"Greening" the Office

make your office greener use cloth napkins

I washed 7 cloth napkins from the office for the 3rd week in a row!  The white paper bin is full.   We have an office of nearly 20 people.  I have had fun watching the gradual “greening” of  our office practices over the last few years.   As staff come and go it is interesting to see which practices have been introduced, which ones go away after an individual leaves and which ones stick around.
Over the years, we have changed the dish soap in the kitchenette to one that is more eco-friendly.  The chlorine bleach has been replaced by a safer, still effective cleaner.   We are now using the cloth napkins I got from a local hotel restaurant upgrading its supplies.  The glass drinking glasses moved to the cupboard from the cardboard box they were stashed in “saving to use for special occasions”.  Our recycling practices have evolved from just white paper recycling in the work room to an industrial size bin in the back hallway. There are individual paper recycling boxes in several offices and an all purpose recycling box in the common area.  We have a cardboard only dumpster behind the building.  I found a supplier for ink pen refills so we can re-use the pen and just replace cartidges.  The cost  of refills is similar to buying new pens but we are sending less to the landfill. It’s a choice.  Some of our practices have become standard, expectations, almost policy.  Others are really just choices of individuals who are willing to take the lead.
 The bucket of vegie scraps is overflowing again! The red wigglers in the compost bin are HAPPILY multiplying like rabbits.  We now have 2 compost buckets in the office and folks are bringing their scraps from home to keep them supplied with fresh goodies.  I have a hard time keeping up but have a couple of co-workers who are willing to feed the red wigglers when I am away. We freeze the excess each week to use  during the weeks that are low – probably this winter.
These green practices require choices and ‘champions’.  I am noticing that our youngest staff (under 35) are the most proactive  about green practices in the office.  Guess that makes me either an old fashioned relic or a young thinker!  I prefer the  latter!
Who is the ‘champion of green’ in your workplace? What eco-friendly practices do you use at the office?
Tell us about it at http://blogs.extension.iastate.edu/isuecofamily
-Kristi Cooper
ISU Extension & Outreach Family Life Specialist

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