If there is one place that exemplifies waste, it is in a typical office. I have worked in a variety of lines of business in many states and was always astounded at how much waste actually occurs in the business office. In the early days, trying to coordinate even a recycling program was literally like pulling-teeth! Thankfully, now there are a number of ways that we can have a green office and actually save the company some money!

Speaking of recycling, that’s the very first consideration. A bin for plastic and metal, paper and the always irritating plastic bags. The next thing you have to do is look around the office to examine the areas of waste. Paper is always on the top of my list. We print and throw away more paper in most businesses than we need to. Office supply stores are now featuring a variety of paper products that are made from a larger percentage of recycled materials. Examining that printer (or printers) is another key focus. Making sure the printer you use as well as all of the other electrical products are Energy Star rated. This will reduce the amount of electricity, which saves money.

Talking with the individual or department that actually does the purchasing for the company to have them focus on buying and replacing business products with environmentally friendly products. Developing a green office involves all of the decision makers and if they see that it will help the bottom line, they will be more apt to make those earth friendly choices.

Printer cartridges are pricey. Coordinating a cartridge recycling program with the local office supply store that gives credit for the cartridges will offer savings for other items that you purchase as well. Another option is to use refillable cartridges. The price is a lot less and you can reuse the cartridges to save all around.

Encouraging your company to use fluorescent bulbs for the lighting can save quite a bit of energy. Energy Star rated bulbs can save up to 75% of the electricity used. This may be a slower process to switch the bulbs out as they are needed, but the savings will be reflected in the electric bill. Ensure that any window shades are open during the day. Using daylight instead of overhead lighting saves on the electric bill as well. Another way to save is to make sure that you turn off any power strips that are not in use. Even equipment that is turned off will draw power if the power strip is on.

While recycling was mentioned above, another way to recycle is to donate any unwanted items to a local shelter. It is a tax write-off for the company, but more than that: it ensures that it will be reused and not just thrown away.

Having a green office is not really that difficult in today’s world. It does, however, take a team effort and you must be able to show savings for everyone to join the bandwagon.


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