It's a lot easier than it used to be for businesses to be a little bit Greener - or a lot. Here are some ideas collected from a variety of sources:
If you absolutely have to print an e-mail, take a look at a free program called GreenPrint (www.printgreener.com). It allows you to print just the relevant pages of an e-mail that sometimes can have a history attached that runs many pages.
Or, try printing on the back of old e-mail. Just draw a big X through the old version and print of the good side.
Once you've used up all of the options of a piece of paper, make sure it gets recycled either through your regular trash hauler or at a school recycling center.
You can also save paper by using a paperless "fax to email" service, where incoming faxes are sent to an email address instead of printing out on a traditional fax machine. Once received, you can share and store your faxes as PDF files. This type of service is available from Fax Michigan, an MBPA member (www.faxmichigan.com).
Refill computer printer ink and other toner cartridges at an office supply or specialty store and recycle the ones that can't be refilled.
And those compact fluorescent bulbs? Use them. They are far less of a premium over conventional bulbs now that they are in mass production and they can save hundreds of dollars a year on your electric bill. An example - if you replace only five 100-watt incandescent light bulbs with their compact fluorescent counterparts, you'll save more than $100 just in energy costs alone over a five-year period. One caution is they can't be thrown out; they have to be disposed of at a recycling center because of the metals they contain.
Consider unplugging non-essential electrical equipment at the end of the week. Alot of equipment these days are always "on" even when you think they're "off." A weekend, after all, represents 28 percent of your total potential electric bill. Many electric utilities have online calculators, such as DTE Energy's www.energyguide.com, to help you see how much you're saving.
Consider assessing your company’s overall energy usage. One of our members, Carbon Credit Environmental Services offers a Comprehensive Sustainability Assessment that includes an energy audit, CO2 and GHG audit, thermal imaging of your building and equipment, water and waste assessment and helps you determine your carbon footprint. Contact Harry Orrell at email@example.com or visit their site at www.getcarboncreditco2.com
Consider stagger employees' hours so that they don't have to drive in rush hour, where the amount of gas burned can be considerable. Statistics show the average Detroit area driver spends more than a week a year (plus some overtime) in traffic jams. If it's possible to telecommute from home a day or two a week, that's even better.
Another possibility is to see if employees can carpool. It may mean adjusting schedules or even work assignments, but with gas approaching $4 a gallon, spreading the cost among carpool is like getting a raise.
Use suppliers that will take back packaging either for re-use or recycling.
Clean with green in mind. The chemicals you choose to clean with impact everyone's health. Select safer products that are available from most office supply and green retailers.
Refurbished or recycled furniture makes for sustainable workspaces. Looking to buy...sourcing from companies that use sustainable wood and non-toxic finishes are two key factors.
Don't trade that computer - upgrade. Nearly all desktops and laptops are built with the availability to upgrade. Buying one new part is far more cost efficient and plant-friendly than buying new computers.
Save waste, water, and energy Easily. Turn off all electronics at the end of the day. Use lower power settings on existing equipment such as refrigerators, heating and cooling systems. Fix any possible leaks in faucets and pipes...one drip can waste a great deal and become a bigger problem later on.
Consider alternative work spaces and travel, as well as carbon effects. Consider virtual meetings and telecommuting to save money and resources. Try to offset your unavoidable heating/cooling emissions by using companies like LiveNeutral, CarbonFund, or TerraPass who, for a fee that goes toward other green programs.
Challenge local governmental offices to be as Green as you are!
If you have additional ideas, e-mail us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
For additional energy saving ideas from our partner Corporate Express / Staples, please check out their ‘Green Guide’