Creating an environmentally friendly workplace is an excellent investment, achieving significant operating cost reduction, building team spirit and creating a highly desirable employment environment. And we all know that when employee morale improves, turnover decreases and hiring and training costs decrease. Publicized effectively, environmental responsibility will also enhance marketplace image resulting in increased sales and profitability. Market your new green agenda. Employees and customers will be pleased to learn that you care about the environment and are doing your part.
Ten Ways to Improve Workplace Environmental Performance
1. Buy “green” products. Every day we find new, environmentally friendly products which use less materials, reduce waste and reduce energy use. We can choose compostable waste bags, biodegradable packing peanuts, non-toxic dry-erase markers, recycled plastic products, and more.
2. Use re-manufactured ink and toner cartridges. Remanufactured cartridges are 100% guaranteed and cost less than new cartridges. Each re-manufactured cartridge keeps approximately 2.5lbs of plastic and metal out of landfills and saves about 1/2 gallon of oil.
3. Recycle ink and toner cartridges. Approximately 375 million empty ink jet cartridges are taken to landfill sites every year. Recycling cartridges reduces landfill waste and associated toxins.
4. Use digital storage, not paper files. Print documents on paper when necessary but only when necessary. When hard-copy paper files are necessary, maintain a central file, avoiding individual, personal files.
5. Reduce, reuse and recycle paper. Treat paper as a scarce commodity. Communicate by email rather than creating written notes and faxing or mailing documents. When you must create a paper copy, print on both sides whenever you can, use it as scrap paper and finally recycle it when it can no longer be used or reused. Recycling one ton of paper saves 17 trees, almost 7,000 gallons of water and more than 3 cubic yards of landfill space.
6. Buy Energy Star qualified products. Energy Star printers, computers, fax machines, monitors and other office machines can reduce energy use by as much as 75%. Using “standby” or “sleep mode” when equipment is not in use will reduce energy use and improve the bottom line!
7. Unplug machines that are not in use. Most people are surprised to learn that equipment consumes electricity when plugged in-even when turned off. Use power strips for simplicity and turn them off at days-end and when you take trips.
8. Use compact fluorescent light bulbs. Compact fluorescent light bulbs can save up to 75% of the electricity used by incandescent light bulbs. Fluorescent bulbs last 10 times longer than incandescent light bulbs and they fit standard fixtures and deliver natural light.
9. Reduce transportation. Promote public transportation, carpooling and bicycle use by employees. Use teleconferencing or videoconferencing for meetings. Purchase from local suppliers.
10. After reducing your energy consumption as much as possible, consider purchasing an offset. Individuals and businesses can offset greenhouse gas emissions by purchasing carbon credits.
Stan Gassman, BSC Sustainability Services Copyright 2007
Stan Gassman is a co-founder and principal of BSC Sustainability Services, http://www.bscsustainabilityservices.com a consulting company devoted to helping clients increase marketplace value by incorporating sustainability within their culture and operations.
Contact Stan via email, firstname.lastname@example.org