Most Americans spend about 1/3 of their lives at work, in an office building, which are notorious for being wasteful. Wasteful of energy (18% of all energy is used in commercial buildings) and wasteful of water (10% of all water usage is linked to office buildings).
I realize it is improbable you will be able change your companies policy on energy and water consumption, yet there are things that you can personally do that will make a difference to the planet and your local environment.
-Let’s start with the “blood” that is pumping through the veins of the American workforce… Coffee. Americans use an estimated 14 BILLION paper cups every year and don’t even get me started with Styrofoam cups, which remain in landfills for close to 50 years before decomposing. The easiest thing you can do is use a ceramic coffee mug, this is a no-brainer which many people overlook.
If you are late to the party, K-Cups are terrible for the planet, 9.8 BILLION cups were produced in 2014, which are not recyclable.
-Get to know your co-workers better by carpooling. Not only will it improve office moral, but you could save 500 gallons of gasoline in a year. That much gasoline saved is equivalent to 550 pounds of poisonous exhaust emission not released into the air.
Talk to your Human Resource department to see if your company provides a ride match list, that will get you in touch with others in your office who want to save money and the planet. If your company doesn’t offer a ride match list, performing a quick Google Search for “Rideshare in my area” should reveal any city-ran programs for carpooling along with private organizations like Carpoolworld.com and eRideShare.com. Signing up for sites like these will get you in touch with others who are looking to share a ride, both as a passenger and driver.
–Print on both sides of the paper. If just 1 in 4 office workers made all their copies double-sided, the annual savings would equal 130 billion sheets of paper. To visualize how much paper that would be saved, imagine a stack of paper thicker than the diameter of the Earth. Wow! Most computers have this function and not many people know how to use it. Microsoft Word allows users to choose a “Print on Both Sides” function under the “File” and “Print” tab. Ask your IT provider how to access this, if you have questions. I am sure they will be more than happy to help save the company some money with you using less paper.
(information taken from “The Green Book” by Elizabeth Rogers and Thomas M. Kostigen; if you’re interested in purchasing their book, here it is on Amazon).
Be part of the solution and not the problem.
Chad R. Puschel