How To Be Green At Work And Save Money

By: Genevieve Bourgeois

While you and your family may have perfected your green routine at home, sustainability measures often fall by the way-side in the work place. Below are five easy, eco-friendly tips to help you green up your act while on the job. And as an added bonus, most of these ideas will save either you or your organization money.

  1. Put your computer down for a nap & nix the screen saver: According to the University of California, Riverside, by setting your computer to go to sleep during periods of inactivity you can cut your energy use by 70%. Screen savers only waste energy so get rid of them. And thanks to advances in display technology, we no longer need them to protect our monitors from phosphor burn-in. Finally, please don't forget to turn off your computer along with all of your other electrical appliances at the end of the day! Remember, less energy used means a lower electricity bill.

  2. Pack a lunch: Not only are homemade lunches better for your health, they're also better for your wallet and for the environment. Avoid styrofoam take-away boxes and plastic cutlery by preparing your own meals (hopefully they include lots of organic and locally grown veggies!) in re-usable containers.

  3. Stop! Don't print!: Thanks to modern technology, there's really no need to print off the latest draft of that report you've been stressing over. Google Docs allows you to create and share your work with colleagues online and to access your documents from anywhere in the world. If you absolutely must print something make sure that it's double-sided. If everyone played by these rules just imagine how many trees we could save. Not to mention the money we would save on paper, printer ink and toner cartridges.

  4. Make it easy: People are much more likely to recycle if it's simple. Talk to your boss about putting well-labeled recycling bins in high traffic areas. If you're feeling ambitious you might also consider starting a battery recycling program (see: Earth911's How To Create a Workplace Recycling Program ).

  5. Share the road: Get to know your colleagues. If there's a few of you that live in the same area consider carpooling. Alternatively, there is always public transportation which is another great way to make some new friends. Well, maybe not but at least you can reduce your carbon footprint and save some money on gas and parking!

These are just some very basic tips for getting started on the path to a sustainable work place. If you're ready to step up your green game then there are plenty of resources available to help you get organized. One of my favourites is the David Suzuki at Work Toolkit because it shows how being environmentally friendly can actually save money. Sounds like a great way to impress the boss to me!