Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Ten Things You Can Do to Make Your Office Greener (continued)

Last week, I listed the first five of the ten ideas from staff to reduce our impact on the environment and help make the workplace a bit greener. This week, I present to you the final five, thus rounding out our list of ten ideas. And, as a bonus, I have added a special tip for anyone traveling to a destination in California. The bonus tip (with link) is included at the end so, without further ado, on with the list…

#6. Don’t print emails unless absolutely necessary. How many times do you print an email, only to throw it out a short time later? More and more people are asking readers of their emails to “think about the environment before printing”. Join the thinking crowd and consider whether or not you really need that email in hard copy form.

#7. Use electronic documents whenever possible. This is not just an extension of number 6. Nearly any document that needs to be reviewed or edited can be sent electronically or shared over a network, so why not save your paper and ink just for those jobs where it is absolutely necessary to have a hard copy?

#8. If you do need to print a document, print on both sides of the paper. Many software programs are capable of printing documents double-sided. Check your printer to see if it can do this – more modern printers are able to do two-sided printing, especially office models.

#9. Recycle used printer paper. If you can only print one-sided on your printer, don’t throw out old printed documents – reuse them! In our office, we have a printer that is dedicated to using just recycled documents. We take junk faxes, draft documents, and other non-sensitive printed materials and use them in that printer, especially for in-house, working documents. Of course, once you are done with the second use of the sheets, don’t forget to add them to the recycling bin! [See Idea #1 from last week’s post.]

#10. Spread the word! The more people who take even these simple actions, the more we can reduce our impact on the environment. Many small actions add up to large results…so what will you do?

And the Bonus Tip: For those of you planning a meeting in California (or even just traveling for fun!), use a participating hotel from the California Green Lodging Program. Many of the “small” ideas I’ve listed above are included in the requirements of their hotel certification program – and can make a big difference when implemented by a large business such as a hotel chain. For a list of participating hotels, click here.

- Karl Baur, CMP • Project Director, RDL enterprises