Get Your Green Team Together and Help Save the Environment

Posted by Kristin Arnold on May 9, 2009

Your team can be part of a growing trend to turn our offices “green.”

Gather your team together and discuss the reasons why it is important to prevent pollution and reduce wastes that affect our environment.  Agree on what your team will do.  And don’t forget to make sure you have management commitment and support to implement your agreements.

Some pollution prevention ideas your “green team” might consider:

Lighting. Use natural light whenever you can.  Replace light bulbs with lower wattage or compact fluorescent bulbs.  Turn off lights when not needed.  Unscrew light bulbs that are not necessary.  Install timers or motion sensors to activate lights when one enters or departs a room.

Office Equipment. Buy new “power-managed” fax machines, printers, computers, monitors etc.  They save energy by entering a low-powered or “sleep” mode when the equipment is inactive, but not “off.”  Hint: Look for Environmental Protection Agency’s ENERGY STAR label.

HVAC. Have your heating, ventilation, and air conditioning (HVAC) systems serviced regularly and don’t forget to replace your air filters monthly.  Set your thermostat back to reduce the energy requirements during unoccupied hours or even toward the end of your operating hours.

Paper. Shift from paper systems to paperless communication such as email.  Make pre-cycled writing tablets out of paper used on one side.  Use two-sided copying.  Recycle your paper products, as well as your cans and glass in accordance with city requirements. Even better, stock your office kitchen with glasses, plates, and flatware instead of disposables.

Office Supplies. Reuse your computer disks.  Buy remanufactured or refillable toner cartridges for copiers and printers.  Buy chlorine-free high-recycled content printing and writing paper and tissue products.  Reuse envelopes, bags, mailers, and bubble wrap.  Buy non-toxic cleaning supplies in bulk or condensed forms, in recycled or recyclable containers.  Whenever you can, choose reusable and recyclable materials.  Your team can even ask your vendors to minimize unnecessary packaging, use recycled materials, or use returnable packaging!

Water. Put water-saving devices in rest rooms and on kitchen faucets.  And if you see a drip, fix it or report it!

Grab Bag. Set up an area in your office for team members to exchange or give away used items.

Question:  What other ideas do have for making your office green?

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