Environment: How to Make your Office Eco-Friendly

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by Nastasha Alli

A lot of us spend more than 40 hours a week at work. For some, this could be as much or even more time than we spend at home – and if we can make our living spaces environmentally friendly, there’s no reason our offices can’t be the same as well!

Here are a few tips to make your workspace more eco-friendly:

  • Communicate more, print less. Take full advantage of e-mail to contact your colleagues. Use electronic slides and spreadsheets for presentations. Hit the print button only when absolutely needed and print double-sided copies of documents if you can.
  • Request eco-friendly office products. These include recycled paper, refillable pens and non-toxic highlighters.
  • Collect electronic waste, such as used ink cartridges, batteries and computer parts. Keep these items in a properly labelled box and deliver to designated tech-waste disposal centres at the end of the month. Do What You Can is a website that allows you to find the closest recycling plant by entering your postal code.
  • Collect books and other printed handouts that might be of use to students. Consider reselling or donating used books (such as accounting and tax preparation guides) to learning centres after employees use them. Check with your boss first to make sure there isn’t any sensitive company information in them.
  • Bring a travel mug, water bottle and a set of kitchen utensils to work. Avoid using disposable paper cups and plastic forks. Save the environment one coffee cup at a time!
  • Dress comfortably and appropriately. Make simple, professional attire work for you. In the spring and summer, wear light layers that you can take off when the air conditioner isn’t doing enough to cool you down. In the winter, wear a suitable sweater under your coat. This way you’ll maximize work productivity, while keeping down heat and cooling costs at the office.
  • Carpool or bike your way to work. Ask around the office to see if any of your co-workers live in the same area as you. If possible, arrange to carpool or share a ride with them at least a few days a week. Not only will you save on gas, but you’ll make good friends along the way. If you live near the office, consider investing in a bike and proper gear to cycle your way to work when the weather permits.

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