Green Tips (Office)

Seven clever ways to stop office waste

When it comes to reducing wastage, small steps make a big difference. By implementing the following tips your office will benefit from reduced costs and greater productivity, and you can enhance your reputation by being an environmentally-friendly business.

1. Dial, don't drive
Do you really need to conduct all your meetings face-to-face? Tele- and video-conferencing is quick, simple and inexpensive to set up. Many notebooks and desktops now come with conferencing capabilities so that you can lock eyes with your clients without leaving your office. Save money on air and train tickets and rapidly-rising gas prices.

2. Maximize your mobility
Another great way to cut waste is with wireless mobility devices. Notebooks and handheld connect you to your office so that you don't use time and fuel making trips back and forth. Figures show that if small businesses reduced employee travel by just two working days a year they would collectively save more than one million tons of CO2, and dramatically slash their gas costs.

3. Tonight, turn off your computer
Leaving your PC on overnight wastes more energy than you think. A shocking 75 percent of electricity is used by hardware that is supposedly turned off, according to recent research. It's a common misconception that hardware uses no power when not switched on. Many appliances continue to draw a small amount of power when they are off – and that little bit really adds up. Unplugging things at the wall when you're not using them is a great way to save power. Schedule your back-ups for your lunchtime so that you can switch off and unplug when you finish each day.

4. Work from home, one day a week
Studies have revealed that if US employees worked from a home office once during the week they would save 516 million kilos (just over one billion lbs) of CO2 in reduced travel. They would also have lower travel costs, higher productivity and less stress by avoiding the peak-hour commuter rush. When employees must commute, car-pooling is encouraged.

5. Paper is precious
UK environmental group Waste Watch say white paper makes up 20 percent of the trash from offices and commercial sites. To reduce your paper trail use recycled products, only print when you really must, try to print on both sides.

6. Reduce by recycling
Recycling old hardware is easy with the HP's Planet Partner service, while recycling your HP Print Cartridges is also quick and simple.

7. Spread the anti-waste word
Without proper communication your bright anti-wastage ideas will become just a waste of time. Make sure all your employees and colleagues are aware of and understand your initiatives.

Calculate your carbon footprint

Researchers warn that if we don’t recognize that everything we do has an impact and change our behavior, it will have catastrophic and irreversible consequences for our planet in our lifetime. The good news is that there are lots of small things you can do every day to help reduce your impact on the environment and to become a part of the solution.

What can I do?
A good first step is to determine your carbon footprint. This is a measure of the impact your activities have on the environment in terms of the amount of greenhouse gases produced, measured in units of carbon dioxide. In order to do so, you can use the footprint calculator provided by the World Wildlife Federation (WWF).

Once you’ve calculated your impact, investigate ways to reduce or offset it – here are a few suggestions you can use in different areas of your life.


  • Take public transport, cycle or walk to work. If you must drive, try carpooling – it can reduce travel costs and impact by 75 percent.
  • Reduce air travel. Use phone or video conferencing for business purposes; for holidays, consider destinations closer to home.

Around the house

  • Switch off unused lights and appliances on standby. The latter can account for 10% of your electricity usage; turning off just one could save 99 pounds (45 kilograms) of greenhouse gas.
  • Use energy-efficient products. There are many products that are compliant with ENERGY STAR standards..

What you eat

  • Buy less processed and pre-packaged food. Fresh food is healthier and uses none of the energy required for processing, plus there’s less waste to dispose of.
  • Eat less meat. It takes only about 723 gallons(1350 liters) of water to produce 2.2 pounds (1 kilogram) of wheat, but 3250 gallons (16000 liters) of water to produce 2.2 pounds (1 kilogram) of beef.

Why should I care?
Self preservation is the most obvious answer to this question, but for some perspective, consider the following:

  • Mount Kilimanjaro, Africa’s tallest peak, has lost 80 percent of its ice cap since 1912. Scientists predict that the ice will disappear completely within 15 years.
  • The Dead Sea is 27.5 yards lower – the height of five double-decker buses – than it was 50 years ago.
  • Lake Chad in Africa has shrunk by 95 percent since 1963.

And as for the future?

  • Global sea levels are predicted to rise by more than 20 feet with the loss of shelf ice in Greenland and Antarctica, devastating coastal areas worldwide.
  • Global warming currently contributes to more than 150,000 deaths and 5 million illnesses every year. Those numbers could double by 2030 as global warming accelerates the spread of infectious diseases, increases malnutrition, and creates more heat waves and floods.
  • More than a million species worldwide could be driven to extinction by 2050.

* Credit to Hewlett-Packard Company