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Blog: Can We Have Some Order Here?
The Environmentally Friendly Office

I have been working with a business organizing client who is concerned about developing an environmentally-friendly work style. These days, it is easier than ever to create a "green" office and reduce your company's environmental footprint. While ecologically-sound business practices aren't always the easiest option, it's up to our corporate leaders to set the example and do their part to reduce waste. Here are a few relatively simple suggestions.

Green Shopping Options

This is a golden age for environmentally-friendly office products. Most supply manufacturers now offer a variety of green choices for both small and large companies. Every time you buy recycled copy paper or file folders (items made of recycled materials, that can be recycled again once they have served their purpose) -- you are reducing the number of new trees that must be harvested. And when you shop with companies that engage in responsible manufacturing (who reduce their use of toxic chemicals and eliminate harmful emissions into the air and water supply) -- you're making things better for future generations, as well.

Another issue to consider is packaging. It seems that companies in the United States are bent on wrapping products in as much additional unnecessary material as possible. And everything these days is "single-serving" size -- which means more packaging. Of course you can see this in places like the grocery store -- but it's true with office supplies, as well. Let's say that you personally use up a pen a month in your work. Which is the smarter shopping decision -- to buy a bulk pack of 12 pens to last you the year, or to buy a single pen each time your old one wears out? The first option will not only save money, but reduce the packaging that goes into a landfill to 1/12 (that's not one-half, but one-twelfth!) the trash you would create with plan B. Sit down at the beginning of the year, and think through your supply needs. Stock up on quantities of everything you use regularly -- you will save money, reduce your waste, and never have to run out to Office Depot at 8:45 PM because you used your last hanging file folder.

Reduce, Reuse, And Recycle

This is an easy one -- especially when it comes to office supplies. The biggest culprits are paper and ink/toner -- don't print an email or web page unless you absolutely have to, don't make more copies than you need, and try to communicate electronically as much as possible to cut down on printing. Also, make an effort to reuse supplies rather than throwing them out and replacing them with a new item. Use the back side of printed paper for rough drafts and as scrap paper to write notes (instead of buying special notepads or stickies). Go for cartridge-style pens and mechanical pencils, rather than the "use-up-and-toss" kind. And try to re-label (with an adhesive sticker label) and re-use each file folder -- turning it inside out if the outside has gotten a little grubby.

And these days, so many materials can be recycled that there is almost no excuse to throw anything in the trash. White paper, junk mail, envelopes, magazines, catalogs, phone books, newspaper, cardboard -- these can all be recycled. Of course, if you have a break room or kitchen at your office, it goes without saying that bottles and cans should have their own receptacle. But you can go even further recycle your computer discs and video/audio tapes to be erased and reused. Drop off your empty toner cartridges at your local office supply store for re-filling. If you clean out old office equipment, phones, computers, etc., find a local charity that accepts donations. Even though you upgraded to the latest greatest gadgets, someone out there can use your old discards. The same is true of reference books -- your local library would be thrilled to add them to their shelves or set them out for their next book sale. Just think twice before you throw anything in the trash -- check here to see if it can be donated or recycled first.

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posted on: 1/13/2011 11:30:00 AM by Ramona Creel
category: General Organizing Tips

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Discuss This Post

by absolutely eco-friendly on 2/24/2012 1:15:19 AM:

You said it; reduce, reuse, recycle. That is the golden rules to safe our planet and our finances. AHH! another one - do not buy everything that comes out new. We do not need it. Thank you Ramona. Blessings

by Kazuhiro on 9/21/2012 4:59:45 AM:

An impressive share, I just given this onto a coegallue who was doing a little analysis on this. And he in fact bought me breakfast because I found it for him.. smile. So let me reword that: Thnx for the treat! But yeah Thnkx for spending the time to discuss this, I feel strongly about it and love reading more on this topic. If possible, as you become expertise, would you mind updating your blog with more details? It is highly helpful for me. Big thumb up for this blog post!

by Ramona on 9/21/2012 9:24:37 AM:

How wonderful -- so glad you got breakfast out of it. And I'll be happy to share more down the road -- new innovations in "green" organizing are coming online all the time. Thanks!

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Can We Have Some Order Here?

by Ramona Creel

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About Ramona:

I have been a Professional Organizer for more than 10 years, I am a NAPO Golden Circle member, and I was the original founder of OnlineOrganizing. I have worked one-on-one with scores of clients and have trained dozens of newbie organizers as they got started in the industry. I provide both hands-on and virtual coaching to help clients improve their organizing skills and simplify their lives. I invite you to visit my website at http://www.RamonaCreel.com, and I challenge you to find one new idea that you can put into practice in your life, to help you become better organized, starting TODAY! I am passionate about coaching folks toward a more balanced, productive, and enjoyable life -- and I firmly believe that if I can do it, so can you!

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