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Green Your Office in Ten Easy Steps
At Green America we are committed to making sure that we "walk the talk" by making our office a green and healthy place. And every year, we commit to taking one new step.
Here are some ideas to help you get started on your own office greening.
1. Make your office 'Climate Cool' through Green America’s partnership with NativeEnergy
You can offset the carbon dioxide emissions associated with your office’s energy use and business travel by joining a “green tags” program. Green tags are energy credits created by renewable energy facilities that represent the environmental benefits of green power generation.
At Green America’s offices, we offset 100 percent of our global warming emissions through a green tag program with NativeEnergy, which is helping to build a 10MW wind farm on the Rosebud Sioux Reservation in South Dakota.
If your office holds conferences or other events, be sure to consider offsets for all the travel to the event. We make offsets available for all of our events including Green Festival®, our Green Business Conference, and our annual social investing conference.
Be sure to do an annual energy audit. Many utilities around the country offer them for free. If your office rents its space, encourage your landlord to do the audit and require it as a condition in your next lease negotiation.
2. Switch your office paper use to 100% recycled
Did you know that the average US worker uses 12,000 sheets of paper per year?
Paper accounts for roughly 40% of all municipal solid waste in the United States. Whether you work in an office or telecommute from home, chances are you use a lot of paper. Green America committed to switching our paper for our publications and our member letters to 100% post consumer recycled paper.
3. Introduce Fair Trade Certified™ and organic coffee and tea into your workplace.
Green America is encouraging workplaces all across the country to become Fair Trade Workplaces by switching their office coffee to Fair Trade Certified™. Go the extra step by looking for Fair Trade Certified™ and organic coffee.
Check out the National Green Pages™ to find green business that carry Fair trade coffee as well as tea, cocoa, and other Fair Trade products.
Do you already work in a Fair Trade Workplace? Sign up to be a member Green America's Fair Trade Alliance, a national network of workplaces, faith congregations, schools, and community groups working to promote Fair Trade in their communities.
4. Invest in reuseable plates, cups, and utensils
Ask people in your office to bring in some items from home. Or, check out a yard sale on the weekend to find second hand items for office use.
5. Make sure your office recycles paper, aluminum, glass, and plastic
If your building does not already offer the service, look for an independent recycling firm that can come and pick up your office recyclables on a weekly or biweekly basis. If this isn’t an option in your area, work with individuals in your office to encourage people to take their recyclables home with them to put in their own residential curbside recycling.
6. Switch office light bulbs to compact fluorescent bulbs
While the initial investment may cost more than conventional bulbs, CFLs last longer-- so over time your office will save money and save energy.
7. Start an office compost program
At Green America, we keep a sealed compost container in our office kitchen and individual staff members take turns taking the compost home to add to their own compost piles. You can also chip in to get a worm composter for your office kitchen.
8. Encourage use of green transportation to and from work
Offer incentives to encourage people to take public transportation, walk, bike, or car pool.
9. Buy green gifts
Whether you are buying a special gift for a client or a present for an office baby shower, make sure you buy green or Fair Trade items to show that you care about your customers and co-workers as well as people and the planet.
10. Get a Green America membership for your office
You'll get even more ideas about how to green your office purchasing choices. You’ll receive a free copy of the National Green Pages™, a subscription to our green living newsletter Real Green, and much more! Join now »