One in five Americans have kissed their daily commute goodbye and begun working from home. This is already an environmentally friendly move since you use less gas, but that’s not the full extent of the green possibilities! If you’re part of the work-from-home club, or you just use a home office after hours, go one eco-friendly step further with these simple adjustments.
Photo Credit: West Elm
Reduce paper. Eliminating paper from your office entirely may not be realistic, but you can reduce your paper levels without much fuss. Opt for emailed invoices instead of paper alternatives, and scan and email instead of faxing. That way, you’ll be using less paper, because there won’t be a printed sheet on the recipient’s end. For in-office organization, use a tool like Evernote to keep track of your notes and files. Bonus: Going paperless will do more than help you go green, it can help you maintain a tidier desk, too!
Change your bulbs. Whether you use overhead fluorescent lights or a desk lamp in your home office, going green can be as easy as changing a light bulb. While CFLs do have a higher purchase price than their incandescent counterparts, the upside is that they use one-fifth of the power and last six to ten times longer. In fact, Energy Star estimates that each CFL can save you about $30!
Buy green supplies. When you’re stocking your office, choose eco-friendly paper and envelopes. You can also get refillable ink cartridges and pens. When you’re at the office supply store, look for labels that say “green,” “biodegradable” or “recycled” – there should be an eco-friendly option for just about anything you need. Note: Sometimes green options – like refillable pens – cost more upfront, but they’ll save you cash in the long run.
Think green. Refillable pens and ink cartridges don’t have a positive impact if they’re not refilled – over 70 percent of cartridges end up in landfills! Make an effort to refill what can be refilled and recycle when possible. Thinking green doesn’t have to be a major behavior overhaul. Small things – like using both sides of notepaper when jotting down thoughts – will make a big difference over time.
Use a power strip. Many common home office appliances like printers, chargers and computers use energy even when they’re not in use. In fact, the Department of Energy estimates that five percent of all electricity in the U.S. is wasted powering unused devices. To fight these “vampire electronics,” use a power strip. When you leave the room or take off for the weekend, turn off your power strip. It’s easy to flip it back on when you head back to the grind.
Recycle over-the-hill appliances. When it’s time for you to upgrade your home office’s computer equipment, visit your local Goodwill store to participate in the Dell Reconnect Program. It’s free, it’s a tax write-off and you’ll keep these items out of the landfill.