Going Green! What can you do to help?
Businesses primarily work towards improving lives through products and services that they provide. Unfortunately, the vast majority of businesses do so in ways that are not sustainable to our planet. At Vision Design & Development, we ask you to do your part and empower your fellow employees to do the same. By creating a work environment that is run on green products and driven by green practices, you can help jump start the transition to sustainability in the workplace.
One of the most common misunderstandings about going green is that it is highly costly when in realty it has been proven to save a substantial amount of money. As a matter of fact, many leading, cutting edge corporations have already integrated successful green tactics as part of the core values. Our creative team at Vision Design & Development has carefully studied these tactics and compiled a list of simple steps you can take to make a difference in your workplace, and your world!
1) Go Easy on Paper
Fact: Nearly 40 billion trees are chopped down worldwide every year for paper products.
Solution: Despite many predictions made about going paperless with the boom of faster computers and the internet, tons of paper is still being used in the office. To reduce your paper consumption, start storing your files on the computer and don’t print unless you absolutely have to. And when you do print, use both sides of the page when appropriate and reuse misprints as scratch paper. When buying printer paper, look for minimally processed paper with a high percentage of post-consumer content. If your office ships packages, reuse boxes and use shredded waste paper as packing material.
2) Bring in Your Own Mug
Fact: 25,000,000,000 Styrofoam cups end up in landfills every year. They take up 25% of our landfills and are not recyclable. In addition they leech toxic chemicals in our waterways that make their way into our rivers, oceans, fish, farmlands, and eventually our bodies.
Solution: Whether it is coffee, tea, or water you enjoy sipping on while working, the cup you are using makes a world of difference. Instead of filling landfills with disposable cups and spending money that is literally going into the ground, add your personal touch by bringing your own mug. Besides, it will create a better sense of space for you at work and thus increase productivity.
3) Be a Green Commuter
Fact: The average working American spends 47 hours commuting through rush hour traffic every year. This adds up to 3.7 billion hours and 23 billion gallons of gas wasted in traffic each year.
Solution: You can ease some of this strain by carpooling to work. You’ll save on gas dollars and get access to speedy carpool lanes. Not to mention the fun you’ll have sharing office gossip on the road. If there is no way to avoid using your car, consider getting a hybrid. Using public transportation is also great alternative. It costs far less than driving a car and will provides passengers with leisure time instead of road rage. If you live within a few miles to work, consider biking or walking. It will provide you with a great opportunity to exercise everyday and a produces zero carbon emissions. And lastly, try working from home once a week. Instant messaging, video conferencing, and other innovative tools make effective telecommuting a reality. It’ll save you the time you would have spent on the trip as well as sparing the air.
4) Stop the Energy Drain
Fact: Nearly 75% of the electricity used to power office electronics is consumed while the products are turned off; creating what is known as “phantom energy”.
Solution: Workplaces are some of the biggest energy sucking culprits out there with all the copiers, computers, printers, and scanners being used. Set computers to energy-saving settings and make sure to shut them down when you leave for the day. Keep in mind that “standby” settings will continue to draw power even when not in use. By plugging hardware into a power strip, the whole desktop setup can be turned off at once, thus stopping the drain of phantom energy and avoiding unnecessary wear and tear on your hardware. Printers, scanners, and other peripherals that are only used occasionally can be unplugged until they’re needed. For even more savings, switch to CFL bulbs for lighting which use up to 66% less energy. And of course, turn off lights in spaces that are unoccupied.
5) Recycle Recycle Recycle
Fact: Americans go through 25 billion plastic bottles and 36 billion aluminum cans every year. Only 10% of these bottles and cans end up being recycled. The rest are destined to landfills. The aluminum cans landfilled last year had a scrap value of more than $600 million! Some day we'll be mining our landfills for the resources we've buried.
Solution: The beauty of aluminum is that it can be recycled virtually an infinite number of times. Recycling aluminum also saves 95% of the energy needed to produce new aluminum from raw materials. Create a recycling program in your office for cans, bottles and paper. Get recycling bins and clearly label every bin to indicate what items go in the bin. Be sure to arrange for collection with your waste management company or a nearby recycling center. Most importantly, keep up the enthusiasm by creating an employee recycling incentive program that recognizes employees who recycle the company's waste.