9. Ditch disposables: Use your own coffee mugs, cups, plates, and utensils at work, instead of disposables.
10. Buy recycled: Recycled office products, especially paper, are becoming more readily available and are simple ways to help reduce your carbon footprint.