There’s a double standard in many people’s lives today. At home they carefully toss cans and bottles to the blue bin, stacking the newspaper beside it, conscious not to put anything recyclable into the trash. That same person often turns into a waste machine when they get to work, printing out long reports on one side of copy paper, leaving their computer running at night, and breathing less-than-pristine air in a leaky building.
Whether you’re an employee or a business owner, some of those problems can seem insurmountable. We can’t all work in LEED-certified buildings, happy in the knowledge that our office is producing as much energy as it consumes (check out Seattle’s new Bullitt Center for an example of taking green to the extreme. Fortunately, there are plenty of changes anyone can make, employee or boss, in every small office across every small town in the world. Here are a few places to start:
It’s amazing how many office buildings neglect to do something most of us monitor closely at home. If no one takes the initiative on this, it’s not uncommon for an office’s filter to remain in place for years. It’s only a few dollars for a replacement, and nothing does more to eliminate toxins from your indoor air. Considering that the EPA ranks indoor air quality above contaminated drinking water and outdoor air pollution among risks to our health, it’s a smart first step.
‘Phantom power’ accounts for 10 percent of our electricity usage in most buildings (Planet Green). That’s all the little lights on chargers and electronics that stay on when not in use. Get a power strip at your desk and flip it off when you leave for the day. If every employee would cut their computer off when they come home, it would save the company a month’s power bill each year.
Most common cleaning products contain volatile organic compounds (VOCs) that contribute to the rise in asthma and respiratory diseases. Take a look at a package of run-of-the-mill table wipes and you’ll likely see warnings to avoid touching your eyes or mouth after using them. Is that what we want on the break room table? With non-toxic cleaning supplies now available even at the big-box stores, making the switch is an obvious investment in employee health.
Copyright © 2002-2013. All rights reserved