Wednesday, October 23, 2013

5 Ways to Create An Eco Friendly Office

With all this talk of climate change and all the shows on TV about the animals affected by human expansion, its no wonder that the "green revolution" has truly taken off. People everywhere have taken on the responsibility for the effects on the world they can't always see. They've taken up recycling, changed their lighting fixtures, reduced their shower times, and all that other good stuff. But what about when you're at work? Even if you're the greenest guy or gal at the office, its hard to keep up the routine if your workplace doesn't provide avenues for it. Here are some great ways to go green at the office, and possibly save some cash in the process!

Recycle

Recycle

Recycling is often the first thing people think of when they try to go green. Obviously, offices use tons of paper, which kills trees and wastes an unnecessary 55% of water compared to recycled paper. The list of office products that can be recycled is pretty much endless: papers, metals (paperclips and soda cans), cardboard, but one of the most important things you can recycle as a business is plastic. You may not know, but when plastic isn't properly recycled, it has a good chance of floating around over the years until it reaches the ocean, where it can float around for a very long time. That plastic bottle you're drinking out of, if you don't recycle it, could very well end up in one of the five oceanic gyres filled with plastic. According to 5gyres.org In each of the world's oceans, there's an area where all the currents meet and swirl pretty much infinitely. Any trash or plastic in the water will eventually make it there to become part of a giant trashy soup. These plastic gyres pollute the water and trap animals. Sometimes migrating fish can swallow tiny bits of this plastic. If they're caught by us, the fish are usually eaten, which basically means we are eating each other's trash, albeit in small quantities. Every human born since the 50s has plastic in their bodies and scientific research shows that drinking or eating from plastic containers can contribute to developing cancer. 
Recycling at the office is a great way to help break this cycle since workplaces house numerous individuals that would recycle if given the opportunity. You may even choose to check with your local government to see if it offers cash rewards to businesses that recycle! 

Pull the Plug

Power Outlet


Did you know that devices plugged into walls are always sucking power? Even if your cellphone is fully charged or your hairdryer is completely off, if its plugged into the wall, both the environment and you are paying for it. What the electric companies don't want you to know is that the best way to lower your power bill is to unplug all your stuff when its not in use. Even if your employees set their computers to "low power mode" when they leave the office, if its plugged in, its likely costing the tons of money on the electric bill. A study done in California determined that "low power mode" is responsible for 10% of total electricity used in homes in California. A great way to save the environment and save yourself some cash is to change your computer's settings so that it saves energy. You can look up how to do this depending on your computer, and you'll be surprised just how much energy this saves. Also, don't forget to pull the plug on things like TVs, DVD players, and other gadgets when not in use either at work or at home. You may end up saving your workplace a few bucks and a few polar bears by reducing the amount of fossil fuels burned!

Carpool

Carpooling Coworkers

Soccer moms and high school kids have taken this collective mode of transport to the max. Of course biking, taking the bus, or riding a scooter to work are far more eco-friendly than driving a car, but since most people can't get away from it, carpooling is the next best thing. Talk with your co-workers to see who lives near you and ask if they'd like to carpool. Not only does it save all of you money on gas if you all pitch in a little bit, but it also saves gas. Research shows that around 8 billion gallons of gas would be saved if every car in the U.S. carried just one more person. Carpooling is a wonderful opportunity for co-workers to bond and become friendly with one another. After all, you spend all day together anyway, why not get to know the folks in the office cubicle configurations next to you? Some employers even pay there employees a little extra just for riding together! Who knows? You may even gain a best buddy while you gain cleaner air!

Green Office Desks

Eco-Friendly Desk

This is one for the employers rather than the employees. While its probably not worth the trouble if your workplace is already filled with quality office desks, those of you thinking about starting a new business or redesigning your office can consider choosing eco-friendly office desks. Great multi user workstations for business use are easy and efficient to power even if they're not made out of sustainable materials. By housing more than one individual, the desks can save space, making your workplace appear cleaner and more efficient, but they also use less power, saving you money on the company's electric bill. For those of you considering redecorating, recycling the old desks and looking for stylish office desks for sale made from sustainable materials like recycled metals, recycled glass, bamboo, or other sustainably extracted hardwoods is another great way to go green!

Smart Office Lighting

Pixie LED Task Light by Ergonomic Product Solutions

Choosing the right lighting for your office can make a world of difference for both the environment and your pocketbook. We've always said that natural sunlight has always been the best sort of lighting for office scenarios if you have a sufficient source. Natural sunlight saves tons of money because it costs none, and it has wonderful psychological effects on employees and guests alike, making them feel better, more upbeat, energetic, and friendly. However, if your office simply can't do this for whatever reason, never fear! There are plenty of great desk lamps and office lighting solutions out there that can save both the environment and you some worries. Choosing compact fluorescents and LED lights that use little energy can give you better lighting and save you more money over a longer period of time than traditional incandescent lights. These lighting options burn brighter and more efficiently for much longer than traditional lights, and can sometimes burn for years, saving you tons of money and the environment tons of fossil fuels. Going the extra mile by springing for lighting systems that have motion sensors can also help your green theme by shutting off when there's no sign of physical activity. Schools everywhere have already made wonderful use of this nifty invention, why not see if your workplace will too?
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