Office Earth Day: 8 Ways to Save the Planet from Your Desk
Looking for some quick and easy ways to make an eco-friendly impact this Earth Day? Here are eight ways you can pitch in and do your part without even leaving the office.
According to DoSomething.org, Americans represent just five percent of the world’s population. Yet, incredibly, our country produces an estimated 30 percent of the world’s waste and uses 25 percent of Earth’s natural resources. In other words, despite all of our perceived efforts to the contrary, we continue to be one of the biggest culprits of environmental destruction.
What can we do about it? For starters, you might take a look at this list of 50 Ways to Make Every Day Earth Day. But you don’t need to take the whole day and plant a tree to make a small difference. Get started right now with these eight simple things you can do so right from your office.
Office Earth Day: 8 Ways to Be Your Company’s Eco-Hero
1) Conserve Your Computer Usage
In any business, the computer is the staple tool for all of the work that gets done during the day. Did you know that approximately $1 billion in energy is wasted every year solely on computer usage? Here are some ways that you can help cut back on that number:
- Put your computer in sleep mode whenever you are leaving your desk. Sleep mode is 60-70% more efficient.
- Turn off your computer at the end of the day, rather than simply putting it in sleep mode.
2) Use Electronic Accessories Efficiently
Along with the computer, there are plenty of other things we plug in at the office — printers, lamps, chargers, fax machines, etc.
When these items are not being used, turn them off or unplug them from power outlets. Additionally, if your office still plugs cords into the wall directly, make the switch to power strips, which are much more energy efficient. You might also consider installing energy efficient light bulbs throughout the office.
3) Reduce Paper Waste
According to 50WaystoHelp.com, American businesses dispose of 21 million tons of paper every single year. That equates to approximately 175 pounds of waste per person.
You can help minimize that waste by only printing documents you absolutely need copies of. If you can save something electronically, resist the temptation to print a hardcopy for your files. If you do have to print something, make sure you print double-sided.
4) Close the Blinds on Hot Days
And open them on cold, sunny days. Doing this will keep the heat out when it’s 90-degrees in July and bring the heat in when it’s 25-degrees in January. Naturally, this simple step will help decrease heating and A/C costs.
5) Plant Something (At the Office)
The stereotypical Earth Day activity is to plant a tree or plant. However, if you work a full-time job, there may not be an opportunity for you to plant something on Earth Day. Want an alternative? Plant something in your office, instead.
Plants aren’t just aesthetic additions to your workspace, they’re also natural oxygen producers — making your headquarters a healthier place to work. For a guide on the best plants to use in the office, click here.
6) Reuse and Recycle
This one is a no brainer. For years now, recycling has been prevalent in homes and offices, and the practice has now become part of our normal routine. This tip isn’t as much of a conservation tip as it is a reminder of how you should already be helping the planet.
As a reminder here’s a list of some things commonly found in the office that you can recycle:
- Paper products
- Aluminum cans and foil
- Plastic bottles and bags
- Ink cartridges
Here’s a fun fact: Recycling just one aluminum can save enough energy to power a TV for three hours.
7) Download an Eco-Friendly App
Unfortunately, it can be difficult to feel like you’re making an actual contribution to the conservation of our plant when you don’t see actual results. Thankfully, there’s an app for that.
If you want to see the impact of your eco-friendly activities and look for ways to track the progress of your environment footprint, there are some great smartphone apps that can help you become more informed and keep you motivated long after Earth Day is over. For a list of 10 smartphone apps that can help you become more eco-friendly, check out this post from Mashable.
8) Perform an Office Blackout
This idea comes from a blog post at Class 5 Energy. To perform an office blackout, encourage every employee to work from home on Earth Day. Not only will this eliminate the need for in-office electricity that day, it will also prevent all of your employees from polluting the air by commuting to work.
Of course, the office blackout is a bit of an extreme solution and it obviously won’t work for all types of business. But if your office can manage it, why not give it a shot? Let’s be honest — none of your employees will be upset about getting the opportunity to work in their pajamas for a day.
We know we aren’t the only offices going green this Earth Day! Share the ways you and people you know are helping the planet in the comments section below.
Image by Moyan Brenn
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