How Green is Your Home Office?
by Cris Carl, Networx
Manufacturers are embracing a trend towards the production of green products. As a result, it is now easy to move in the direction of “greening” in your home office. While sometimes choices can be far more overwhelming than “paper or plastic,” many businesses and websites are working to educate as well as sell their environmentally friendly products now.
Here are a few things to consider when making your home office greener:
- Energy use: Turning your electronics off with a power strip and using energy-saving bulbs are two examples.
- Green office supplies: There are plenty to choose from now. See below for more info.
- Recycling bins: Keep them handy and obvious so you’ll use them.
- E-waste disposal: Nearly everything in your home office will end up in a landfill one day. How are you disposing of your materials (i.e. batteries, computers, toner cartridges, etc.)? Many communities either offer recycling of these types of items at the local transfer station. Also, specialized companies often advertise in the local paper for “drop-off days” for used electronics for a small fee.
- Lowering your carbon footprint: Keep a list and try to purchase what you need in one trip, or order online to reduce vehicle use.
Light Green, Medium Green and Dark Green
A concept that is growing in the business and environmental worlds is the idea of easing your way into better choices for the environment. Now there is no longer just the term “green,” but “light green,” “medium green” and “dark green.” One company, Office Depot, gives an excellent example of how to view the shades of green concept: Think of a coffee cup that is 10 percent recycled material as light green; a biodegradable coffee cup as medium green; and a stainless steel travel mug as dark green. The same example plays out for any number of products, such as paper. You can buy paper that is made without chlorine, 30 percent recycled paper, or 100 percent recycled paper. Some companies even offer plastic tabs on file folders that are PVC-free. The good news is, buying green is now becoming a good way to save money as well.
Saving Money on Green Office Supplies
Supply and demand has brought down costs for green office supplies and has improved techniques for remanufacturing used products. There are companies devoted to remanufacturing ink jet and toner cartridges. Consider that it takes a half-gallon of oil to produce one toner cartridge weighing approximately 2.5 pounds. Remanufacturing keeps plastics and metals out of the landfills.
Other companies specialize in salvage and surplus. Purchasing from these types of companies saves you money and again, keeps dangerous items out of landfills.
Save Electricity in Your Home Office
- Use rechargeable batteries: One rechargeable battery replaces 400 one-time-use batteries.
- Make use of improved power strips: Nearly 75 percent of home and office use for electricity is used by electronics that are off (computer, TV, coffee pot, microwave etc.). “Smart” power strips stop idle current.
- Purchase office equipment that is energy star rated: Also, if you purchase a new printer, get one that prints double-sided. You’ll save money on ink.
Greening your home office can be a process of learning and taking small steps, but now it’s easier than ever.