8 Ways to Green Your Office Without Breaking the Bank

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  • Liven Up the Room

    It’s amazing what a little plant life can do to a sterile, fluorescent lit room. Most offices allow employees to put a plant on their desk. If you’re the boss, consider sprucing up the building with pothos and philodendron plants, both of which thrive indoors, require little care, and absorb pollutants from the air.

  • Go Double Sided

    Don’t we all feel a little guilty printing out massive reports on one-sided paper? Most industrial copy machines have the ability to print on both sides of the paper (if yours doesn’t, a $150 duplexer add-on can usually upgrade it; ask your copier service person), and it only takes an adjustment in your computer’s print preferences to set it up. Making the switch is one of the biggest individual changes an employee can make on their impact at the office.

  • Don’t Be Trashy

    How many of us claim to care about the world we’re leaving behind for the next generation, while at the same time grabbing a new disposable coffee cup every time we head to the break room? The biggest changes we can make in greening office culture start with individual employees. Keep a plate and cutlery set at your desk, rather than tossing a plastic one each day after lunch at the office. Bring your own mug from home for coffee and tea. When coworkers notice this, they’ll make the change too.

  • Buy Recycled Paper

    The added cost from 30 percent recycled content copy paper to 100 percent recycled is about $10 a box (5,000 sheets). A company of about 30 employees might use 10,000 sheets a month, making the added cost of switching just $20 per month. If that sounds like a worthwhile, tree-saving investment, let your boss know. You’ll be happy knowing that fewer virgin trees are being cut down for your printed reports and emails, and your higher ups will usually be happy to satisfy any worker requests requiring such a small investment.

  • Brighten Your Perspective

    This step has been drilled into our heads, but we often overlook it at the office. Switching from incandescent to compact fluorescent bulbs (CFLs) can reduce an average home’s energy use by 7 percent. The same rules apply at work. Although much of your lighting may be fluorescent tubes, there are probably some old-school bulbs that could use an upgrade somewhere.

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