Getting Your Office Greener

Donated By: Wendy
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Monitor your computer use. Set computers to energy saving settings and turn them off completely when no longer in use. Make sure to power down ink jet printers as they need to seal cartridges to properly preserve ink. Printers and scanners, if used less often, can be unplugged until needed. Also, recycle the inkjet and toner cartridges, there are many charities that use cartridge recycling as fundraising for their community activities. For example, Coastal Pet Rescue uses the money raised for medical care and food for stray dogs and cats. For more information contact

If you work in the food industry, encourage your employer to buy to-go containers that are not made out of styrofoam and instead opted for using a recycled packaging.

Try to institute a paper-less office if possible, even several major law firms have taken up the approach. You can substitute most written record-keeping for a digital form. If you are unsure of the process, there are agencies that specialize in paper-less efforts. Also, proof documents online before you print them. Send emails rather than paper ones.

Switch to green office supplies. You can purchase tree-free paper, recycled paperclips and 100% recycled paper. Producing recycled paper requires 60% of the energy used to make paper from virgin pulp. Purchase pens and pencils made from recyclable materials. Also, make sure that your lavatory soaps and cleaning products are non-toxic and bio-degradable.

If your company ships boxes, try to reuse boxes and use any shredded waste paper for packaging.

  1. Turn off lights in any rooms that are unoccupied. Consider installing motion detection lights that would reduce the amount of energy used or solar lights for any exterior lights.
  2. Green your Commute. Try to carpool, use public transportation, biking or walking wherever appropriate. Ask if your company would consider tele-working so that you can reduce the amount of hours you log yearly on your commute. There are so many tools today that have created the telecommuting a reality (i.e. video teleconferencing, instant messaging and email). Alternatively, ask if your company would consider a consolidated work week of four, ten hour work days.
  3. Buy items in bulk to reduce packaging and when available buy locally to reduce the energy costs in shipping.
  4. Set up recycling containers in your office, which will make it easier for everyone to recycle at work and will hold aluminum cans, plastic containers and paper for collection for a recycling center. Or contain a private agency to pick up the collections for you.
  5. If building a new office or renovating an older space, consider using LEED technology for energy saving building materials and techniques. Purchaser curtains, flooring and furniture made from a sustainable resource such as bamboo. Consider installing solar panels or a green roof for energy conservation.
  6. Bring a glass or mug from home to eliminate the necessity of paper cups.
  7. If your job involves much traveling, ask your boss to purchase carbon offsets for company travel.