Go Green at Work Without Going Paperless
by Gene Marks
In both my personal and professional life, I try to be kind to the planet. I admit that I dont drive a hybrid, and could do a better job at separating my household newspapers from my bottles. And I should probably pay more attention to all of those warnings about global warming (although, between you and me, Im not a big fan of winters in Philadelphia anyways). But I do care.
As a small business owner, its important to me that our office purposefully reduces waste and conserves energy by opting to do many things digitally. My employees dont travel as much to clients anymore. Instead, we use remote collaboration software to discuss documents, share our desktops for training and meetings, and rely heavily on conference call services.
All of our invoices are now electronic. We convert them to PDFs and use cloud-based billing and payment applications. We send most communications by email and pay most of our bills online. We dont even have servers in our office anymore everything is cloud-based. We installed long-lasting lightbulbs in the office, and we keep the thermostat low.
Green Options for Office Paper
But we are a business, and paper still plays a key role in our office. So to be more eco-conscious, weve also changed the type of paper were using. We now rely on Sustainable Earth by Staples products, particularly the copy paper.
The copy paper is made almost exclusively from sugarcane fibers, a renewable resource that grows at the same rate as or faster than it is consumed, which helps reduce the need to harvest trees to make paper. Sugarcane is harvested for sucrose and the fibers are a by-product of this. The by-product is used to make the copy paper we use for our office. Sugarcane is also the worlds largest crop, and reaches maturity for harvest in just 15 to 16 months, versus trees, which can take up to 10 years.
This paper also performs. We use it for our everyday office needs, but also trust it for anything we may need to print and share with a client. The packaging says its acid free, archive safe wont yellow or crumble over time, but what that means to me is that it will survive the everyday rigors in our office. The last thing you want to worry about is your paper.
Switching to eco-conscious office products is one of the easiest ways our office has found to be a little kinder to the planet.
Gene Marks is the owner of a 10-person technology consulting firm outside Philadelphia. Gene writes daily for the New York Times and weekly for Forbes, Inc., Entrepreneur, Fox Business and Philadelphia Magazine.