Being conscious of the impact we have on the environment, we at Blink;Tech have found a few tricks that have helped us achieve a lighter carbon footprint. If you’re looking to create a working environment that is better for the planet, better for your health, and better for your bottom line, we hope a few of these will work for you as well as they have for us.
- Whether you’re in the office or working from home, chances are good that you spend a great part of your day indoors, and it’s that space in your life which could probably use the most greening. Due to the chemicals released from thousands of products, the Environmental Protection Agency reports that volatile organic compounds (VOC’s) are consistently up to 10 times higher indoors than outdoors. Get some indoor plants, like ferns, bamboo, or spider plants to filter some of those VOC’s. You can also save your coffee grounds to feed them as they add great nutrients to the soil.
- To assist in creating the right ambiance, you’ve also got to consider the lighting. According to WorldWatch Institute, the United States could avoid 158 million tons of carbon dioxide emissions, which is equivalent to taking over 30 million cars off the road, if only every incandescent bulb was replaced with a compact florescent light (CFL). Considering that 44% of the electricity use in office buildings is for artificial lighting, according to the Sierra Club, changing to CFL or LED lights is a great step toward a greener workplace.
- We’re fortunate that the BOLD building has a filtered water dispenser to fill our glasses, mugs, and water bottles, but even if you don’t have a fancy filter, tap water is just as safe, if not safer, than bottled water. America uses about 50 billion water bottles a year, recycling only 23% of them. Hydrate the right way: use refillable drinking containers.
- It’s also time to reconsider paper use. It’s estimated that the average US office worker uses 10,000 sheets of copy paper every year, averaging out to about 4 million tons of copy paper a year in the U.S. alone. Unfortunately, most things that are printed don’t really need to be.
- If you’re disposing of paper, recycle it. Recycling paper instead of producing it from virgin wood saves 55% of the water and takes 60-70% less energy. If you’re buying paper, get the recycled kind.
- Direct deposit saves paper, saves time, saves postage, and saves money. Pay your employees and independent contractors directly and electronically. Most banks offer this service, and companies like Venmo are making it easier for freelancers.
- Opt out of catalogs you’re probably never going to order from and other junk mail. Also consider cancelling subscriptions to printed publication and read the same articles on your computer or e-reader instead of newspapers, magazines, and trade journals. You may even want to forgo holiday gift cards and upgrade to e-cards, which are more customizable and include audio and video.
- As so much work these days is done on computers, it’s actually better for efficiency and the environment to keep it there. Keep things digital as much as you can. By utilizing file-sharing websites like DropBox or Google Drive, files no longer need to be stored in cabinets, which makes things a lot easier come moving day.
- Use the energy saving settings on your computer. It’s estimated that computer use results in over $1 billion in electricity usage a year. Whether you’re taking a short break of 15 minutes or you’re taking off for the night, let your computer get some sleep and stop draining unnecessary power.
- If you can telecommute, save the gas. Whether you’re able to work from home or merely want to save the travel time it takes to get to and from a meeting, instant messaging, video conferencing, and other innovative workflow tools are revolutionizing the way people work. According to Treehugger, 44 million Americans now telecommute, which allows for greater agility and efficiency for many.
These are just a few of the ways Blink;Tech has found to become as green as we can be. The best thing about each of these tactics is that they’re not only better for the planet, they’re more efficient, cost effective, and productive as well. We love a good win/win scenario.