Green Tip for June

Almost everyone we know has a home office. Do you? If so, check out these tips for more efficient, earth-friendly ways to take care of business at home.

  • Stop catalogs before they get to your home. Reducing the amount of paper you have to handle is getting easier all the time and discontinuing catalog delivery doesn’t mean you can’t shop at your favorite stores. To stop catalogs, call the customer service number and asked to be removed from their mailing list. You can even opt to receive sales notices and special offers by email or text instead of by paper mail. If you have a large number of catalogs to discontinue, try using free services like Catalog Choice to communicate with the catalog companies. Just stopping unwanted catalogs from being produced and mailed is a huge contribution to our environment’s health; did you know that 19 billion catalogs are mailed each year, representing 533 million trees?
  • Consider online banking. You can eliminate the fuels costs of transporting your statements as well as the need for the paper, envelope and ink it takes to produce them. Paying bills online accomplishes the same things. Wondering about security? Overall, a wired Ethernet link is more secure than either Wi-Fi or power line networking. And remember that financial sites use encryption of their own to scramble data and invest a lot to maintain the most up to date technologies. It’s also a good idea to keep up with security updates for both your operating system and browser.
  • Recycle office paper and ink and toner cartridges. Print double sided when possible, and when it’s not, you can use the back side of the page for something else. Refill ink cartridges instead of buying new ones. Do it yourself refill kits can cut the expense of buying new, costing about $5 to refill instead of $25 to replace. Make sure you find out how many times the cartridge can functionally be refilled, as quality issues can arise if they are overused.
  • Power down. The majority of office power is consumed by machines that have been turned off and are still plugged into a live outlet. That power has a name-standby or phantom power-and is incredibly expensive and unnecessary, not to mention damaging to our environment. According to the Energy Star website, the average U.S. household spends more than $100 annually on devices that are turned off. Nationally, phantom power uses more than 100 billion kWh of energy, costing $10 billion. Every year! That can quickly change if we take action. Plug devices into a power strip and turn off the strip when you leave the office. There are programs that can automate the power down process if you have a larger office and/or many devices. You can also easily reduce the power usage of your computer by eliminating screen savers and having the monitor power off after a shorter period of unused time. Those settings are usually found in your computer’s control panel.

Thank you for taking an interest in learning more about how we can be good to our environment and get our work done at the same time. Making our home offices more efficient through better energy usage, reducing our waste and recycling is a great way to be more sustainable. For more information about this topic, check out the web or contact Frates Consulting on Facebook or email:

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