Most of us are pretty diligent about recycling every week. For some of us, the kitchen scraps go to the composter, and glass, plastic and cans are all separated. That’s great for the kitchen, but what about the rest of the house? What most don’t realize is the home office offers a huge opportunity for eco-friendly living, but largely goes ignored.
Many don’t think twice of using high quality non-recycled paper, or tossing ink cartridges and old electronics in the garbage. Leaving a computer on overnight seems innocent enough until you multiply that energy use by millions of households.
The three main home office offenders are energy waste, paper consumption and hazardous waste. Here are some tips to make your home office a little more eco-friendly.
Put your electronics to bed at night. Connect your computer, speakers, fax, printer, etc. to a power bar and turn them all off with the flick of a switch at the end of the day. It’s a common misconception that you should leave a computer on all night. There is a peak in the power when you turn it on, but nothing compared to what it uses over a 24 hour period.
Opt for a laptop. Not only do these have the benefit of being portable, laptops consume one-eighth the power of a desktop computer. Imagine if everyone in a household all had their own computers, they still wouldn’t use the energy of one bulky desktop.
Go for the flat screen. An LCD (Liquid Crystal Display) or flat screen monitor uses less than half the energy of the traditional CRT (Cathode Ray Tube) monitors. Not to mention that they are easier to read, lighter and cause less eye strain.
Reuse & recycle. I had a friend who used to save any of her junk mail that was still in good condition and when doing simple printing jobs, she would use the blank side of those pages. It was such a simple concept that made so much sense, and worked great for those quick map or recipe print outs.
Save and reuse paper clips, elastics and push pins, and use rechargeable batteries and refillable toner cartridges.
For your garbage paper, keep a recycling bin next to your desk for handy use. Keep another bin nearby for expired rechargeable batteries, old inkjet and toner cartridges, or electronics. Once you have a collection built up, take them back to any Staples Business Depot for recycling.
Dead batteries should be saved and dropped off at your local waste depot for safe disposal. That corrosive acid they contain will seep out into the environment if left in a landfill site.
When buying paper, read the labels. What most people don’t realize is that much of the paper we use every day comes from old-growth forests. When you read the labels on the packages, look for: 100% recycled ( your 1st choice); or minimum FFC certification, which means the paper was made from trees grown in a sustainably managed forest.
Switch to fluorescent bulbs. A fluorescent bulb uses 2/3 less energy than a common incandescent bulb. When you add up all the bulbs in the house, that energy savings translates into saved dollars!
By: Matt Barker
About the Author: