green office
Caucasus Environmental NGO Network

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Green office checklist

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Tips for going green 

The following tips may help you in really going green:


1. Keep track: measure how much you use & how much you waste!

  • Keep track of the number of copies you make. Use the counter on your machine to work out just how much paper is being used. Prepare to be surprised!

  • Calculate the weight and volume of paper used in your office each year and let your staff know how much they use.

2. Save paper: think before you print!

  • Use your print preview software (in any Microsoft Office application select File - Print Preview).

  • Make sure efficient paragraphing and correct pagination is used.

  • Choose the correct font size for your printing.

  • Use the function 'shrink to fit' to use the paper adequately.

  • Always check for errors on-screen before printing to avoid printing multiple drafts.

  • Avoid making multiple copies of large documents with summary pages, PowerPoint presentations, online documentation, and email.

  • Opt for double sided printing and photocopying.

  • Use the reduction feature on a copier to fit more on a page.

  • Encourage staff to share and circulate copies of reports rather than issuing separate copies.

  • Print multiple pages per sheet for presentations and the like.

  • Minimize paper waste by using the phone or email rather than regular mail.

  • Update your mailing address list - delete all out of date contacts.

  • Print company cards rather than individual cards that may be wasted.

3. Save toner!

  • Draft quality printouts use less toner. Select 'draft' printouts when using the 'Print' command on your computer Ė this is usually changed under Printer Options on the Windows Print Dialog box.

  • You can even set your printer to make draft prints by default

4. Share stationery!

  • Share staplers, hole punchers, etc. rather than owning one each.

5. Re-use office and kitchen supplies!

  • Set-up a stationery 'reuse centre' or 'used goods area' for used binders, folders, padded envelopes, cardboard boxes, etc.

  • Reuse scrap copy paper as notepads.

  • Reuse envelopes and look for design features that support reuse - for example re-sealable envelopes, or space for multiple addresses.

  • Invest in a reusable mug to save the planet and your health. Polystyrene is often used in disposable cups, in addition to being petroleum-based and non-recyclable, it may leach styrene, a possible human carcinogen. Paper cups arenít much better, as the energy-intensive process of producing and bleaching them releases dioxin, a known carcinogen. Furthermore, as paper decomposes in landfills, it releases methane, a more potent heat-trapping greenhouse gas than carbon dioxide.

  • Hang hand-towels in the kitchen and bathroom and use cloth napkins in place of paper ones.

6. Save energy!

  • Make sure all computers and other office equipment are turned off when they are not being used, and that electric lights are turned off when natural light is sufficient.

  • Make sure energy saving features on PCs, printers, and photocopiers are enabled.

  • Use energy efficient light bulbs where possible. Remember, that replacing just one 75-watt incandescent bulb with a 19-watt compact fluorescent light bulb (CFL) cuts 34 kilograms of carbon dioxide emissions per year and up to 340 for the life-time of the bulb, not to mention the money savings on your energy bill.

  • Replace flickering fluorescent lights promptly.

  • Insulate the office to ensure efficient use of energy for heating.

  • Make sure radiators and heaters are not blocked by furniture.

  • Do not overheat the office.

  • Use blinds to prevent excess heating in the summertime and save on air conditioning costs.

  • Use a fan in the summertime rather than air conditioning. Fans use 98% less energy than air conditioners, and make you feel up to 6 degrees cooler.

  • Open the windows and turn off the air conditioning on nice days.

  • Donít fill the kettle to make a single cup of coffee.

7. Recycle your waste!

  • Separate your waste into recyclable categories (paper, plastic, glass, cans).

  • Arrange for the pick-up of recyclable waste (CENN is here to assist you in this), or deliver yourself to corresponding recycling factories.

  • Purchase recycled paper and paper-based products to support recycling businesses.

8. Mind how you get around!

  • Encourage your employees to carpool, use public transportation or, still better, bike. You can do so by introducing bonus schemes for carpooling or public transportation, or by arranging safe parking places for bikes. Remember that an average 20-km daily commute generates over 1,250 kilograms of CO2 annually.

  • Avoid unnecessary travel if the matter can be settled through a phone call, letter, or a video conference.

  • Ensure that meetings and trainings are held at locations served by public transportation. Include train or bus directions in the invitation.

9. Share ideas and keep improving!

  • While greening your office, you might find better ways of reducing waste, water, or energy use Ė share your ideas with others.

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