Going green is fast becoming a way of life for many of us at home but how often do we think of the offices where we work? If you haven’t really given it much thought now’s a good time to start. It’s easy to integrate simple routines into your work day that will help all of us to lessen the impact we have on our Eco-system. Contrary to the popular belief that going green will cost you more, the reality is you usually will save money in the long run. So let’s take a look at 10 simple ways to go green in the office.
1 – Shut down Computers & Printers When Not Being Used
Just about all of us in just about every business now use computers; it has become our central tool. We all too often forget how much energy these machines use and leave them on. Optimize the energy settings on these and other devices can save a lot of energy over the long run. You can set computers to their energy saving settings while using them and shut them down when you leave for the day. Don’t be fooled by the “standby” setting, the unit will continue to draw power in this mode. Don’t forget the printers, same thing, turn them off when leaving but remember to power down ink jet printers because they need to seal the cartridges. Let’s make this easy, put everything you use at your desk on a power strip and just push one button when leaving and your done!
2 – Go Paperless Wherever You Can
Even though we sell Eco-friendly ink and toners for printers we don’t pull any punches and will always give you the best thing you can do for the environment. You should go digital where ever this makes sense for you. There are plenty of ways to go digital now with products like Dropbox (make this a link). By using this product you can save just about everything you used to print and store in a file cabinet in electronic form. Anyone in the world that has access to the product can open the files contained within. Depending on the settings you chose other members of your team can view them, edit them and add or delete files. Using software like this you not only save on paper but also on office space because you greatly reduce the amount of filing cabinets you need. One other piece of software that helps on saving paper is a product called Greenprint (make a link to this)which helps to eliminate blank pages from documents before printing.
3 – Choose a Font That Saves on Ink
Your first reaction may very well be like mine, how much can just changing fonts save me. It can save a ton! A company called Ecofont has a product that can save you up to 50% on printing cost. Ecofont leaves small holes in each font that is not visible to the naked eye thus saving on ink. There is also other options you can choose that saves paper by printing without unnecessary images or printing only small selections from a long email conversation. Saving 50% on any line item cost in your office is a big deal by anyone’s standard. They offer three versions, Home Edition, 3-Pack and Enterprise edition. This is probably the easiest and most cost effective way to save paper, ink, and money in your office.
4 – Use Smart Power strips
The use of Power Strips on all of your equipment will help to curb the “Phantom Load” which can save you a surprising amount on your electric bill. Just shutting off your laser printer when you’re not using it, for example, could save you as much as $120 annually. Imagine if you have a fleet of laser printers and you did this to all of them, the savings can really add up
5 – Electricity Monitor
Go to your local hardware store and get an Electricity Monitor. Some local libraries will even loan you one so you can see where the energy hogs are in your office. Again for just a few dollars you could very easily save hundreds every year.
6 – Switch to LED Light Bulbs
This is an obvious one but it’s so important it belongs in the top 10 ways to green your office. Change those light bulbs to the new LED light bulbs. They give the same light for less than one-quarter of the electricity and can last for up to 20 years. Yes they do cost more than a standard light bulb but how long do they last? This one is really a no brainer.
7 – Buy less stuff!
Reduce, re-use and recycle. This is a tough one for many of us but by buying less we are helping to lower our carbon foot print. All the products we buy have to be manufactured somewhere and where there is manufacturing you can bet there is some form of pollution going on.
8 – Avoid Unnecessary Printing
Only print what you absolutely need to. If you really take a look at what you are printing you may be surprised at how much you print a week and then toss the printed material in the trash. Any web page or document can be saved to your computer or in one of many cloud based services.
9 –Choose Eco-friendly office supplies
Before buying office supplies the next time take a few minutes and see if there is an alternative that you can buy that is Eco-friendly. There still seems to be a misconception out there that if you go green it will cost more, that is not always the case.
