How To Make Your Work Area Green

Enjoying an eco-lifestyle means living greener in all areas of your life. You may be taking environmentally friendly steps at home, but are you also doing it at work? People spend almost 90% of their lives indoors, and for those people who work inside that equates to about 40 or more hours at your desk, office or cubicle.

Whether you’re a student interning at a major corporation, a marketing associate making phone calls all day or an office assistant handling paperwork, you’re going to spend a majority of your time in one place all day. So don’t you want your work space to be eco-friendly and energy efficient? It can be if you make some simple changes:

1. Computer Conservation

For many people with desk jobs the computer is absolutely necessary to get things done. It is estimated that people waste over $ 1 billion in electricity every year just in computer use! To help conserve energy for your computer you can:

Invest in an energy-saving computer, monitor and printer
Switch to energy-saving settings
Turn off your computer whenever you’re not using it
Set it to sleep mode when you are away for short periods of time

2. Paper-Less is More

Do you really have to print out every email and handout? You can reduce paper waste by going paperless wherever possible. You can try to:

Keep copies of important emails, files, manuals and more on your computer
Don’t get any extra catalogues or magazines mailed to your office
Get your check directly deposited instead of a waiting for a hard copy
Send company updates through email instead of on paper
Review any documents online instead of printing them out

3. Prioritize Your Paper Use

If you do use paper on a daily basis then you can make eco-friendly paper choices. Here are some things you can do:

Buy recycled and chlorine-free paper
Try paper made from organic products like bamboo, cotton or hemp
Print on both sides of the paper
Shred old paper to use as packing material
Save and reuse old boxes
Use old sheets of paper for scrap paper or note-taking

4. Recycle

There are many things in your office that you can recycle. If you don’t have a recycling station at work, start one on your own! You can get a few bins and post recycling guidelines above them. Some of them may include recycling:

Paper products like copy paper, envelopes, magazines, etc.
Cardboard boxes from shipped supplies
Soda cans and plastic bottles
Aluminum foil
Plastic bags
Ink cartridges

5. The Power of the Printer

The printer is one of the most used office items. Every day it cranks out tons of important faxes, emails and other documents. Here are some ways you make your printer use greener:

Try not to print in color
Use a printer that does double-sided copying
Print in draft mode
Use old paper with extra space to print small documents
Recycle ink and toner cartridges

6. Air You Can Bare

It’s already bad enough that you have to worry about air pollution every time you walk outside, but it’s also a big priority when you work inside. Here are some ways that you can maintain a healthy air flow in your office:

Use non-toxic cleaning products
Open your windows to increase air flow
Don’t smoke in or near the office
Never bring any type of aerosol can to work
Use an air purifier to get rid of contaminants

7. Travel with Care

The first part of your work day starts with you getting to work, and for many people that means driving. Cars emit tons of carbon dioxide gases into the air, contributing to global warming. Here are some things you can do for a green ride:

Join a ride share group
Take the train, bus or subway
Ride a bike or walk if you live close enough
Invest in a green car like a hybrid
Reduce your travel by working from home whenever possible

8. Plant a Plant on Your Desk

Get a plant and place it on or near your desk. Or, even better, buy plants for all of your neighbors. They will not only see this as a friendly gesture, but they’ll also have cleaner air to breathe! Plants absorb indoor air pollution and increase the flow of oxygen, so get a green accessory to compliment your desk!

9. Food For Thought

Everyone looks forward to their lunch break. If you manage to save money by not going out to eat every day then you probably pack your lunch. You can follow these green lunch tips to have healthier eating habits:

Pack your lunch in a reusable lunch bag or box
If you bring your lunch in a paper or plastic bag, reuse or recycle them
Use plastic containers and silverware that can be washed and used again
Switch to organic food and drinks
Drink from the fountain or a water filtration system instead of brining water bottles
Recycle your soda cans, bottles and aluminum foil
Use a washable napkin instead of paper towels
Walk to a lunch eatery if you forgot to pack it

10. Spread the Word

The best way to stay involved in the green scene at work is to get others involved. Share your practices and wisdom with your boss and coworkers. You can do this by:

Encouraging the office to join or start a recycling program
Purchasing company carbon credits
Buying eco-friendly office products
Setting up a carpool calendar
Getting everyone to pack their lunch and eat together

Your work environment has a great impact on your personal and professional happiness and your emotional stability. If you enjoy how greening your life makes you feel, then there’s no better place to keep the tradition alive than at work!

Trish Smith is a copywriter for Green Student U, Student Finance Domain and Study Abroad Domain, websites that are devoted to providing college students with helpful environmental, financial and study abroad advice.

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