Going green feels great and helps save the planet — so why not do it while getting paid?
No matter what type of job you attend every day, there are plenty of ways to shrink your professional carbon footprint. Here are nine ideas you can implement starting tomorrow:
- Carpool or use public transportation. In America, we’re married to the notion of total independence that our personal automobiles afford us. But did you know that the average carpooler can save up to $600 per month, or that 70% of carpoolers ride with just one other person? Try working out a rideshare with a friend, neighbor, or apartment mate.
- Reduce paper usage. Print using both sides of the paper, and save all usable scrap paper. Keep important filing information on a virtual database instead of in filing cabinets, and simply print it out if it a physical copy is needed.
- Green up the office — literally. That’s right, bring in some plants to offset some of the CO2 emissions your office produces. Ferns, bamboo, and English ivy are excellent at cleaning the air and adding joy to an office.
- Fans beat air conditioning. While air conditioning is often essential, it is not necessary to cryogenically freeze the office — even cooling to 65ºF uses a tremendous amount of energy and results in some colleagues wearing sweaters in the summertime. Supplement or replace air conditioner use with fans, which keep you cool with a fraction of the energy usage.
- Donate instead of trashing. When printers, chairs, desks, and computers get replaced with shinier upgrades, don’t just throw them out. Donate them to others in the community, including startup businesses who may need help cutting expenses while getting started.
- Pass on peanuts. If you ship things regularly, eschew the packing peanuts and instead choose greener options like air-filled bags or recycled newspaper.
- Use green cleaning supplies. Organic, earth-friendly cleaning supplies may have a reputation for not being as effective as chemical cleaners, but the technology behind them has advanced considerably. Try fragrance- and color-free dish soaps, as well as organic cleaning products to improve the health and footprint of your company.
- Turn off the lights. Turning off the lights after you leave has a larger impact on carbon footprint than most people realize. Turn off the lamp at your desk if it’s not needed. Flick the lights off after leaving the conference room, bathroom, or any other shared space.
- No more bottled water. The amount of plastic littering the earth is staggering. Bring a reusable bottle to work and simply refill it.
Minor adjustments in convenience can have major impacts on the carbon footprint. You may just find these practices rubbing off on coworkers — so start demonstrating what a sustainable workday looks like.