Reducing Your Carbon Footprint at the Office

The office is not one of the first places we turn when looking to reduce our carbon footprint, but that may be changing. A number of tactics, from using recycled paper to making delivery and travel routes more efficient, can be used to "green" your work.

The Shoplet.com blog offers a comprehensive guide to reducing your carbon footprint while at work. Most of these tips - from using energy efficient lighting to cutting down on travel - are relatively straightforward. Some are a little more forward thinking. For instance, Shoplet suggests allowing for flexible work hours that enable more employees to carpool to work, and installing "air infiltration barriers" at loading areas.

Perhaps one of the most interesting ideas is the Environmental Protection Agency's Office Carbon Footprint Tool. This tool allows business owners to evaluate where and how much energy they are using at the workplace, and then offers suggestions on possible energy-saving measures.

One of the simplest ways to start reducing your carbon footprint at the workplace immediately is to start using recycled paper. The Seattle Post-Intelligencer recently reported on Grays Harbor Paper's "Harbor 100" - a special kind of recycled paper that is 100% recycled and 375% less carbon-intensive. Switching to recycled paper can have a larger impact. If an office of 20 people were to switch to recycled paper, that could have the same effect of taking 70,000 cars off the road for one year.

A ream of Grays Harbor Paper's "Harbor 100" (from ghpaper.com)

When thinking about ways to cut back, we should focus on more than just in our homes or vehicles. The workplace, where we spend most our days, is full of things that can be made more efficient, scaled back, replaced, or removed entirely.

What have you done to reduce your carbon footprint in the workplace? Has it had an effect? Are you glad you did it? Is this all just a waste of time? Share your thoughts below...

How do you move the Planet Forward? Tweet us @planet_forward or contribute to the conversation with your own story.