HOW TO BE MORE ENVIRONMENTALLY FRIENDLY
Maybe you’re the kind of person who feels pretty comfortable with your environmentally-friendly decisions because you take the time to pack a brown-bag lunch a couple times a week before heading off to work, or you make sure to leave your car parked in the garage and ride your bike instead for short errands across town. But in the back of your mind, you know you could probably be doing more.
One easy place to make that happen is on the job. Choosing to go green at your workplace will help make this planet a better place to live. Taking small actions that will deepen your commitment to environmental sustainability is not a tough task. There are a few simple changes you can make in your daily routine to become more eco-friendly in your workplace. Let’s look at how you can make that happen.
Let’s say you’re already good at brown-bagging your lunch. It’s a way to save money, eat healthier, and you’re making a sustainable decision to limit the use of to-go containers, plastic silverware and beverage straws from restaurants. But all those discarded brown bags can pile up. Even if you’re recycling those, all the little plastic baggies filled with lunch items inside still add up to a lot of waste each week once they are emptied.
Reduce your use of brown-bag lunches by switching to reusable plastic containers. These do a great job protecting your food and can be easily washed and reused. Keep an assortment of sizes on hand for easy lunch packing. Use a flat rectangle to hold your sandwiches, and small stackable squares for fresh sliced fruit, vegetables or mixed nuts. Soup, casseroles and other leftovers can be quickly packed for at-work meals. Put these containers in a reusable lunch box or soft fabric bag. These days, lunch containers come in a variety of materials, colors and trendy designs. You’ll never need to go back to brown-bag blah again.
One simple, environmentally-sustainable switch you can make at work is to avoid printing out reams of paper. This can take some getting used to. We’re so conditioned to hitting “print” and compiling copies of reports, project material, spreadsheets and emails, that many of us do it without even thinking. Going paperless might be more of a smooth transition if you tackle it in steps. First, if you feel like you really need to print something, change your printer settings to double-sided. It’s an eco-friendly paper-saving move. Next, try to go paperless during meetings. Get used to sharing files, word documents and attachments online. It takes a little technical juggling for projects with lots of pieces – and might mean some colleagues will need a refresher course in their online options – but it’s a green decision that’s worth the effort.
Bring Your Own Coffee Mug, Thermos & Use Reusable Water Bottles
Throw-away paper cups increasingly have become a faux pas – a trash can display of environmental waste. Rather than using paper cups, keep your own mug at work and fill it from the office coffee pot or brew your own tea in it. Or bring your own thermos to work. Either way, bringing your own mug or container into the nearest coffee shop is becoming the norm, and the barista staff are usually happy to pour your order into your reusable cup.
The same goes for water. Sure, your office might keep a stash of plastic water bottles on hand, but if you don’t walk around carrying one at home, you won’t miss having one in hand at work, either. Reusable water bottles can be filled up at home and travel with you in the car, on the bus, in your work bag, and be within reach at your workspace during the day. It’s an environmentally-friendly alternative to plastic water bottles that really allows you to make a big impact on a personal level over time. And once you’re carrying your own bottle, keep a few fun mix-ins on hand to make staying hydrated more flavorful. Try XS™ Sports Twist Tubes. These small, easily packable tubes can add a burst of flavor to your water and create a refreshing drink featuring a blend of antioxidants that can help your body fight free radicals.† They come in a variety of flavors, including Fruit Punch and Lemon Lime.
Power Down Your Electronics
We love our electronics bright, fast and always ready to use. But you might want to put your tech tools and toys on a diet. To reduce the amount of energy you are using, start powering down your home and work computers when they are not in use. Simple things like lowering your screen brightness and downsizing the applications you use can help. So can charging your phone and computer only when the devices need it. Continually keeping a fully-charged device plugged in is a waste of energy and outlet space.
Buy Eco-Friendly Office Supplies
We’re all used to reaching for fresh legal-size pads, notecards and crisp envelopes, and most times we don’t give our office supplies a second thought. Buying recycled products is a great way to save trees and preserve our natural resources. Most stores and office-supply companies carry products made from recycled materials. If you’re buying in bulk for your home or work office, look for good deals that can help you go green at work.
Telecommute or Work From Home Whenever Possible
In this era, more people than ever are finding it possible – and easy and efficient – to work from home. Whether you call it remote work or telecommuting, being able to work from a home office is not only convenient, it can also be great for the environment. By not commuting in your car, you are reducing your carbon footprint and saving money on gas and vehicle maintenance, studies have shown. To make telecommuting more sustainable, follow these tips:
- Set up one room or space as your home office.
- Keep the lights, TV and electronics off in other parts of the house during work hours.
- In cooler weather, instead of turning up the heat in the whole house, just keep the room you are working in warmer with a small space heater.
If you’re searching for ways to be more environmentally friendly, starting with a handful of changes at work is a great way to begin. Making sustainable choices in how you pack your lunch, what office supplies you use, even what you pour your morning coffee into are great ways to make easy changes. Before long, your actions will be inspiring others to do the same.
† This statement has not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. This product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease
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