There are a range of methods which can be employed to make your workplace more environmentally sound. Though they may be harder to implement, due to the requisite approval from your employer(s), they are definitely worth being mindful of; this article outlines a few ways in which improvements can be made.
Minimize the amount of paper used
A nice starting point; this can be achieved in many ways. Perhaps one of the most obvious is to print fewer documents; with the advent of email this is now easier than ever, and a quick internal email can replace the old fashioned memo, and save a sheet of paper in the process. The same can be achieved with presentation hand-outs, receipts for payments, and many other documents used in the workplace.
If a document must be printed, ensure that double-sided printing is used, as this will halve the amount of required paper. Not only does this save you money, it also reduces the impact of your business’ printing on the environment. Unfortunately some older printers do not offer this function, which brings us to the next point.
This is so easy, yet so effective. Dividing the rubbish bin into two separate bins, one for trash and one for recyclables, allows you and your colleagues to do your bit for the environment with minimal thought and effort. The simple act of separating recyclables and non-recyclables means that cans, bottles, paper and cardboard will be recycled into other products rather than being incinerated or put into landfill.
Out with the old, in with the new!
Though the initial expense may be off-putting, replacing old IT equipment with newer versions can reduce your carbon footprint, and may lower future costs through reducing the need for maintenance. Modernizing computers and printers, for example, is likely to reduce electricity bills and will optimize the efficiency of your office operations (new machines are faster, and may feature settings that were not present in, their ancestors).
- Equipment you may consider replacing includes:
- CRT monitors: replace with LCD monitors (lower power consumption)
- Printers: replace with newer models (more efficient with toner consumption, offer double-sided printing)
- Lights: old bulbs can be replaced with energy saving bulbs (the clue is in the name!)
What to do with the old equipment?
Replacing old equipment is all well and good, but it does lumber you with a large amount of redundant equipment to dispose of. In this day and age, simply throwing old computers in the bin won’t cut it. This is not only because of the environmental impact of doing so; if the thrown out computers are found, important files left on them may be accessed by individuals outside of your business.
In terms of the environmental aspect, the chemicals and toxins found in old electronics can contaminate the area in which they are disposed, and cause lasting effects to the surrounding ecosystems. WEEE (Waste Electrical and Electronic Equipment) recycling can help you to dispose of unwanted equipment while protecting the environment and your data. WEEE recycling may be an option worthy of considering for disposing of your business’ electronics.
Author Bio: Chris Lee is studying for a BA in Music, and also enjoys blogging on a range of topics including cooking, being a student, and IT. This post was written on behalf of Equanet; providers of WEEE recycling options.