The ‘Green’ Office
“Greening” your office will have a significant positive impact on the environment, is easy to do and can actually save you money. Here are a number of quick, simple ways to make your office more sustainable.
Paper & Printing
U.S. businesses use about 21 million tons of paper every year—that’s about 175 pounds of paper per person. This amounts to more than 50 million acres of land that is cleared annually to satisfy the growing demand for wood and paper products. To cut back:
1. Explore your options in environmentally friendly printing papers. Virtually all paper manufacturers can include recycled content in the publication paper you need. The recycled paper market is experiencing the same pricing fluctuations as the virgin-fiber paper market. Publishers should invest time in communicating with several paper suppliers and merchants about their environmental paper options, and be open to having their paper specifications evolve over time in order to mitigate price increases. For example, talk with your supplier about slightly lighter basis weights that will increase your paper yield for your purchasing dollar with slight to no discernible difference in your publication’s look. Your readers won’t know the difference, and you’ll save money on paper and postage costs.
To determine which environmental papers fit your specifications, contact the Magazine PAPER Project (www.MagazinePaper.org), a nonprofit that provides free technical assistance and expertise to publishers interested in switching to recycled paper.
For in-office paper use:
2. Print on both sides.
3. Purchase recycled office paper, such as Cascades Enviro100 Copy paper.
4. Recycle used office paper.
5. Distribute documents via e-mail.
Transportation comprises 28 percent of America’s energy use, with nearly all of that energy coming from oil. Burning fossil fuels results in air, water and land pollution, loss of wildlife habitat and oil spills. To encourage more sustainable transportation:
6. Provide employees with public transportation stipends. For those who prefer to bike to work, offer bike parking and showers.
7. Start a carpooling program.
8. Promote the use of energy-efficient vehicles, such as the Toyota Prius and Honda Insight. In select cities, car-sharing companies such as Zipcar (www.Zipcar.com) are available, in which members pay an hourly rate that includes gas, insurance and maintenance.
9. Offer employees the option of telecommuting.
The electronics-manufacturing process requires extensive electricity, raw materials and water. Electronics account for billions of pounds of municipal waste each year, many of which contain toxic heavy metals, lead, polychlorinated biphenyl, mercury, acids and other harmful contaminants. To reduce your impact:
10. Just say “NO!” to screen savers. Energy is conserved only when monitors go dark in standby mode.
11. Purchase all-in-one machines to reduce the amount of electronics needed.
12. Recycle/donate old machines. Find local and national recyclers at the Basel Action Network’s Web site (www.BAN.org/Pledge/Locations.html).
13. Use laptops instead of desktops. Because they often run on batteries, laptops are designed to use energy more efficiently.
Most electricity in the United States is generated by fossil fuels such as coal, natural gas and oil, all of which have extremely harmful environmental impacts such as air, water and thermal pollution. In addition, the burning of fossil fuels contributes significantly to climate change. Promoting an environmentally responsible office energy policy will go a long way to reducing both your impact on the environment and your energy bill:
14. Adjust the thermostat so the heat or air conditioning comes on less, and turn it off at night.
15. Install energy-saving lights.
16. Purchase energy credits to combat global warming from a company such as NativeEnergy (www.NativeEnergy.com), which funds renewable energy projects.
17. Unplug computers, lamps and other equipment with cords when not in frequent use. Equipment consumes energy even when it’s not actively utilized.
A greener, more sustainable office means a lighter environmental footprint and a healthier, happier workplace, and is good for a company’s bottom line. It’s a win-win … why wait?
Jennifer Gerholdt is the Magazine PAPER Project coordinator at Co-op America, a not-for-profit membership organization that aims to harness economic power to create a socially just and environmentally sustainable society.
MORE ON ‘GREEN’ PUBLISHING
Don’t miss the session “How You Can Improve Your Environmental Impact and Not Break the Bank” at the Publishing Business Conference and Expo (produced by Book Business and Publishing Executive magazines), March 10-12, 2008, in New York City. For more information, visit PublishingBusiness.com.
AWARDS TO RECOGNIZE ‘GREEN’ PUBLISHERS
SustainPrint.com—the Web site for environmental sustainability in printing and publishing, co-produced by Book Business and Publishing Executive magazines—has announced a call for nominations for its second-annual SustainPrint.com Awards. The awards recognize four publishers each year for their achievements in environmental sustainability. The “Newcomer of the Year” awards are given to one book and one magazine publishing company who have recently implemented significant environmental sustainability policies. The “Longtime Leader” awards recognize one book and one magazine publishing company who have a history of environmentally conscious publishing practices.
In 2007, the SustainPrint.com Awards recipients were: Random House, Lantern Books, Fast Company and the National Wildlife Federation.
Recipients are honored during a special reception at the Publishing Business Conference and Expo and featured in Publishing Executive and Book Business magazines, as well as on SustainPrint.com.
To nominate your publishing company or another company for the SustainPrint.com awards, e-mail the company’s name and a brief description of the company’s efforts in environmental sustainability to: email@example.com with the subject line: “SustainPrint.com Awards Nomination.”