Going Green in the Home Office

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It wasn’t so much the economy that pushed me into reducing the amount of waste I produce and the amount of energy I consumer: it was the guilt. For years I’ve felt the heaviness of the trash barrel, compared to the relative lightness of my recycle barrel. Sure, I recycled, but I wasn’t diligent about it. Most of my tin cans (an appreciable amount of my waste) ended up in the trash. Sometimes paper didn’t make it into recycle, either.

I took that guilt and made some changes in the home. It was then that I realized that there was a lot of business-related waste going on, and that there were some simple things I could do with my home business to decrease the amount of waste I produced and the amount of resources I consumed.

I work from home a lot. Up until recently, I worked exclusively from my home, and the nature of my business meant a lot of paperwork: tons and tons of paperwork. A lot of it didn’t necessarily need to be paperwork'”much of it started out as PDF documents that I had printed. Reams and reams of paper used, unknown quantities of toner, and plenty of electricity, too. And after I had read, reviewed, and used those documents, I would either file them in a box and never look at them again, or I would throw them away. Neither of these things seemed like good solutions'”either way, I was wasting the equivalent of a ream of paper a week.

So I stopped printing most things. It’s true that it takes some getting used to when you’re reading long documents from a computer monitor, but it’s doable. It’s the era of the Kindle'”if people are reading novels from screens, I can surely handle a forty-page document. Now I read from the computer, highlight or copy and paste passages of interest into a single document that I can print if necessary, and save the PDF documents to my hard drive, which I then store with a free online backup service. I’ve stored all of those documents in virtual file boxes, and I haven’t wasted a single piece of paper. My overtaxed printer and my storage closet are thanking me, I’m sure. And now that I think about it, I haven’t had a paper cut in ages.I also couldn’t help but notice that my surge protector power strip was, to put it mildly, overloaded. Eight outlets, eight plugs. A printer, a fax machine, a scanner, a modem, a digital phone converter box, a computer, a -wow, I don’t even know what that cord goes to– and a router: all plugged in and pulling power, 24/7. I discovered that shutting down my computer and printers and then flipping the main power strip switch at the end of the day abated some of my guilt over wasted energy. And I think it takes me all of thirty seconds a day. I have no idea if I’m saving any money on my electric bill, but I feel better.


Sharing is Caring ❤️

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