The following is a guest post by Emma Wilcox.
The paper, plastic, cardboard, and envelopes piling up in a home office can quickly become overwhelming. Just viewing the amount of waste that daily passes through this area can make anyone who is environmentally conscientious want to take steps to stop the flow.
Fortunately, a lot of resources can be saved by implementing a few simple procedures. Being green goes hand in hand with being frugal, so by being greener in your office you could save a few dollars too. If everyone adopted these eco-friendly practices in their home offices, the savings to the environment would be substantial:
- Always buy recycled paper and envelopes.
- Save files electronically, rather than printing out a hard copy.
- Recycle or shred all paper, magazines, and envelopes.
- Use the shredded office trash paper or cornstarch peanuts for packing and shipping, or add to your compost bin if you’re a keen gardener.
- Recycle all ink cartridges, and print on both sides of a sheet whenever possible.
- Cut any unnecessary incoming paper into small blocks to use for notes or scratch paper.
- Switch to electronic versions of any magazines that are available on line and cancel hard copies to save a few trees.
- Do all banking and accounting electronically, but be sure to backup all files.
- Use environmentally sound, non-toxic cleaning products such as baking soda and vinegar.
These easy ideas will make a big difference to the amount of trash generated in just a few weeks. Once these areas are under control, it is time to take a look around the office for other sneaky energy thieves. Methods of saving on energy bills and reducing your carbon footprint can be found in almost any work area. Check out these great ideas:
- Test windows and outer doors for air leaks, and use foam stripping for a tighter seal.
- Replace all light bulbs with the newer compact fluorescent bulbs.
- Turn off all lights and unplug all appliances and computers when leaving the office for the night.
- When office furnishings need replacing, either find second-hand versions or purchase furnishings that are Greenguard Certified to keep toxins out of the home.
- Always buy office equipment with the energy star certification seal, and recycle any usable electronic products responsibly through reliable sources.
- Install a ceiling fan to enhance air flow, and add a few green plants to the home office to filter the environmental pollutants.
It is important to set up the home office so that being green is extremely easy and becomes a daily habit. Put a recycling bin beside the printer, next to the mail bin, and beside the copier. Have a programmable thermostat installed and set it so that the heating and cooling is efficiently controlled.
Most of these ideas, while easily implemented, can lead to financial savings and result in a more eco-friendly office. Admin and paperwork are an inevitable part of all our lives, but we can all make small changes to our routines to deal with it in a way that’s kinder to the environment and our budget.
Emma is a website owner with a vast knowledge in graphic and logo design. She spends most of her time researching new and innovative ways to leverage Photoshop for the purpose of creating cutting edge designs. She does much of her work from home and has put the green ideas outlined here into practice in her own office.