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10 Green Office Tips

Let's say you and your office colleagues have decided it's time to do your part to help save the planet. "We're going green!" is the rallying cry heard around the water cooler and cappuccino maker in the break room. And let's say also that you - in all your green gusto - have happily volunteered to lead the movement to send your workplace into the green zone.  
Here are 10 tips you and your workmates can follow as you make the transition to coloring your office green:.  
We found that offices and businesses are eager to create environmentally sound and safe work places. Manufacturers of office supplies and office furniture rose to that challenge and have begun producing products that reduce energy and electricity consumption, water use, materials use and waste.  
In fact, the U.S. Green Building Council came up with a test called the Greenguard test that measures the toxins – such as formaldehyde, VOCS and aldehydes – that often are used in the manufacturing of office furniture and products. Only those products Greenguard tested that are under the U.S. Green Council’s allowable limits receive Greenguard Certification.  
1. Look into furniture/cubicles that have been Greenguard Certified ( The materials in the such products have been tested for toxic emissions. That's right, toxins. Formaldehyde, volatile organic compounds (VOCs), aldehydes and others are used in the manufacture of your office furniture and these chemicals can contribute to indoor air pollution, among other not-so-lovely things. Only those products that are under the allowable limits of toxins as defined by the U.S. Green Building Council are certified as Greenguard products.
2. Purchase recycled paper products. But don’t stop there – make sure you use both sides of printer and copier paper as much as possible.
3. And don’t forget to recycle paper. Why not place recycling bins throughout your work area? In fact, make it easy to recycle and harder to put paper in the trash by replacing a few trash cans with recycling bins. Be sure to place recycle bins near your colleagues’ work stations, the printer and the copier.
4. Got unused stationery with last decade's company logo on it lying around? Use it for scratch paper. Use it for document drafts (instead of the "new" recycled paper you've purchased). Use it for tonight's grocery list. Just use it!
5. Speaking of paper, why not go without as much as possible? Instead of printing out e-mail messages, file them in Outlook or another e-mail system. File the attachments on your hard drive or on a shared drive. Convert an e-mailed invoice to a PDF. Print any documents only if absolutely necessary.
6. There's more being recycled than just paper today. Why not look into purchasing recycled toner cartridges, or purchase a used printer or computer?
7. If you must buy new, look for printers, computers, scanners and their ilk that are Energy Star-certified. An Energy Star computer, for example, can be 50 percent more efficient than your standard unit.
8. Get rid of the fax machine entirely. Use an Internet fax service instead. And when you receive a fax via an online fax service, remember - save the e-mail and the fax on your hard drive. Print it only if absolutely necessary.
9. Replace any incandescent light bulbs with compact fluorescent light (CFL) bulbs. Yes, CFLs are more expensive. But they last as much as 10 times longer than an incandescent bulb. Over the long run, your office supply budget will thank you.
10. Turn off the lights in unused offices and when going home at night. And don't forget the coffee pot and/or that cappuccino machine. Unplug them - even appliances turned "off" use juice from the electric grid.
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