A greener place to work

green office

Image via Flickr

We’ve already spent time discussing how to make your home an eco-friendlier place to live, but what about the workplace? You may already have this covered if you work from home, but if not, keeping the workplace green is more significant than you might think.

The Bureau of Labor Statistics has found that the average American ages 25 to 54 spends 8 hours and 48 minutes working or doing work-related activities, which is more than any other activity—sorry sleep, you’re a close second with 7 hours and 36 minutes. Maintaining environmental responsibility is a full-time job, meaning you can’t recycle meticulously at home and expect it to negate wastefulness at the office.

This post will take a look at a handful of ways to be eco-friendly at work, both on an individual basis and as an organization.

Recycle shredded paper

Most offices support the recycling of regular paper, but what about the shredded stuff? Shredded paper is recyclable, too, but shredding paper reduces the length of the paper’s fiber, making them less desirable as a recyclable commodity. Some communities may support regular recycling pickup for shredded paper, but in most cases, you’ll need to find a special recycler who accepts shredded paper. Earth911 has a nice tool for finding such a recycler.

Buy a reusable coffee cup

A staggering amount of Styrofoam coffee cups are thrown away in the U.S. every year: 25 billion. It goes without saying that Styrofoam is not eco-friendly and should be avoided whenever possible. The easy fix to this is buying a reusable coffee cup, and if you can, buy one that’s sustainably produced.

Refill printer cartridges

Printer cartridges fall under the dubious distinction of e-waste, which has a well-documented history of being environmentally unfriendly. Old printer cartridges can be easily reused or recycled, as they may be refilled with new ink or sent to a recycling facility that specializes in e-waste.

Carpool to work

The part of the workday that generates the most carbon emissions often doesn’t occur between 9 and 5—it’s the commute. Finding a carpool buddy helps alleviate this problem, and to take it a step further, working from home is an even better alternative. If your employer allows you to work from home one day a week, you’ll reduce the energy required to power not just your car, but all the lighting and electronic devices used at the office.

It’s time we start looking at workplace sustainability as a collective responsibility, not just that of company policymakers and upper management. If you feel as if your office is wasting resources, introduce an eco-friendly solution to your co-workers and make the office a littler greener.

Leave us a comment with any eco-workplace ideas implemented at your workplace.

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