10 – Repair Your Computers
Repairing your computers is a great way to go green and save you a ton of money. Our generation seems fixated on always having to buy the newest and the fastest. It’s amazing the upgrades that can be installed on computers to being them back to better than new condition and run faster to in many cases for much less than it would cost you to buy new.
We truly hope some of these suggestions will get you going on the path to a greener office and as always we would love to hear from you on how you have taken steps to go green in your office. The way I look at it if we all share our ideas it makes it easier for all of us.
The Dumbest idea for 2015, burn wood to produce electricity in place of coal!
Ink & Toner Solutions is in the business of recycling and reusing spent printer cartridge to save them from the landfill saving millions of barrels of oil a year which helps save our resources and cut down on our carbon foot print. So when we see our elected officials proposing something as stupid as this it makes us feel like were fighting a losing battle.
Can you imagine a day when we no longer have to cut down millions of trees a year so we can produce paper for printing? In my humble opinion that day will come. Back in the late 80’s and early 90s there was a lot of talk about the “paperless office”. The personnel computer was here and we were then introduced to the ink jet and laser printer which could be connected to the computer. What a marvelous invention, gone were the days of the electric type writer and all of the manual corrections that went with that form of printing. Now we could create documents that were easy to correct & save to a computer. But wait, now we could also print just about anything we found on that new platform, the internet. So instead of ushering in the paperless office we created offices that were producing much more printed pages than before.
So what happened was simple, when you make something really really easy to use people, will use it more and more. I have no scientific proof for this but I know it to be true. Think about it, before ink jet printers we had the electric typewriter and of course we made mistakes. Mistakes back then were corrected with a thing called whiteout ink or tape. For those of you too young to remember the whiteout ink was in a small bottle with a tiny brush. When you made a mistake you would have to stop, back the paper up in the printer, dab some whiteout on your mistake, blow on it to make sure it was dry, manually turn the paper back to the position of the mistake and start typing again. And then came the next great invention, whiteout on a roll, roll your mistakes away. Even with the fastest typeset this was still slow going. The end result, you only printed what you had to.
With the modern ink jet or laser printer we connect it to a computer that has a program installed that lets us type using our computer & keyboard. Making a mistake now means you simply go to the mistake, hit the delete button and retype. Spelling error, no problem, run your spell checker. Want to know how many words in that document, easy, run your program that checks the word count. The boss wants multiply copies, no need for carbon paper anymore, just enter the number of copies you want and presto, out they come on the printer. So what do you think happened to the “paperless office”? It went right down the tubes. People actually printed more, lots more, like crazy more.
This was not only limited to the office, when I got into this business in 2004 producing home photo’s was the rage. Kids would also print everything they seen when on line, I actually had mothers tell me their kids were using up all the ink they were buying on this. Not to mention the mothers were printing every recipe they seen and who knows what the fathers were printing, fishing tips maybe. A printing craze ensued.
That’s then and now is now. Here’s my point, even though my business Ink & Toner Solutions is in the business of selling ink and toner cartridges for these printers, what I would like to propose is kill your printer. I know you’re sitting there thinking this guy must be crazy, he’s advocating something that would potentially kill his business. That may be but what’s the right thing to do? CVS did the right thing when they stopped selling cigarettes. They lost millions in revenue, this was one of their biggest profit centers but they made a hard decision and did the right thing. Selling a product that is killing people went completely against what CVS was all about.
When I started Ink & Toner Solutions my reason was to sell high quality Eco-friendly ink and toner cartridges that helps to keep them from ending up in the landfills. We do this by reusing the spent printer cartridges and remanufacture them to original specifications. It was my way of contributing to saving our resources and reusing and recycling a product. Well times have changes and there are better ways to save our documents than printing them and saving a hard copy. There are excellent products available to everyone from the individual home owner to a large corporation that will save and store any and all information you can think of.
In my next post I’ll go over some of the options out there that just may help you not to print so much and help to save some of those trees.