30 Ways to Save the Planet: At Work

We spend most of our waking life at the office - these are some of the little things you can do there to reduce waste and improve the planet. Many of these suggestions can even save your office money over time! Also check out the Earth 911 page for information on buying Environmentally Preferred Products (EPP).

Ride your bike or walk Money Saver!

When you don't have far to go, try riding your bike or walking instead of getting a ride in a car. You'll help save energy, lessen the amount of air pollution, and you'll keep healthy and fit, too!

Carpool Money Saver!

When heading to work or school, share a car with a friend! You'll both save money on gas, you'll reduce the amount of pollutants you're producing - and maybe even squeeze in a quick nap on days you're not driving!

Recycle at the office Money Saver!

Recycle office and computer paper, cardboard, etc. whenever possible. Use scrap paper for informal notes to yourself and others.

Steer away from disposable cups - and B.Y.O.C./M. Money Saver!

Hide the throw-away cups, and train people to use their washable coffee mugs. Use washable mugs for meetings too. Be sure to Bring Your Own Cup/Mug and set a good example!

If you can't get them to switch to washable mugs, make sure the disposable cups they are using are paper instead of styrofoam.

Primitive? Nah - Energy saving! Money Saver!

Avoid using electrical appliances for things you can easily do by hand, such as opening cans.

Use rechargeable batteries Money Saver!

Disposable batteries are expensive and wasteful. Although rechargable battery sets can be slightly more expensive up-front, you'll save a lot of money in the long-term. You can save up to $1200 a year!

Put your money where your mouth is

Donate to charities that have positive impacts on the environment. Check with your employer to see if they will match your donation to make your money go even further.

Plan a community event

Coordinate an event at work, at your school or within your community that helps raise awareness about environmental issues such as recycling, waste reduction and conservation.

Reduce water waste Money Saver!

Turn off the water when brushing your teeth and when “making bubbles” while washing your hands.

Pick up trash

If you see trash on the street or neighborhood, pick it up! Even if it's not your garbage, its still your planet!

Reduce lunchroom waste Money Saver!

Bring home sandwich baggies and other plastic bags to be washed out and re-used

Choose re-usable containers for lunch Money Saver!

Use a lunch box or insulated cooler for lunch in lieu of a paper or plastic sack.

Use a water filter and refillable water bottle Money Saver!

Americans spend millions of dollars a year on bottled water, which adds to the amount of plastic containers thrown away every day. By purchasing a refillable water bottle and using fiiltered water, you can greatly reduce waste and save yourself a bundle!

Never flush “flushable” applicators

While the manufacturers may say it's flushable, what they mean is that it won't clog your toilet - but every year, tens of thousands of applicators wind up on the shores of our beaches.

Use phosphate-free soap for car washes

Whether you're just washing your car at home, or doing a full-scale group fundraising car wash event, be sure to use phosphate free soap. At your fundraising car washes, be sure to advertise that your car wash is eco-friendly to spread awareness.

Recycle/refill printer cartridges Money Saver!

If you use inkjet printers, buy replacement ink and refill them when they are empty. There are also several programs that will allow you to send in your empty ink and laserjet printer cartrdiges for recycling.

Also check out:

Add air-cleaning plants

Plants not only brighten up a room, they help keep the air clean! Shoot for at least one 4-5 ft plant per 100 square feet.

Make sure your eco-efforts aren't wasted

Verify with local waste management that recyclables are truly being recycled.

Cut your vampire power! Money Saver!

Vampire Power: Not Dracula, but the home electronics we leave on standby: TV, printer, DC re-chargers and converters… they cost you and the country almost $100 million worth of WASTED electricity each year.

Donate unused clothing and other items

Rather than throwing away unused clothing and items that are in good shape, consider donating them to your local church, Goodwill, or other charity. Many charities will even work with you to schedule a pick-up time.

Close drapes or blinds in warmer months Money Saver!

This will keep the sunshine from overheating your house. Do the opposite in the colder months to give your thermostat a break.

Check the numbers on the bottom of plastic products

On the bottom of every plastic product, (including body lotion bottles, soda and water bottles, contact lenses, etc.), there is a number printed that corresponds to the kind of plastic used. If there is no number, the item isn't recyclable.

Look for the small triangle (or recycling logo) with the number inside.

These numbers are used by recycling centers to tell you what kinds of items they can accept. Avoid buying items without a number on the bottom, and write to the manufacturers explaining that you will not buy their product until they use recyclable containers.

Buy fish that are caught in an environmentally responsible manner

If you choose to eat fish, you can help keep the marine ecosystem healthy, without compromising freshness and taste by making smart buying choices.

Recycle everything you can! Money Saver!

You benefit either directly or when local taxes are kept lower by reduced disposal costs.

Give your employees the option to telecommute! Money Saver!

If it works for the job they do, offer the ability to work from home as an option to employees. You'll help them save a bundle on gas, and cut down on emissions - and they'll love how progressive and cool you are!

Use 100% post consumer recycled printer paper Money Saver!

... you'll save 5 lbs. of carbon dioxide per ream of paper!

Avoid disposable straws if you can

While disposable straws can be massively useful to folks with certain disabilities, if you don't need them, skip the the straws. Or if you prefer to use them but still want to spare the extra trash, consider bringing your own bamboo or metal straws.

Buy locally grown food and locally made products when possible

Locally grown food tastes and looks better. The crops are picked at their peak, and farmstead products like cheeses and are hand-crafted for best flavor.

Livestock products are processed in nearby facilities and typically the farmer has direct relationship with processors, overseeing quality - unlike animals processed in large industrial facilities.

And local food preserves genetic diversity. In the modern agricultural system, plant varieties are chosen for their ability to ripen uniformly, withstand harvesting, survive packing and last a long time on the shelf, so there is limited genetic diversity in large-scale production. Smaller local farms, in contrast, often grow many different varieties of crops to provide a long harvest season, an array of colors, and the best flavors. Livestock diversity is also higher where there are many small farms rather than few large farms.

Steer-clear of flushable wipes

They can cause severe issues in septic systems, and as they fragment, they will release microscopic fragments of plastic. These join an estimated 86 tonnes of microplastics released into the environment every year in the UK from facial exfoliants alone.

The Marine Conservation Society has seen a 400% increase in wet wipes found along the British coast over the past decade. Source: The Guardian

There are "eco" wet wipes which claim to be compostable however it's best to use these sparingly, as you don't want to overload a normal compost bin.

In the end, "flushable" bathroom wipes are usually anything but (puns intended).

Find ways to re-use plastic packaging, bags, etc Money Saver!

Hopefully you're using re-usable shopping bags, but sometimes you just can't avoid plastic.

If you ended up with a plastic bag (maybe you forgot yours, or maybe they didn't give you the choice), or you find yourself with plastic packaging, find ways to re-use it. Bought a bag of cat food? Use it to hold your catbox cleaning remnants.

No plastic bag in your house should have to be thrown away empty. If it can't be recycled, at least put it to good use! You'll end up using fewer trash bags.