Tips to Green Your Business
Everything you use and throw away has a carbon footprint created through its production and its disposal. In business, it seems as though we take less consideration for the environment than we do at home. Here are a few tips to help make your business greener and your life better.*
: Lighting an average-sized office overnight wastes enough energy to make 1,000 hot drinks.
TURN THE LIGHTS off when you’re not using your office, conference room or meeting area.
Renovating the office? Buy work surfaces, table tops or doors made from RECYCLED PLASTIC.
: Americans throw away the equivalent of more than 30 million trees in newsprint every year.
RECYCLE and REUSE your paper. Every ton of paper reused or recycled prevents the emission of over a ton of CO2, keeps 100 cubic feet of waste out of a landfill, saves enough energy to light the average home for six months and leaves 17 trees standing to absorb more CO2.
Not only does RECYCLING make you feel good, it increases the storage of carbon in trees. Plants absorb CO2 from the atmosphere and store it, a process call carbon sequestration. Waste prevention and recycling of paper products allow more trees to remain standing in the forest where they can remove more CO2 from the atmosphere.
: Globally the IT industry accounts for around 2% of CO2 emissions – about the same as aviation!
: Only about 15% of the $250 billion-worth of power used by computers worldwide each year is spent actually computing – the rest is wasted while idling.
Work from a LAPTOP. Laptop computers consume up to 90% less energy than a desktop computer.
Set your computer to ENTER POWER SAVING MODE after 10 minutes of inactivity – this could cut its energy consumption by 60-70%.
: In US offices, 30-40% of PCs are left running overnight and on weekends – using as much energy as 2.5 million cars!
SHUT YOUR COMPUTER DOWN if you’re not going to be using it for more than an hour or two. It’s a myth that computers use a lot of power to start up.
DON’T LEAVE COMPUTERS ON OVERNIGHT – you’ll waste enough energy to laser print around 800 pages.
Set your SCREENSAVER to “blank screen” or “none.” Screensavers can end up using more energy than not having one at all.
: Over 31 million PCs are thrown away worldwide each year.
Buy RECYCLED PRINTER CARTRIDGES. This will save around a quart of oil per cartridge.
Buy REWRITABLE CDs AND DVDs rather than single-use disks – or even better, save files onto a USB flash drive.
: At this very moment there are around 12,000 civil aircrafts in the sky!
: North America accounts for 40% of worldwide air traffic.
: One round trip flight from New York City to San Francisco would wipe out the CO2 savings made by running a hybrid car for a year.
GO BY RAIL. On average, trains emit two-thirds less CO2 per passenger than planes.
: The average American spends $0.18 of every dollar they earn on buying, running, and maintaining cars.
SHARE A LIFT TO WORK. If everyone who regularly drives to work on their own shared a lift just once a week, traffic volumes would fall by 12-15%.
OFFER INCENTIVES for green commuting, such as an extra day of annual leave.
TRADE IN THE COMPANY CAR FLEET for a corporate membership of a car-share program.
RUN A CARPOOL via the company intranet or central bulletin board.
BEAM ME UP. Next time you’re faced with a long journey to a short meeting, think hard about whether you really need to be there in person. Video conferencing saves money and time, and avoids carbon-heavy travel.
GIVE YOURSELF A BREAK. Governments are increasingly using tax breaks to reward businesses that save energy and levies to penalize energy wasters. Make sure that your organization is fully aware of how it can benefit.
*The facts and tips in this section were taken from How to Reduce Your Carbon Footprint
by Joanna Yarrow.
EarthCorps – www.EarthCorps.org
A practical environmental charity that helps people to make positive changes at home, at work, at school, and in the wider community.
online magazine – www.theecologist.org
Ideal Bite – www.IdealBite.com
Daily green living tips
Worldwatch Institute – www.worldwatch.org
A leading source of information on the interactions among key environmental, social and economic trends.
Carbon Footprint – www.carbonfootprint.com
A carbon footprint calculator
Earthlab – www.earthlab.com/carbonprofile/LiveEarth.htm?ver=14
A carbon footprint calculator