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Green office ideas

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Recycling at work is easier than you think!
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Green office ideas are simple to implement to make your workplace eco-friendly

Environmental awareness has become more trendy lately, and it's for a good reason. The effects of global warming are becoming more obvious and we are all beginning to realize that we need to take better care of the earth not just for us, but our children and the generations after them.

Every little effort counts, and one great place to start is with green office ideas. Make the effort to purchase eco friendly products - cleaning supplies, lighting, office supplies. Here are several green office ideas you can use to help your company become more eco-friendly!

Reuse ink jets

When your printers have fun out of ink, don't simply discard the cartridges in the trash. Your empty ink cartridges can actually be reused! There are services that facilitate this.  You simply purchase the ink from the company, use the ink until it runs out, and mail the cartridge back to the company. They will refill it with ink for you and mail it back to you in special packaging, and it's good as new. The fee for this is usually small, and it's much more cost-effective than buying entirely new ink cartridges. You will also be protecting the environment by producing less garbage.
Encourage carpooling

Do you and any coworkers live near each other? Consider starting a carpooling program. You could take turns and rotate who drives each time. You could also put a sign-up list in a common area of the office that lists the different parts of your town, and people who live in that area can sign up to show interest in carpooling. You can then work out plans with those colleagues. If you don't have anyone to carpool with, consider using public transportation or biking to your job.

Start recycling

There are many things that get thrown away in the office environment when they could be recycled instead. Paper, cardboard boxes, soda cans, plastic bottles, and more. Some businesses already have recycling programs set up, but if your office doesn't, request that management at least get a paper recycling program started.

Put recycling boxes in the kitchen area; one for aluminum and one for plastic. This will make it easier for people to remember to recycle their drink cans and bottles rather than just tossing them in the trash.

You can also put a recycling bin for paper next to all the printers or in the copier room. Even better, you can do what we had at my last job; every employee had a small recycling bin next to their desk that was the size of a trash can. Everyone also had their own trash can, but having that choice right in front of you every time you threw something away made it really hard to forget to recycle! Every little bit of recycling you can do helps, especially when is at a large company.

Get in the kitchen

Not only you help save the environment by recycling paper, but you can also keep the cycle going by using recyclable goods and biodegradable products. Stock up your office's kitchen with these instead of plastic and Styrofoam products, which only further pollute the environment. You can buy cups and disposable utensils that are made of corn and easily biodegradable. You can also buy napkins and paper towels made from recyclable material.

Go digital

When you are at the office, it's easy to mindlessly print documents. Maybe you just want paper copies of documents for your files, or you like printing long emails so they are easier to read. Maybe you print out PowerPoint presentations to give to people in meetings, or print reminders to hang on your wall or bulletin board. Perhaps you print out handouts for all of the attendees at your meetings.

Think about it -- do you really need all of these documents as physical paper? One of the best green office ideas is to brainstorm how you and your officemates can cut back on wasting paper. Rather than passing out handouts or printed PowerPoints, send everyone a digital copy and tell them to review it before or after the meeting.

If you like printing out paper documents as reminders, consider getting a computer program like Apple's Sticky Notes, which allow you to post notes on your computer's desktop as digital reminders. Many people have started putting notes in their email signatures that say "Please consider the environment before printing this email." Doing that will help your coworkers remember that it may be unnecessary to waste paper by printing it. If you like having paper documents as a back-up to digital documents, instead, find a digital way to back them up. Get an external hard-drive, save them on a network drive, or even burn them onto a CD-R.

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