Go green @ work

Easy eco tips for greening your business

Here’s some simple, yet effective tips for going green at work by saving energy, preventing pollution, conserving natural resources and reducing landfill.

Whether you work in an office, shop or factory, run your own business or manage a corporation... taking care of the environment is easier than you think. Creating a greener office can result in a healthier and more productive place to work, a lighter ecological footprint, increased staff morale and good news for your bottom line.

It’s as easy as changing a light bulb

A switch from conventional light bulbs to energy efficient compact fluorescents can be one of the most effective things your business can do to reduce emissions and global warming, and it saves you money off your energy bill too. Compact fluorescents are 80% more energy efficient, and last 10 times longer than incandescent light bulbs.

Indoor plants — the natural air filters!

Green tip: Indoor plants are natural air filters, absorbing airborne pollutants and radiation from computers while replenishing oxygen levels.

Source: True Green. Authors Kim McKay and Jenny Bonnin

Install waterless urinals

Every year, billions of litres of fresh drinking water are wasted in urinals flushing. Waterless urinals use absolutely no water while meeting the highest hygienic standards.

Alternatively, the Desert™ Cube Waterless Urinal System supplies the small blue cubes that convert your existing urinal into waterless, saving over 150,000 litres of water per year.

Put your PC to sleep!

Many office computers never get switched off, needlessly consuming energy overnight and on weekends. A computer left on all day, every day uses 1,000 kilowatts of electricity over a year, producing more than a tonne of carbon emissions.

Green tip: Save approx. $100 per year off your energy bill for every computer you switch off at the end of the day. If you are away from your computer for less than half an hour, put it in sleep mode, which reduces energy use to about 5% of full operating power. Also next time you're replacing office computers, remember that laptops and notebooks use up to 90% less energy than a desktop PC.

Source: True Green. Authors Kim McKay and Jenny Bonnin

Start a recycling program

Kerbside collection has changed the face of office and household recycling, making it easier to reduce landfill. Different Councils may have different regulations about what you can recycle.

Click here to search for a recycling service near you.

Recycle the cartridges from your printer, fax and copier for free!

Contact either Cleanaway or Planet Ark for a free collection service that recycles all your ink jet and toner cartridges and guarantees zero waste to landfill.

Recycle your old mobile phone

Preserve the environment by keeping your unused mobile phone out of landfill and recycling it back to reuse.

Mobile Muster is the official industry recycling program, while the Aussie Recycling Program provides a solution to help clean up the environment while at the same time raising much needed funds for charities.

Paper — treat it like it grows on trees

Paper comprises up to 70 per cent of office waste, with 10,000 A4 sheets used for every Australian worker each year. That’s equal to 10 million trees.

Green tip: Simple recycling measures can significantly reduce your waste removal expenses. Set your computer printing default to double-sided. Print out only what is necessary, and proof read documents carefully on screen to avoid having to print multiple copies. Use a paper tray to collect single-sided printed scrap paper for notes, or reuse it in your photocopier or fax machine. Place a paper recycling box under each desk, and encourage your team to transfer the contents into a centrally located recycling bin when full.

Source: True Green. Authors Kim McKay and Jenny Bonnin

Make the switch to 100% recycled office paper

A business is not truly recycling unless it buys recycled products. Less than 5 per cent of the 1.2 million tonnes of printing and writing paper used in Australia each year is recycled content. The rest comes from chopping down millions of trees.

Genuine recycled paper is 100% made from ‘post-consumer’ waste. This means the paper has been used at least once by consumers, collected, and reconverted to pulp to make paper again. But check the fine print because some paper manufacturers call paper “recycled” even when it uses ‘pre-consumer’ waste — meaning pulp that never left the factory.

The best paper to buy is bleach-free, 100% post-consumer recycled paper (usually off-white or brown in colour), because it uses up to 90 per cent less water and half the energy required to make paper from virgin timber, creates demand for waste paper that would normally end up in landfill, and no trees are cut down to make the paper.

Every tonne of paper recycled can save 17 trees.

How white is your paper?

Paper manufacturers use chlorine to bleach paper bright white. The more chlorine our society uses, the more toxic substances such as dioxin there are in our water, air, soil, and in our bodies.

When you buy chlorine-free writing and copier paper you're telling paper manufacturers that you demand safer alternatives. So, choose recycled paper with a high percentage of ‘post consumer’ waste, and look for the ECF or TCF symbols to ensure that environmental harm is minimised.

ECF (Elemental Chlorine Free) means pulp is bleached without the use of elemental chlorine gas. Even better, TCF (Totally Chlorine Free) means pulp is bleached avoiding the use of chlorine at all.

Learn more about paper and the environment.

Choose a green printer

Next time you are arranging the printing of your stationery or printing material, get a comparison quote from a ‘green printer’. You might be pleasantly surprised to learn how competitive the costs are compared to traditional, alcohol-based, offset printing.

Look for a printer who uses vegetable-based inks, and can assist you to choose paper made from sustainable forest fibres or better still, paper recycled from post-consumer waste.

Australia’s first carbon neutral printer, Finsbury Green, is based right here in Adelaide.

Print Together offers a collective green printing service that prints several customers’ materials together, rather than individually, using only recycled paper and vegetable based inks.The concept is similar to car sharing: if several people are going to the same place at the same time, they can share the cost of the ride, which in turn lessens the environmental impact of your journey.

Switch to green power

Your business can save tonnes of emissions a year, by switching to renewable sources such as solar, wind and geothermal energy. For further information ask your energy retailer or click here to locate a green energy provider in your State.

Implement a green cleaning program

Are your cleaners storing toxic chemicals on your premises, and emptying them down your drains? Do they use tired, old vacuum cleaners that release airborne impurities into your work environment?

Green cleaning is not only good for the environment; it also increases workplace health and safety.

Ask your cleaner about switching to environmentally responsible cleaning products and services. If you are based in Adelaide, South Australia contact Eco Natural™.