It's Earth Day! Tips for greening up your office

Today, April 22, 2010, is the 40th anniversary of Earth Day. The idea of devoting a special day to honor the planet began as a grassroots movement in the '60s and became an official U.S. observance in 1970.

For many of us, every day is Earth Day – an opportunity to reduce, recycle and reuse to lessen our impact on the planet. What’s more, the workplace can be just as much a setting for greater awareness and action as our homes, schools and communities.

To help turn your workplace into an eco-friendly oasis, let’s revisit some ideas we covered in a previous post:

Buy plants. Plants not only brighten up the workspace, but also improve the quality of the air in your building. Talk to your local nursery about which indoor plants would work best in your office.

Only print when necessary. Paper is one of the most wasted items in the workplace. When you want to print something, ask yourself if it is absolutely necessary to have a hard copy.

Print with eco-friendly ink. Soy-based toners offer an environmentally friendly alternative to the petroleum-based options. Using soy-based ink also increases the recyclability of paper, so that when you have to print, you know you’re doing it in the ‘greenest’ way possible.

Purchase recycled office supplies and products. From printer paper to the federal and state labor law posters on your walls, do your research and find the best recycled products on the market.

Consider using electronic forms. Electronic forms allow you to print out the documents you need, only when you need them. No more wasted stacks of unused forms the next time labor laws change.

Turn it off. Shutting off the lights when you leave a room is a simple way to make a positive impact on your energy costs. Take it a step further by shutting down your computer and switching appliances off when you leave the office at the end of the day.

Buy reusable utensils. Instead of going through boxes and boxes of plastic utensils every month, ask employees to bring their own from home or invest in a set of inexpensive silverware for the office. Switching to the real thing will not only reduce waste, but will also save you money.

Have any more ideas for going green at work? Leave a comment and let us know.

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