There are a lot of ways to be green at work. Some ways require money and time to be green - buying/utilizing double-sided printing printers and copiers; buying/installing florescent light bulbs; or buying/installing solar panels for electrical needs. But workers can still make a big impact by making small changes that, when viewed as a whole, can have a big impact. Here are 10 easy ways for workers to be green at work:
1. Reuse your water bottle
No need to buy new water bottles every time you drink water. Just reuse an existing water bottle and just refill it at work. Most companies have filtered water at work that is health, and tastes just as good as any bottled water.
2. Reuse the silverware
As much as we would like to bring metal silverware to work every day and then bring it home to wash it, we know it's a big burden. So instead, use the “disposable" plastic silverware, but instead of throwing them away, just keep a bin of them, then at the end of the week, take them home and wash them so you can reuse them again. Of course, if you have plenty of metal silverware, you can do this too.
3. Use plates instead of “to-go" containers
Almost every time I eat at my company cafeteria, they ask me if I want the meal “to-go", meaning that if it's to-go, they'll put it in a big disposable container. Instead of getting it in a disposable container, get the meal on a regular plate. This way, the plate will be washed and reused, instead of the container going into the trash.
4. Box up the plastic grocery bags
Every time I look in the company fridge, or see people coming to work, everyone seems to carry their lunch in a plastic grocery bag. More often than not, these bags get thrown into the garbage after they have served their purpose. Sure, it's ideal for users to reuse their own bags every time, but in reality, they all don't. So make it easy to reuse them: create a box and put a sign on it saying “Please Recycle Grocery Bags" so people can place their bags in there, and take them if they need them. Then when the box gets full, bring them to a local grocery store and let them reuse them.
5. Recycle Paper Waste
Make sure there are paper recyclable bins next to the printers, copiers, and fax machines. Then make sure the trash collectors recycle this waste. You'll be amazed at how much paper will quickly fill these bins.
6. Shut down your computer
It seems like a burden, but you'll make a big impact by shutting down your computer for the weekend, or at night time. And in reality, it's not a burden at all - instead of shutting it down (which is ideal), you can actually select “Stand By" or “Hibernate" when shutting down a Windows computer. This will dramatically reduce the amount of power your computer consumes.
7. Use reusable food containers
A lot of us buy food and bring it to work, like yogurt, snacks, etc. Instead of buying single-servings of the food, buy it in bulk or in big containers, and then use reusable containers (like Tupperware, etc. ) to bring to work.
8. Get recyclable containers
If you don't have the funds to supply your own recycling bins, check out www.bottlesandcans.com or call 1-800-RECYCLE - they provide those black recycling bins that you see everywhere. This makes it very easy to recycle cans, bottles, and other recyclable materials.
9. Teleconference when it's possible
Too many times we travel to attend company or client meetings. If it's possible, just make the phone call instead of driving for the meeting. It saves time, saves the company money, and it will certainly make a big difference with less traffic.
10. Reduce your printing
Not all company emails and documents need to be printed. Think twice next time you're about to print that document. You can read it just as easily on your computer screen, plus, you won't have to store it after you print it up, and of course, it will be much easier to find stored as an electronic soft copy. Placing a footer on your emails saying “Think Green - please do not print this email unless necessary" helps remind uses of this idea.
And on that note, communicate these ideas, or your own ideas, to co-workers. The more people that are aware of these easy and convenient ways to be green, the more of an impact we will all make.
Duane Nason enjoys writing on a variety of topics, including parenting, pets, and the environment. You can visit his website at Duane Nason .