Monday, 3 November 2008
buy nothing month: day three - the green office
Well, we haven't spent any money for three days although I did go a little crazy whilst playing shops earlier and spent a whole purse full of crystals on some pieces of wooden fruit. I also got a slight pang for lunch in a café, rather than having to make everything from scratch again (and wash up afterwards!) but that passed quite quickly.
Our office is also part of the Buy Nothing Challenge as well so we will not be splurging on stationery items this month or indulging in edible treats to fuel the late nights that are often necessary when producing a magazine every two months. We don't really buy 'things' for work though so I thought I would come up with a few other ideas on how to create a really clean green office.
• SAVE PAPER - The average office worker uses 20,000 sheets of A4 paper a year, most of which gets thrown away. It is easy to reduce the amount of paper used though - print and photocopy on both sides, send emails rather than letters, reuse envelopes and turn scrap paper into notepads. Set up an office recycling scheme and be sure to source recycled paper.
• BUY TO LAST - Avoid disposable biros and choose refillable pens or pencils instead. A plastic pen in landfill will still be there in 50,000 years time. Globally 14 million biros are bought a day!
• SOURCE GREEN STATIONERY - Buy recycled stationery, eco staplers and more from the Green Stationery Company. If each of the UK's ten million office workers used one less staple a day, 120 tonnes of steel would be saved a year.
• FAIR TEA BREAK - Drink Fairtrade tea and coffee, bought from a local shop, if possible. Use a real mug, instead of a disposable cup. Rather than buying pastries and cakes to treat colleagues, bring in homemade goodies instead.
• PACK AN ECO LUNCH - Mrs Green recommends a zero waste approach to packed lunches over at the fab Little Green Blog, capitalising on nature's own perfect packaging.
• RECYCLE YOUR CARTRIDGES - Over 7.5 million toner cartridges and 12 million ink cartridges end up in landfill each year - and the sad thing is that about 90% of them could be recycled. Cartridge World says that 12 months of cartridge recycling in the UK could save up to 15 million litres of oil. Look for one of its 280 stores in high streets across the country where you can refill your cartridge instead of buying new. Alternatively check the manufacturers guidelines on the packet for the freepost address to send used cartridges to for recycling.
• RECYCLE FURNITURE - Unwanted furniture can be recycled by Green Works, a not-for-profit organisation that donates office furniture to schools and charities. This reduces landfill, supports projects in need and provides employment for disadvantaged and disabled people.
• SAVE ENERGY - Position desks to get the best natural light. Switch off lights and machines when not in use. Screensavers do not save energy - switch your machine to sleep mode or turn it off.
• GET WATER EFFICIENT - The Environment Agency has produced a range of leaflets to encourage organisations to become more environmentally aware. You can download free guides on becoming more water efficient and other aspects of greening your business.
• LOOK FOR THE STAR - If you need to buy new equipment, look for the Energy Star - a system developed in the US that also applies to goods sold in the UK. Purchasing a printer, modem or monitor with the Energy Star, you know it will be one of the most efficient models and you will save around £25 a year in energy costs.
• READ CHANGE THE WORLD - For heaps of inspiring ideas and actions to take at work, check out We Are What We Do's book - Change the World 9-5.
• TRAVEL LIGHT - Work out your carbon footprint of travelling to and from work and how you can reduce it. Try a car pool and who knows you might find some new friends whilst saving the planet.
• GET A PLANT - House plants improve indoor air quality, they can reduce pollution by 87% in 24 hours. They look good and lift your spirits too.
• GO NEW AGE - I have a selection of crystals round my desk, specifically clear quartz, as it helps to soak up some of the ElectroMagnetic Radiation that leaches from electrical equipment.
Any more ideas? Do let me know ways that you have managed to make your work environment a greener, more lovely place to work!