Home and Office Tips

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Tiny changes cut costs. How easy is that?

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• Paper Margins

    Did you know that simply changing the margins of Word documents, you can cut the amount of paper you consume? The Penn State Green Destiny Council estimated that by changing paper margins to .75" on all sides, there is an estimated 4.75% reduction in paper use. Don’t scoff–that 4.75% really adds up!


• Printing Practices

    There’s always that one guy in the office who prints out every email or the lady who makes 1200 copies when she only needs 12. Reducing the amount of paper the we consume just requires a little common sense. Print fewer files. Move some files from hard copy to electronic only. Reduce the size of a document to cram more onto one page. Use both sides of the paper when you really do need to print. Some companies have seen a 10% reduction in paper use by simply setting their copier defaults to print on both sides instead of one. You can also post instructions near copy machines to avoiding paper waste caused by mistakes.


• Paper Reuse

    White paper recycling isn’t your only option–Paper that has a blank side can be collected and reused as note pads. Simply cut the paper into a small size and staple in the corner. In five minutes, you’ve got new notepads, less waste, and a fun arts and crafts experience.


• Office Equipment and Furniture

    Repairing, instead of replacing, office furniture and equipment prevents waste and the waste of funds.


• Office Supplies

    Any reusable office supply – plastic binders, file holders, calendars, computer disks, etc. – can be returned to the supply cabinet so that other people can help themselves.


• Kitchens

    Those disposables – cups, cutlery, dishes – cost money to replace and create extra waste. No one needs to remind you of the dozens of Styrofoam cups that can be conserved when you opt for a reusable coffee mug. Bulk creamer and sugar is less expensive and creates less garbage than individual servings so stock up on those.


• Water Use

    Water coolers are the coolest. Instead of buying bottled water, you can save a huge amount of money and curtail the senseless waste of plastic bottles. You also get to meet fellow employees at said cooler and discuss last night’s episode of Dancing with the Stars. To go the extra mile, make sure leaky faucets and toilets are reported and repaired immediately. Water waste wastes money.


Sources: http://www.changethemargins.com/; Cutting Costs and Preventing Waste in NYC Office Buildings and Institutions: Three Case Studies. http://www.p2pays.org/ref%5C03/02229.pdf; SFU Sustainable Campus Coalition’s Green Practices Guide: Green Practices for the Home and Office, http://www.sfu.ca/~sustain/pdf/green_practices_guide.pdf; Scottish Environment Protection Agency, Greening SEPA: Going Green, http://www.sepa.org.uk/green/guidance.htm