It’s that time of year again – pubs are stocked up on green food coloring, Shamrock Shakes flow like water, and Leprechaun is checked out of every video rental store. That’s right; it’s St. Patrick’s Day! You wear green, you drink green, and you party green. How about you start working green? In the spirit of St. Patty’s Day, here are a few things you can do in the office to make a difference every day.
NO MORE PAPER TRAIL
Starting off on a greener path can be as simple as thinking twice before clicking the Print button. Believe it or not, the average U.S. office worker goes through 10,000 sheets of copy paper a year. That’s a lot of paper. Begin by asking yourself, “Do I really need this printed out?” Or “Do I really need to print ten copies for a meeting of only eight people?”
And what about printing out notes, or a document that’s just for your reference? Try to make it a habit to print on both sides of the paper, or use the backside of old documents for faxes, scrap paper, or drafts. Every piece of paper saved is a step in the right direction.
INKING THE DEAL
Saving paper and saving trees isn’t the only way to go green when it comes to printing. Compared to other commonly used precious liquids, printer ink comes close to holding the title “world’s most expensive,” coming in second only to perfume. A gallon of ink will set you back between $3,000 and $5,000; to put it in another way, it would cost over $6 billion to fill an Olympic swimming pool with printer ink. It’s more expensive than gasoline, champagne, and even human blood.
So with the knowledge that printer ink is one of the most expensive liquids in the world (and that the production of ink is a particularly CO2-intensive process), why not give Ecofont (http://www.ecofont.eu) a try. Ecofont places tiny “holes” in letters when printed, invisible to the eye, which can save up to 25% of ink or toner, making Ecofont is not only environmentally friendly, but also cost-friendly. Oh, and did I mention that you can download one of the Ecofonts for free?
SLEEP ON IT
Computers in the business sector waste $1 billion worth of electricity a year. That’s enough money to plant over 160 million oak trees! During the day, try setting your computer to go to sleep automatically during short breaks (say, after five minutes of inactivity). Doing so can cut energy use by up to 70% — and remember, screen savers don’t save energy. If possible, make it a habit to turn off your computer—and the power strip it’s plugged into—when you leave for the day.
According to the Container Recycling Institute, 8 out of 10 plastic water bottles used in the United States become garbage or end up in a landfill. Invest in a reusable water bottle and become part of the solution today.
Are you in one of the millions of single-person vehicles on the road every day? Give carpooling a try. Not only is it better for the environment, but many companies offer incentives to employees who participate in rideshare programs. Not sure if yours does? Ask your HR department!
These are just a few examples of ways to go green, but there are plenty more. Changing your daily habits, however small they may be, can help ensure that air stays clean, trees stand tall, and water runs clear. That is, of course, unless you’re near the Chicago River on St. Patrick’s Day… in which case, green water is actually kind of cool.
Have your own tips? Share them below!