Earth Day Tip #16: Green at Work

Seeing as a majority of us spend a huge amount of time at the workplace (and hopefully not begrudgingly), it only makes sense to bring the green to work with us while we’re making the green.

Here are some easy and simple ideas to help you create a low-impact workplace:

  • Optimize your energy – Make sure that your computer is set to an energy-saving mode. Shut down your computer every evening before you leave work as the standby mode will still require power. Always shut off the lights in your office and conference rooms when you’re not using them.
  • Stop unnecessary printing – Print only the things you absolutely need to. In this digital age, there is hardly anything that you should need to print. You can store files on your computer (remember to back it up to an external hard drive) instead of file cabinets. You save not only trees, but office space and file retrieval time, especially when you move offices. Use RECYCLED PAPER if and when you do print and remember to print double-sided.
  • Work from home – Eliminate the commute and you’re sparing the air from all the pollutants your car emits and the gas required to make the trip to work. An added bonus, you can work in your pajamas! If working from home isn’t an option for you, look into carpooling.
  • Green dry-cleaning – As much as I resisted having to dress professionally at work (the extra money spent and time lost required shopping for clothes that I wouldn’t normally wear), I would still wind up with “fancy adult” clothes that require more attention than a quick toss into the wash. Traditional dry cleaners use a whole lot of toxic chemicals, which has been linked to groundwater pollution, cancer and reproductive disorders, in their cleaning process. For clothes that require dry-cleaning, look for green cleaners in your neighborhood that offer a special, environmentally-friendly option called “wet-cleaning”. Green Apple Cleaners is a good one in NYC and New Jersey that picks up and delivers to your office for free.
  • RECYCLE! – If your company doesn’t already have a recycling program in place, consider finding a new job because your company is already behind the times. Really. OR, if you prefer to keep your job, start a recycling program at your company.
  • Bring your reusables – I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again. Stop using disposables! Bring in your own coffee mug, use your reusable water bottle, and keep a set of your own utensils at the office to help eliminate a huge amount of waste.

I did all these things while I was working at McKinsey and I always got compliments from people for being an “inspiration.” Plus, people thought I was really fancy because I had a chic mug and I was always using china when I ate. =)

What other great green workplace tips can you share with us?

© Connie Hum 2009

1 Comment

  • Julie says:

    Or – you can be like me and live close enough to walk to work. No need for cars, or pooling or anything, and I share heating and electricity over 4 people in my office when I get there!

    Speaking of which – I’m late! Bye…!

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