Take a moment to think about how much unnecessary trash your office produces or excess energy your workplace uses. Greening your office will not only reduce your carbon footprint and create a more sustainable work environment, it can lower high utility costs. Follow these tips for creating an eco-friendly office and reducing your impact on the environment and natural resources.

Install LED Lighting

Also known as light-emitting diodes, LED lighting are small, highly efficient and long-lasting. LED lights use less energy than incandescent bulbs and emit less radiated heat. Check out other energy-efficient lighting options like compact fluorescent and halogen bulbs.

No More One-Timers

Eliminate environmentally harmful kitchen supplies, especially Styrofoam cups and plates. Even reducing how much paper supplies and cutlery you store can save money and lessen waste. Use reusable mugs, plates, bowls and take out containers for coffee, tea and lunches. If you needs disposable kitchen supplies, use 100 percent biodegradable and compostable cups, cutlery and tableware from GreenPaperProducts.com.

Go Paperless

Avoid printing emails and use email to send contracts and paperwork as attachments. Send digital paperwork that can be signed electronically. Also, relying on software to validate an address can also reduce the additional costs and materials needed to send direct mail or marketing materials to inaccurate addresses of prospects or clients. When printing is essential, use 100 percent recycled paper made of post-consumer waste. You can order recycled paper from any online office supply store like Staples or Office Max.

Soy-Based Ink

Use soy-based ink because of its “lower levels of volatile organic compounds,” according to earth911.com. Soy-based ink is made up soybeans, which is a renewable resource. It will emit less harmful toxins, use less ink for each print job and helps with paper recycling because soy link is removed more easily. Check out The Cartridge Family and SoyPrint.net to purchase soy-based cartridge toners.

Shut it Down

Shut down your computers or put computers on sleep mode while away. Printers, copiers and fax machines should also be turned off or set on a sleep mode timer to conserve energy. For start-ups and new businesses, purchase ENERGY STAR office equipment, such as printers, fax machines and mailing machines, for energy savings and to lower utility costs. Also, adopting cloud computing into your business model can eliminate the need for workplace data centers that consume tons of power. Storing, sharing and accessing data in the cloud helps reduce energy consumption and carbon emissions.

Organic Coffee

Brew fair-trade, shade-grown or organic coffee. Fair trade coffee is purchased from farmers and produced and harvested by workers who are guaranteed healthy working conditions. According to fair trade standards stated on EthicalCoffee.net, coffee growers produce coffee under sustainable practices that properly dispose of “hazardous and organic wastes.” Shade-grown coffee is coffee that’s grown under the natural canopies of trees, and organic coffee is free of artificial chemical substances, including some additives, pesticides and herbicides.