Thanks for all the kind comments last week! I pulled it together, made it through, and I’m back in the groove this week.
Today is Blog Action Day, so I thought I’d talk about going green at the office. There are some fabulous companies out there who go beyond what’s required of them, and corporations can implement many eco-friendly ways and means, but what can we do this week, right now, to go green at work? These suggestions aren’t new, but not everyone is practicing them. I’ve worked places where there was a paper tidal wave, and no recycle bin. I hope your office fares better.
Let’s start in the breakroom. Buy a sugar cannister, and re-useable cups and spoons, or switch to cups that are biodegradable. According to Tree Hugger, “…in 2005, Americans used and discarded 14.4 billion disposable paper cups for hot beverages. If put end-to-end, those cups would circle the earth 55 times. Based on anticipated growth of specialty coffees, that number will grow to 23 billion by 2010—enough to circle the globe 88 times.” Wow, maybe we should give Starbucks a call, and ask them to switch too. What an impact that would make!
And what about what we put in those cups? Buying fair trade coffee and teas not only helps the communities that grow them, but also helps the environment. Fair Trade farmers generally aren’t clearing forests, or using chemical fertilizers and pesticides. They don’t have the capital, first of all, and secondly they’re generally very concerned about the environment, since they have a much more cause/effect relationship with the earth than we do. Not only that, but companies like Green Mountain Coffee and Newman’s Own have a track record of helping coffee-growing areas hard hit by natural disasters.
Paper and printer cartridges are two items that can have a huge impact on the environment. Do you use the front and back of paper, when you can? Do you use scrap paper, instead of buying those cute printed list pads, and notebooks (I’m a sucker for cute paper, so this is an area where I could stand some improvement). Is your office using recycled paper? 100% recycled? No, it’s not a quest for the holy grail, you can buy it at Staples, for corn sake. So even if no one else in your office switches, you can. I hope wherever you’re working you have a recycle bin. If not, just grab an empty box, and voila, you’re greener already. I admit, I don’t refill my own printer cartridges, but I do buy refurbished ones. I use ASAP, who I’m happy with (I’m also cheap, so there). In many areas you can donate your old cartridges to charity, earning you two gold stars.
And how about that pain in the neck otherwise known as carpooling. Yes, I know, you have to give up the comfort of your own car, and if your an introvert like me, you must suffer the ghastly practice of making conversation (makes me shudder just to think of it). Not to mention, you have to arrive and leave at the same time, so you give up some convenience. But come on, if you carpool just once a week, you’ve already reduced your emissions by 20%! Baby steps.
So there you have it, a few simple, easy (my two favorite words) ways to make the world a better place, and your kids’ world too.