Ah, springtime. April showers, May flowers, butterflies, sunshine – it’s the perfect time of year to be outdoors enjoying our beautiful world. With the celebration of Earth Day last week, it’s also a great time to give Mother Nature a high five and focus on helping to preserve our planet.
We know you’re busy with work, family, errands and other obligations and don’t always have extra time to commit to focusing on the environment. But abiding by the “Three Rs” -- Reduce, Reuse, and Recycle can easily be incorporated into your everyday routine. Here are 9 simple practices to follow throughout your work day to reduce your carbon footprint:
1. Unplug and shut down. Set your computer to energy-saving settings and make sure to power down when you leave for the day. An easy way to remember to do this is to use a power strip with an on/off switch and turn all of your electronics off together at the end of the day. Even when electronics are in “Standby” mode, they continue to draw a current. According to Matanuska Electric Association, 40% of all electricity used to power home electronics is consumed while the products are turned off.
2. Go Digital. Ask yourself: Is it really necessary to print a meeting agenda for every member? Could I send this by e-mail instead? Can I shrink the font to fit more onto one page? We live in an electronic world where digital storage devices and systems make it easy to save trees. If you must use paper, recycle it when you’re done. Recycled paper also takes 60-70 percent less energy to produce than paper from virgin pulp.
3. Carpool. According to Treehugger.com, 8 billion gallons of gas per year would be saved if every commuter in the U.S. carried just one more person. Coordinate with your coworkers to plan a driving schedule, take advantage of public transportation, or enjoy a nice day by walking or biking to work.
4. Work from home. If your company is open to letting you work from home for a day or two a week, try it. Utilize instant messaging, video conferencing and e-mails to stay on top of your workload and communicate with coworkers – all from the comfort of your pajamas! By working from home even one day per week, you are cutting your commute back by 20% and saving time, energy and gas.
5. Reusable lunch containers. Reduce your garbage output by packing your own lunch in reusable plastic or glass containers and bringing reusable utensils and napkins. Another perk of this great habit? You’ll inevitably end up eating healthier by skipping the high-calorie restaurant lunch break and enjoying a homemade salad or sandwich.
6. Recycling bins. See what you can do about setting up recycling bins throughout your office and in your home. Recycling your paper, glass, and plastic products is one of the easiest and most beneficial ways that you can help the environment. Over 25 billion cartons manufactured in the U.S. are used and thrown out each year, according to Geami, a manufacturer of environment-friendly products. Imagine how much smaller our landfills would be if this many cartons were recycled each year!
7. Opt for “green” products. When shopping for home and office products, choose reusable and recyclable options to stay eco-friendly. Use recycled paper, refillable pens and biodegradable cleaning products in the office and encourage others to do so, too. At home, use fabric bags for grocery shopping, non-toxic soaps and detergents, and household items made from recycled products including paper towels, tissues, and garbage bags.
8. Buy remanufactured ink and toner cartridges. Office Depot reports that one returned cartridge keeps approximately 2.5 pounds of metal and plastic out of landfills. By remanufacturing one toner cartridge, you also conserve about a half-gallon of oil. Plus, most remanufactured cartridges cost an average of 15% less than new cartridges – it’s a win-win!
9. Sunshine is your friend. Utilize your home and office’s windows and use daylight instead of overhead lights and lamps. While cutting back on your electricity bills, you’ll be receiving other benefits from the sun’s light. Studies have shown that when people live and work in a naturally lit environment, they are happier, healthier, calmer and more productive.
Curious what your personal impact is on our environment? Calculate your carbon footprint here.
Here at iboost, we recognize how fragile and valuable our planet is, which is why we maintain a green office environment and offer eco-friendly recycled paper options for all your business products. We hope you will begin to incorporate these earth-loving tips into your everyday routine.