White Collar Goes Green: What You Can Do to Implement Green Practices in the Workplace

Whether you live for recycling and bleed green, or you would rather have a root canal than watch another documentary on global warming, it is becoming almost a prerequisite to business credibility to employ green initiatives in your workplace.  No matter where you fall on the “go green” scale, simply put, green is good for business, and good for you as a person.  Who WOULDN’T want to do business with a company who is socially responsible and cognizant of its footprint on the environment? Depletion or resources and effects of pollution are visible consequences that we all can see with our own eyes; despite the differing sides on environmental debates, I think we can all agree that making small modifications in our daily activities at the office is a small price to pay to inhabit the earth.  It will not only brighten the light in which your corporation is viewed, it is also a civic duty and a real nice favor for Mother Earth to say, “Hey, thanks for having me!”
Enough with the preaching, it’s time to start implementing these green practices for yourself.  Below are some tips from Working.com to get you started.
1)  Reduce paper: Before reusing or recycling waste, reduce it first. By making small changes like setting all printers to print on both sides and using e-mail and intranet for internal documents, the firm is saving about 350,000 sheets of paper each year. The reduction is not only smart for the environment, but smart for company spending.
2) Green power: Mississauga-based design and marketing agency Davis is one of hundreds of companies that uses green electricity provided by Bullfrog Power. The power company now provides 100 per cent renewable electricity to residents and businesses in Ontario and Alberta. Bullfrog uses solar, wind and low-impact hydro sources to power its client sites.
3) Better transportation: While your company may not be able to bus in workers every day, it can encourage staff to take public transit, carpool, bike or walk to the office. Offer safe bicycle storage, showers and change rooms. Better yet, give financial honorariums to employees who find greener ways to work, like subsidize monthly public transit passes. 
4) Telecommuting: Employees who are given the opportunity to work from home consistently rave about its advantages, most significant is their increased time and productivity. If that’s not enough, companies should also consider the positive impact telecommuting could have on their ecological footprints. With fewer workers in the office, companies require less office space, therefore less energy. But the greatest advantage is that with fewer cars on the road, everyone spends less time idling behind the wheel.
5) Pick products wisely: Instead of offering coffee in disposable cups or birthday cake on paper plates at meetings and office parties, encourage employees to bring their own mug, cutlery and dish wear when possible. For things your office must consume, try to make those goods as environmentally-friendly as possible. For example, use paper made from post-consumer waste and use remanufactured toner cartridges for your printing needs.
6) Ban Styrofoam: Styrofoam, also known as expanded polystyrene (EPS) is commonly found in takeout food containers. But EPS has been proven to be both an environmental and health hazard. Its components include proven carcinogens, mutagens and have been linked to health problems like leukemia, anemia and neurological disorders. It’s also non-biodegradable.
7) Recycle: While most are used to separating their waste at home, most offices lag when it comes to resources for recycling. Companies can and should lead by example by offering accessible recycling bins in workspaces, cafeterias, meeting rooms and other common areas.
8) Green design and appliances: If your company is planning to move to a new location, make the effort to incorporate eco-friendly design and appliance choices. Use energy-efficient light bulbs and pick Energy Star appliances for the staff kitchen and cafeteria. If building from scratch, pick renewable materials.
9) Buy Carbon Offsets: Arnold & Porter is unable to eliminate all travel, so it pays for carbon emission offsets for all business flights. Through organizations like Zerofootprint and Offsetters, companies can purchase offsets for their flights, energy use and other sources of carbon emissions.
10) Pick green business partners: Do your research when picking partners and services. Use businesses that choose to follow environmentally-friendly practices. For example, pick a courier that uses hybrid vehicles or choose a catering company that prepares meals with locally-sourced food. You’ll encourage others to be greener and like the proverb that says “you may know a man by the company he keeps,” clients will judge you by the company you keep.

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