With increased issues of global warming and environmental concerns, it’s obvious that we need to make changes in our lives to protect the environment. Taking eco-friendly steps at work to reduce our office’s effect can make huge strides to a greener environment, and better impact on our health. When working in your office, keep in mind the use of resources like water, energy, paper, supplies, and equipments that are often overused in consumption. Here are five quick tips to make a positive impact on the planet while you’re on the job.

Think before you print

Paperless is best, but if you must use paper, make sure to use both sides to print and copy only what you need. Stock your office with recycled and chlorine-free paper and utilize technology to facilitate files electronically. Instead of printing a document to fax to someone, install fax software on your computer to send the files, or opt for email. Establish a central location and share publications like reports, magazines, newsletters and other documents, so that everyone in the office has access to them and limited copy is required.  Reuse sheets as scrap paper or shred them to serve as packing material.

Shut down computer and office electronics

Despite the digital revolution to help us mobilize a greener life, these machines drain immense amounts of energy. Shut down your computer, printer, copier, and other office electronics at the end of the workday or when not in use. When you are away from your desk for extended periods of time, at meetings, or out to lunch, reduce energy use by using the sleep mode on your computer. Plug your machines into power strips and make sure to turn off the strips at the end of the day. This will save energy and money, and reduce your annual computer-related energy consumption by up to 80%.

Use natural Light

Office buildings use significant amounts of electricity, and mostly from unnecessary lighting.  Take advantage of natural light when possible and remember to turn off lights when you leave a room or at the end of the day. Encourage your office manager to replace light bulbs with energy efficient T5 or T8 bulbs which uses 75% less energy than standard light bulbs while producing about the same amount of light.

Add a little Green

Plants are a great way to lighten the office environment, and make us feel less stressed. Furthermore, they absorb and neutralize indoor pollution, increase the flow of oxygen and improve the sanitation of the office. Some plants known to reduce airborne pollution along with other environmental benefits include Dracaena, Areca Palm, Bamboo Palms, Spider Plants, Peace Lily, Ficus Bejamina (weeping fig), and Lady Palms. The advantage of having plants in the office enhances the overall appearance of the environment, while making it a healthier place to work.

Bring your own lunch and utensils

Packing your own meals means more money in your pocket and a drastic reduction in the amount of waste produced in our landfills. Each year Americans spend millions of dollars on fast food and take out, creating over 1.8 million tons of trash from uneaten food, food wrappers, plastic, utensils, and styrofoam.  Instead of grabbing take-out packaged in or disposable containers, bring your own lunch, a reusable plate, mug and utensils with you to work. Using a BPA-Free water bottle, bamboo utensils, and reusable containers are a great way to have an eco-friendly lunchtime.

As you go about your day to day, think about the benefits to be reaped from greening on the job. Encourage your co-workers to practice office greenery and when doing business with others, select vendors based on their commitment to sustainable business practices. In no time, you’ll be partying your way to work green heaven.

For more information:

Paper recycled .org – http://stats.paperrecycles.org/

Reducing paper wastehttp://www.nyc.gov/html/nycwasteless/html/wasteless/atwork_tips_paper.shtml

U.S. Department of Energy -Saving Energy_Wokplace: http://www.energysavers.gov/your_workplace/

Eco-Friendly Printerhttp://www.ecofriendlyprinter.com/EcoFriendlyPaper-2077.Category.html

Lighting solutionshttp://www.lightingsolutions.ca/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=25&Itemid=26

Office Plants  – http://www.treehugger.com/files/2007/08/science_museum.php

Bamboo utensils –Resuit.com – http://www.reuseit.com/store/togo-ware%C2%AE-reusable-bamboo-utensil-with-cotton-carrycase-p-757.html