Saturday, August 9, 2008

Tips for a greener workplace

Tips for a greener workplace
How to adopt environmentally sound practices at work
We are becoming increasingly eco aware, making simple changes in our everyday lives to create a greener lifestyle. But should these changes be made at home only? Let’s not forget that we sometimes spend less time at home and more time somewhere else- the workplace. We should be thinking of what actions we can take to save energy and resources at work, and expand our green horizons.With that goal in mind, let’s consider the following when adopting work policies:

Paper: We can purchase paper with postconsumer recycled content and the minimum of chlorine bleaching. To reduce paper waste, we can also print double sides of each page, and use misprints to make notes. Instead of giving employees copies of company manuals or notices, we could try to post all material online or use a company notice board.

Lighting and heating: We should switch lights off when we’re not in the room. According to research, energy use for lighting could be reduced by up to 30% by switching lights off in unoccupied areas in the workplace. We can also install low-energy light bulbs, which last up to 10 times longer than the traditional kind. In the winter months, we should heat only those areas in use. For hot days, let’s try opening the windows rather than turning on the air conditioning.
Computers and other electronics: We can adjust the energy saving settings on the computer, and remember that “standby” settings will continue to draw power even when not in use. Printers and other peripherals that are only used occasionally can be unplugged until they’re needed, and the computer can be shut down during lunch hour. If we can, let’s request a laptop, as they consume around 85% less energy than desktops even when plugged in. We should also unplug all electronics after hours, since they use energy while they're plugged in, even when switched off.
Bathrooms: We can have our bathrooms stocked with postconsumer recycled tissue products, use cloth towels instead of paper towels, and install faucet aerators and low-flow toilets.
Food: Bringing lunch to work in reusable containers is healthier and greener, and avoids all the packaging waste resulting from deliveries. We can switch to Fair Trade and organic coffee and tea, and use our own mugs, dishes, and utensils when eating in the workplace.
Recycling and greener materials: Not only paper, but also cans, ink cartridges, and glass should all be recycled. We can place recycling bins in accessible areas and provide clear information about which materials can be recycled. We can try using refillable pens and markers rather than disposable ones, and donate old computers.
Transportation: There are a number of steps we can take to reduce carbon emissions resulting from work-related travel. We could carpool, take public transport, bike, or walk to work, and hold video or phone conferences whenever possible to avoid traveling to meetings. If we buy in bulk and choose local products, we will also be helping to reduce transport costs.
These are just some possible ways of improving our green lifestyle so that it continues into the workplace. For these small changes to make a great difference, however, it is important to share and invite suggestions from colleagues for cutting down waste and energy consumption. And considering that eco alternatives are also positive from a business standpoint, since a greener workplace saves money and creates a better company image, sustainability initiatives at work are appealing in more ways than one. - Eco Articles - Tips for a greener workplace

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