At work

Page - January 7, 2007
Whether you work at a factory that may be blatantly polluting the environment or in an office that could cut down its use of paper products, you can help reduce the impact on our environment at work.

Paper

The world's ancient forests (eg, in Papua New Guinea and the Amazon) are being stripped away for many disposable paper products you can find at home and at work, such as toilet paper, phone books, newsprint and writing paper. Here are a few things you can do to save paper and trees:

  • Photocopy or print on both sides of the page and reuse paper until both sides are used up.
  • Reduce the number of copies of any given document.
  • Buy recycled, chlorine-free paper and recycle office paper when you are finished with it.
  • Reuse envelopes.
  • Use a plain paper fax machine so you can reuse and recycle the paper.
  • Buy one copy of the newspaper and leave it in the staff room for everyone to share over lunch and breaks.

Supplies

  • Implement purchasing policies that consider the environmental record of companies you are buying goods and services from.
  • Encourage your workplace to use greener cleaning materials. You'll find there are several eco-friendly options available at the supermarket and there is information on greener cleaning on this site.
  • Use paper clips, staples, string or non-toxic glue instead of adhesive tape when possible.
  • Use stick-type glues or basic white glue. Avoid glues and cements that emit the smell of solvents (ie. rubber cement, hobby glue).
  • Use crayons, china markers (wax pencils) or coloured pencils instead of solvent based markers.
  • Use refillable pens and pencils rather than disposable ones.
  • Use paperclips again - don't throw them in the bin or on the floor when you take them off a document - put them in your drawer.

Quick Tips

  • If you send packages by courier, contact a bicycle courier, rather than a car-based courier company, for local deliveries.
  • Take your own ceramic cup to work. And when you go to the coffee shop take your own cup - they won't mind, they'll appreciate the fact that you're reducing waste.
  • Bring your lunch in a reusable container.
  • Help educate your coworkers about the environment.
  • Set up a recycling program.
  • Set up an environmental bulletin board to post notices about local environmental meetings, environmental news and green cleaning tips.
  • Lobby your company to set up a committee to monitor its environmental performance.
  • Walk or ride a bike to work. Use public transport or carpool - you can advertise at work on notice boards or your intranet.
  • Make a sign for inside the front door that says "last one out turns off the lights."