ImageRunning an environmentally friendly office is not simply a socially responsible policy; it is increasingly becoming an economically wise choice. By reducing avoidable pollution and waste, a business can become more efficient and save money even as it can demonstrate its commitment to going green.

Environmentally Friendly Office Policies

The most important part of an environmentally friendly policy is reducing the amount of waste a business creates, as well as its demand for new materials. By doing so, a business will reduce its impact on local landfills while also decreasing the amount of manufacturing needed to supply its needs.

Among the most effective ways of accomplishing this are the following:

  • The business should make extensive use of recycled paper. This drastically reduces the impact on the environment, as recycled paper does not require the destruction of more woodland.
  • The business should ensure that all ink and toner cartridges are made with environmentally friendly components.
  • When possible, records should be scanned in and preserved in an electronic format. This not only reduces the office’s paper usage, but also helps conserve storage space.
  • ID card printers can be used to make on site ID cards, rather than using larger and potentially more polluting off site printer services.
  • Trash should be separated into recyclable and non-recyclable categories. By doing so, the office can reduce the amount of waste material it sends to a landfill.

Waste and Office Electronics

One of the most common sources of office waste are obsolete electronic systems. A business should make certain to attempt to reduce the amount of electronic waste that it disposes of, as this type of waste is often environmentally harmful.

Among the most effective strategies to reduce electronic waste are the following:

  • Select office grade equipment. Many printers designed for home use have a short lifespan and are designed to be replaced rather than repaired. With proper maintenance, office equipment has a very long lifespan, reducing the need to dispose of broken items.
  • Enter into a relationship with an electronics-recycling firm. These businesses know how to economically recycle electronic equipment without damaging the environment.
  • Purchase equipment that can grow with the company’s needs, instead of equipment that must be regularly replaced.

Reducing the Company’s Power Footprint

One of the most important causes of pollution is the wasteful use of power by a business. By reducing the amount of power it consumes, a business can have a dramatic impact on its environmental footprint.

Some common methods that can be used to reduce a company’s power usage include the following:

  • Lights and equipment should always be turned off when not being used. A company should consider using motion detectors to ensure that unoccupied rooms are not illuminated, as well as using timers to automatically shut down printers and other systems after business hours.
  • Climate control systems should be used as little as possible.
  • Older equipment, such as energy inefficient refrigerators or CRT style displays should be replaced by newer, more energy efficient systems.
  • Energy efficient lighting, such as LED or low power CFC lighting should be used in preference to incandescent light bulbs.

In all of these cases, by reducing its consumption of raw materials and the production of waste, a business can dramatically reduce its environmental footprint while also reducing its operating costs. Finally, such policies may improve the company’s public image as its customers and peers become aware of its environmentally responsible policies.

Image by stooart and licensed through Creative Commons. 

by Joe Scribner