If you haven’t hopped on the environmentally friendly bandwagon yet, now’s the time! Going green is a trend that’s in it for the long haul – from community farming and bike sharing to solar panels and recycling! The goal is to live a healthy lifestyle, personally and professionally, without leaving a large and often unnecessary carbon footprint. The idea is to reduce, recycle, and reuse; each concept can be applied to your personal and professional life in different ways. For the purpose of this blog, we will focus on the professional aspects; more specifically, life in the office.
First, try to reduce your overall consumption of office supplies, especially paper. According to conservatree.org, did you know that one tree makes 16.67 reams of copy paper? Now think about your office and how many reams of paper are consumed in a week, month, and year. Next time you are about to hit the print button, ask yourself if the presentation, email, article, etc. can be saved electronically instead. If yes, save yourself the paper, as well as the printer ink and wear and tear on the printer.
Second, non-sensitive documents that don’t need to be shredded can be recycled. Place a special bin just for paper in the office mail/copy room, then contact a local company to pick the bins up or schedule drop-offs once a month. Recycled paper can then be used to make new products, such as paper, paper towels, coffee filters, hospital gowns, and egg cartons just to name a few.
Lastly, non-sensitive documents that don’t need to be shredded can also be reused as note paper or wrapping paper for valuables being moved or going in storage. For the documents that do need to be shredded, there are some common and not-so-common ways to reuse the shreds.
Check out these fun and interesting ways to reuse shredded paper, either at the office or take it home.
- Easter grass – mix food coloring with some water, spray the paper, let it dry and you’ve got some colorful Easter grass
- Kitty litter – save money and use the shreds as litter or use the paper to line the litter box before using traditional kitty litter
- Packing material – bag the shredded paper up and use it in place of bubble wrap or Styrofoam popcorn when packing breakables
- Pet crate liner – use the paper for your own animal crate or donate the shreds to a local animal shelter or vet
- Potting soil – mix the shreds in with some potting soil to help hold in moisture
- Compost – add the shredded paper to your garden compost, especially if the heaps contains a disproportionate amount of green material
- Paper Mache – great for art projects; just make the paste and you’re ready to go
- Fill a scarecrow – shredded paper works just as well as straw to stuff that scarecrow
- Garbage bag liner – line the bottom of a garbage bag or recycling bin with shreds to absorb excess liquid
As much fun as shredding can be, always remember to follow the shredder’s directions carefully. It’s also important to perform regular equipment maintenance on the shredder; refer to the owner’s manual for specific instructions.
What does your office do to reduce their carbon footprint and reduce, reuse, and recycle? For example, Remi gives all new employees a ceramic coffee mug and eliminated the use of Styrofoam cups.