If you work in a leasing office, it’s the little things that count, especially when it comes to your daily routine in the work place. Simple changes of habit can save energy and resources, improve your health, and reduce costs.
RECONSIDER YOUR COMMUTE
Don’t wait to get to the leasing office to do your part; you can do it in transit. Americans spend an average of 47 hours per year commuting through rush hour traffic, amounting to 23 billion gallons of gas wasted in traffic each year (Source: 2011 Annual Urban Mobility Report). Try your best to carpool, bike or take public transportation to work and/or telecommute when possible. If you need to drive, consider joining a car-sharing service like Zipcar or invest in an energy-efficient vehicle.
The average U.S. office worker uses 10,000 sheets of paper a year (Source: Sierra Club), and a recent Xerox study found that more than 45% of office papers could be discarded on the day they were printed. Additionally, the average organization spends about $20 in labor to file each paper document, $120 in labor searching for each misfiled document, and $220 in re-creation of a document (Source: Pricewaterhousecoopers). Considerable time and resources is wasted in managing paper documentation. This can be easily remedied by going digital. Keep files on computers instead of in a file cabinet and review documents on screen rather than printing.
If you must print, do so double-sided and on 100% recycled paper. Also, be sure to recycle empty toner and ink cartridges through a mail-in program or at a local drop-off center. Check out Earth911.com for local listings.
Place communal recycling bins in busy areas like the break room, near the printer, and by the mailing area. Just about any kind of paper, including envelopes with windows and junk mail, can be recycled.
E-Waste (electronics) can cause significant health and environmental problems if not properly disposed. If your office is tossing e-waste into the garbage, this will lead to higher waste bills and increased chance of environmental contamination. If your office is tossing e-waste into the recycling bin, all recyclables can become contaminated and recycling efforts lost. There are numerous organizations that will accept working and non-working e-waste, like cell phones, computers, printers, and monitors, and let you send proceeds to the charity of your choice.
Ink cartridges and batteries can be easily recycled via retailer drop boxes or free mail-in programs.
Office computers waste approximately $1 billion worth of electricity a year (Source: Sierra Club). During the day, set your computer to go to sleep automatically during short breaks, which can cut energy use by 70 percent. Turning off your computer when you leave for the day will also make a huge impact, especially if it’s plugged into a power strip and everything on your desktop can be shut off at once.
Lighting accounts for approximately 35% of electricity usage in U.S. offices (Source: Buildings Energy Data Book).To help reduce your office’s energy consumption, turn off lights in offices and conference rooms that are not in use, and use CFL light bulbs. If possible, utilize natural light. Lighting upgrades are likely to reduce cooling costs more than they increase heating costs.
Ask if the cleaning crew can switch to green/non-toxic cleaning products. You can also place plants around the office to help clean the air.
Instead of wasting plastic or Styrofoam cups every day, get a reusable coffee mug. There are websites that you can even design your own coffee mug.
Bringing your lunch in reusable containers is a green and easy way to eat at work. If you must go out to lunch, pick something local so you can walk instead of drive.
Being green starts from the inside out, so by replacing a few behaviors you’re not only doing your part, you’re setting an example for the residents in your community to go green.
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