6 Small Ways to Save the Planet While You Work

Protecting the environment can be accomplished even when you’re at work.

If you have a job, you more than likely spend a lot of time there — at least 8 hours a day for many of us. That’s a lot of time to be in one place, and you might not think that you can be environmentally conscious while at your job, but you can use these six ways to save the planet while at work.

Humans are becoming more aware of the impact we are having on the world and the environment, and we are looking for ways to mitigate those impacts. You may be doing your part by using reusable grocery bags and recycling things such as paper and cans at home, but you can also do your part while at work. Below are six ways to save the planet while you work.

  1. Be Water-Conscious

Having clean water that comes through a faucet at your convenience is a luxury, and it’s one that we shouldn’t take for granted. Be aware of how long you run the tap to wash your hands or do the dishes in the breakroom and see if you can reduce the amount of time it’s on. Use a reusable water bottle to cut down on waste, and if you have water at the end of the day that you aren’t using, pour it into an office plant instead of down the drain.

If possible, find out if low-flow toilets have been installed in the building or if they can be installed. Find out how much water is used for the landscaping, and if it’s a lot, suggest putting in native plants that require less water to maintain.

  1. Reduce the Amount of Paper You Use

The amount of paper produced in the U.S. is more than 300 million tons. While you may find it necessary and useful for a while, eventually that paper needs to be discarded, and that’s when it has a major impact on the environment. Before printing anything in the office, decide if it needs to be a hard copy or if you can access it on the computer. If you have to print, make sure to print on both sides of the page to reduce the amount of paper used. When you’re done, recycle the used paper.

  1. Be Energy Conscious

One of the most significant impacts your office has on the environment is its use of energy. These costs come in both known prices (what is paid for the bill) and hidden environmental costs. There are a variety of ways to reduce utility bills and lessen the environmental impacts, including:

  • Turning off lights and equipment when they are not in use (or installing sensors so that lights turn on and off automatically when someone is in the room),
  • Installing programmable thermostats so that the air conditioner or heater only runs when people are in the office,
  • Making sure that any equipment that stays running for long periods of time is running in the most efficient way possible.

Even if you aren’t the head of the company or don’t pay the bills, you can still do your part to reduce how your employer consumes energy. You might even suggest that your company get an energy audit done so you can know precisely how much power it uses and discover ways to reduce that consumption.

  1. Be Conscious of Your Transport

Vehicles have a nasty habit of emitting noxious fumes into the environment. These emissions impact the air quality and your health. Consider carpooling to work or using public transportation to reduce the volume of emissions spewed into the air. You may even consider riding your bike or walking if you’re close enough to your workplace. This will further reduce the amount of pollution that gets into the environment.

  1. Consider Telecommuting

Another way to reduce the number of harmful emissions that get into the atmosphere is to telecommute. It’s possible to do this for some of your day-to-day activities and one-off meetings. It will also save on travel time and money, so there are numerous benefits to using a computer to collaborate with others.

  1. Use Green Office Products

You might not think about it often, but a lot of the office products you use on a daily basis have an impact on the environment. While disposable pens are cheap and convenient, they have a longer impact when thrown away and find their way to the dump. Consider buying pens that can be refilled. There is also a vast variety of other green products that will reduce your office’s environmental threats, including refillable eraser board markers, recycled paper, and hand-powered shredders.

Saving the planet is a huge job, but taking small steps and doing what you can on a daily basis is a great start. If everyone does their part, at home and at work, even the small steps will play a role in saving the planet.

Guest Post from Kate Harveston a talented political journalist and blogger at Only Slightly Biased

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Kate Harveston