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Go Green at the Office for Earth Day

I love Earth Day. Every year as we approach April 22nd I get excited because it means that maybe just a little more awareness will spread and more people will join in the effort to reduce our collective impact on the environment.

For those of us in the know, however, we have the opportunity to make this useful holiday into more than just a once a year event by carrying forward the simple idea that everything we purchase, use, create and discard is an opportunity to make a difference. And not only in our homes and in our personal decisions, but in our workplaces, as well.

A lot of companies are hesitant to make environmentally friendly decisions because they are under the false impression that it would cost a lot of money to do so. But here’s the thing: going green at the office is not only beneficial for the environment, but it affects everything from worker safety to the bottom line. Consider the following from

- Products that are reusable, refillable, more durable or repairable create less waste and are more cost-effective in the long run than disposable or single-use products.

- Manufacturing recycled products uses less energy than goods made from virgin materials. Buying recycled products keeps recycling programs going and saves natural resources.

- Using energy-efficient and water-conserving products saves money and resources. When making purchasing decisions, it pays to do a little homework. Consider the following:

- Is the product less hazardous?

- Is it reusable or more durable?

- Is it made from recycled materials? Do we really need to buy a virgin product when the recycled version is just as good

Whether you are in a purchasing or decision making position at your workplace or not, it pays to raise awareness in your coworkers and colleagues. Send digital memos. Reuse paper where possible. Turn off lights that are not in use.

Better yet–why not start your own campaign? You can go as big or as small as you like. Volunteer to start an eco-committee to discuss ways in which your company could save money by making environmentally sound decisions. Make a push to evaluate the lighting situation in your office. Request that the cleaning products like dish soap and even hand soaps be environmentally and consumer safe.

And-of course-get your office to recycle! Most recycling costs can easily be offset by the amount of waste that gets deferred. Whenever companies call me in to give them an estimate, they are usually amazed by how much money they can actually save. (And you’ll never know unless you actually ask!)

The point is, change both at home and in the office starts with each of us. And it doesn’t take long for a whole lot of little changes to add up to big changes. Together, let’s take the opportunity of this Earth Day to make a big impact on the rest of the year!


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